With the kind permission of Bedford Girls School, BAS has been granted access to part of the School’s Cople Field to hold observing evenings from a darker location. The site is around 4 miles South-East of Bedford and suffers from considerably less light pollution, than the Bedford School Observatory, particularly when viewing South. The site is on Grange Lane just to the West of Cople on the road towards Cardington. See photos for details. The entrance gate is at what3words puppets.besotted.honestly.
Cople Field has gated access, defined parking bays for over 80 cars and hard standing throughout for vehicles and telescopes. There are no toilet facilities on site, the nearest being at The Five Bells Pub in Cople. Most observing sessions will continue at the Bedford School Observatory, but the BAS Committee is delighted to have been granted permission to access this new site and urges members to take advantage of the conditions on offer within the guidelines established below.
BAS will identify possible observing evenings around New Moon from October to March. Dates and times will be communicated to members by email, Twitter and notices on the website. If 2 or 3 nights are identified around a particular New Moon, there will be a rollover in operation. If it is cloudy on the first night, we will automatically roll on to the second date. If it is clear on the first night, subsequent sessions in that window will not take place, or may be held at the BS Observatory instead. BAS Committee members will provide items of equipment for members and guests to use under supervision, most of this equipment will be privately owned.
While BAS encourages young people to take part in astronomy and welcomes them to the BS Observatory site, this venue and the dark conditions prevalent are not suitable for children under 10. Responsible adults are asked to supervise any children over 10 that do attend.
Members and Guests are reminded that whilst the BAS committee has taken steps to run a safe event, individuals are responsible for their own safety and the safety of their vehicles.
If you arrive late or need to leave early there is on street parking further towards Cople with footpath up to the pedestrian gate onto the site next to the vehicle gate.
Members must operate under low light conditions. On entering the site by car turn left into the first parking bay and park facing the road. This will reduce headlight sweep over the telescopes when entering and leaving.
Once on site red torches only and no bright phone screens near telescopes.
On leaving the site side lights if possible until turning onto the road.
Once the observing session starts the vehicle gate will be closed for a maximum period of 1 hour. If you bring a vehicle on site please do not expect to drive off site during this window unless there is an emergency or conditions fully cloud over.
Only vehicles with observing equipment should proceed further up the main drive to the turning circle. Members wishing to bring equipment on site must notify Linton Guise in advance and arrive within the time window stated for the night.
The general timings for observing will be as follows:
- 6:15pm Gate opens for those with equipment and early arrivals
- 6:45pm Observing starts
- 7:00pm Gate closed
- 8:15pm Gate opens
- 8:30pm Observing ends
- 8:55pm Site vacated
But may be subject to change. Details will be published on the website and Twitter as needed