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Kelling Heath -- Experience

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:19 pm
by cstone
Having attended Kelling Heath three years in a row I thought it would be good to describe my own personal experiences of the event.

Like with any camping trip make sure you take the right camping equipment. Tent, sleeping bag, warm clothes, food etc and for those cloudy nights take a bottle of red wine and be prepared for philosophical debate.

Also remember there in etiquette on the site that has to be followed.

As for the experience itself....fantastic!!!. Kelling heath is renowned for dark skies and on a good night you clearly see the milky-way and a few deep sky objects with the naked eye. It’s certainly worth having a plan of what you want to achieve over the three days, or more if you plan to stay longer.

What equipment to take? Telescopes, eyepieces, cameras, binoculars, take everything. No doubt you will be in a car you can afford to take the kitchen sink!! ;)

You also have the opportunity to view through other people’s telescopes so this is your chance to test drive a new scope before making that big purchase. You are also surrounded by people with a lot of experience, not just from within the group. So if you are struggling with your own telescope or want to get the best out it then this the right place to be. There are also trade stands on the Saturday to find that bargain and a few local attractions to visit during the day .

It was here I first learnt how to polar align my scope for imaging. (Thanks Ross) Also get the best out of visual observing as my expectations where set as I viewed though different scopes. My Sony A350 DSLR took its first deep sky image here as well

One year I was fortunate to experience the 8” bino-scopes that Brian and Gerald had built. That night Ross managed to do a messier marathon and the deep sky objects where clear, almost 3D. Unforgettable!

Plenty to do the in evening and during the day. Worth the trip :D

Re: Kelling Heath -- Experience

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:07 pm
by rwilkinson
Just to echo Carl's comments - I've been fortunate enough to visit the (September) Star-Camp four times now, and had seven clear nights out of twelve :D.
Some of the BAS party in September 2007
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It's a really friendly event, attracting enthusiastic amateur astronomers from all over the country (and a few from around Europe) with a range of abilities from complete novices to very experienced observers, imagers and telescope-builders.
It's a great opportunity to have a look at (and through!) a variety of equipment, and hear its owner's experiences. As well as Brian & Gerald's 12" and 8" binocular telescopes, I've also tried a big Dobsonian (using a step-ladder to reach the eyepiece!) and some Zeiss WW2 naval binoculars.

As well as the "official" trade-stands, there's a lot of second-hand gear available - I think that Carl's motorised EQ5 mount and tripod for £80 has been our best bargain purchase to date :)

And for non-astro activities, the North Norfolk Railway runs beside the site, providing steam-hauled excursions to Sheringham-on-sea, and there are a few National Trust sites in the area too.
A busy Sunday afternoon at Weybourne station in September 2009
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It does take a while to get there (around 5 hours, via the M62, A1, A17, etc.) but if you arrange a car-share with another BAS Member, this doesn't seem so long ;)