Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Night Time Fun at the Harry Bayley Observatory

by The Wandering Scotsman

Last night I finally had the chance to spend an evening at the Harry Bayley Observatory here in Barbados, doing a wee bit of stargazing as well as getting the opportunity to see the moon close up.

The Harry Bayley Observatory is located in the Parish of St Michal; it is fairly easy to find, fortunately the directions we were giving over the phone were very accurate, if you head down Observatory Road you cant really miss it.

The observatory is named after Harry Bayley who founded the Barbados Astronomical Society and was built in 1963. We arrived early at about 8.45pm but things didn't really get going until 9.30pm. The observatory is only open to the public on a Friday and obviously it is only open, weather permitting.

The entrance fee was $12BDs for adults and $6BDS for children, which in my opinion was money well spent. The Harry Bayley Observatory is the only one in the Eastern Caribbean and the telescope used is a Celestron 14 inch telescope. I know they Society has long-term plans to upgrade their equipment and hopefully they will eventually raise the funds to do so.

This was my first trip to an observatory and I had been looking forward to it all week and I had been constantly checking the BBC weather forecast online to make sure the weather was going to be dry and clear. The excitement really started to kick in for me as I climbed the stairs as to the top of the observatory. As soon as I reached the top of the observatory I witnessed my first ever shooting star, what an amazing site.

Once at the top of the Harry Bayley Observatory the first thing you notice is the great nighttime view of Bridgetown. It was sure was fascinating learning about the various stars and constellations, which I have being seeing in the sky above Barbados since my arrival on the island.

I was looking out for little green men on the surface of the moon, but all was quiet and they must have been in their beds. The guys of the astronomical society are all very knowledgeable and passionate about astronomy and make it a really enjoyable and informative experience.

What I had originally thought was a satellite, was in fact Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, which is in fact the brightest star in the night time sky. Sirius appears so bright because of its closeness to earth and its luminosity. Did you know that Sirius could be seen from almost every inhabited region of the Earths surface, with only those living north of 73 degrees unable to see it.

The Harry Bayley Observatory is a fun and enjoyable evening out for all members of the family, it is something different and I will be back again in March when things will be a wee bit different up in the sky above Barbados.

Recently I have been amazed by the amount of stars that I have seen in the sky above Barbados, Star Struck In Barbados.

About the Author

I'm a budding Scottish entrepreneur now living on the Caribbean Island of Barbados trying to make a few dollars. I'm always on the lookout for business partners who are aiming to get involved in making money in Barbados through innovative business ventures.

I Garry A Wynters, "The Wandering Scotsman" and can be found at my two Barbados blogs, and the

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