An evening with London’s Baker Street Irregular Astronomers

Posted by David Eicher
on Thursday, August 15, 2013

Steven Young, publisher of Astronomy Now magazine, holds up a copy of his latest edition while Simon Bennett looks on, as we enjoy a pint before the meeting of the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers, London, England, August 14, 2013. // All images by David J. Eicher
On Wednesday, August 14, 2013, I originally had a surprise scheduled for my London trip, a visit with Brian May, Queen guitarist, PhD. astrophysicist, and Astronomy magazine editorial board member. But as it turned out, Brian had knee replacement surgery a few days ago (he is doing well), and his schedule shifted toward quiet rehabilitation. So the surprises we had for the Astronomy magazine readership will have to wait a bit longer.

I took in some sights of London early in the day — the Imperial War Museum (now undergoing a major renovation), the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the Museum of London, and the National Portrait Gallery. And by late afternoon, I rendezvoused with some friends, Simon Bennett and Steven Young, and enjoyed a pint of beer in their favorite local pub. Simon is owner of The Widescreen Centre, London’s only telescope store, and Steven is publisher of Astronomy Now, one of the United Kingdom’s major astronomy magazines. We enjoyed a terrific dinner and then went to the monthly meeting of their club, The Baker Street Irregular Astronomers, in nearby Regents Park.

Simon Bennett's The Widescreen Centre, London's telescope store, London, England, August 14, 2013.
Despite the fact that clouds were everywhere and rain began to drizzle, the turnout was great — some 100 people showed up at the park’s pavilion, hoping for a clearing. But in the end, it did not happen. We stood around, made many new friends, and talked astronomy, the best part of an astronomy meeting anyway. I was honored to be a guest and was asked to make a short impromptu speech. I am hoping that Astronomy magazine can work with our UK friends with a big stargazing event in London in the future, or with the annual conference put on by Astronomy Now, UK Astrofest.

In any case, it was a great night. Astronomers from both sides of the pond were united and talked about many exciting things to come.

Simon Bennett addresses assembled members of the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers, London's astronomy club, who showed up to the tune of 100 people for a monthly meeting, although rain plagued the night in Regents Park, London, England, August 14, 2013.

Tags: England
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