IT seems scientist Brian Cox’s enthusiasm for the stars and planets has rubbed off on the people of the borough.
Solihull councillors recently suggested that dimming street lights would reduce light pollution which blocks many constellations from view.
And last Friday night, local residents turned-out for Heart of England Astronomical Society’s introductory event at Castle Bromwich Hall Garden.
The session followed the second series of BBC’s Stargazing Live, which attracted almost 4 million viewers last month.
Frank Hill, from Chelmsley Wood, and fellow members gave their tips on starting-out as an astronomer, which we’ll share with Solihull News readers.
1) Buy binoculars: The society suggests that for beginners these are cheaper and easier-to-use than a telescope.
You can see 2-3000 stars with the naked eye, but this increases to some 20,000 when you’re using binoculars.
2.) Get a tripod: The number of stars you see through binoculars will double if you’re using a tripod to hold them steady.
3) Learn the landmarks: Get familiar with the best-known constellations, such as the Plough, Androm eda and Cassiopeia.
4) Spot the difference: One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a star and a planet is that stars tend to twinkle more.
5) Wrap up warm: Particularly at this time of year it’s important to be comfortable.
q Heart of England Astronomical Society meet the final Thursday of the month, from September to May, at the Old Exchange, Furnace End. To find out more go to www.hoeas.co.uk.