In October 2012 the Society was awarded a grant from the BIG Bolton Fund towards the purchase a large telescope for use at our public observing events. Supplementing this grant from our own funds, and thanks to Altair Astro, we've been able to purchase a giant 16" Newtonian Dobsonian Telescope.
Continuing the tradition of astronomy in Bolton the telescope was named The Big Bolton Telescope and was first unveiled to BAS members in November 2012.
With its 400mm diameter mirror it captures 6000x more light than the unaided eye. It is equivalent to seven 6" telescopes plus the image will be twice as big! We can now see our favourite deep-sky objects in unprecedented clarity despite the light pollution of Bolton.
First Outreach Events
As part of the BBC Stargazing Life event, on the 10th January 2013 the BBT was the star attraction when we visited Seven Acres Country Park. Although it was a cloudy night (and we had to remain indoors) the telescope proved to be a big hit with the youngsters, hopefully inspiring a new generation of amateur astronomers.
On the 15th January the BBT was again the focus of attention at Bolton Astronomical Society's open night. Many members of the public where able to view the Moon, Jupiter, the Pleiades, Orion's Nebula, and the Andromeda Galaxy the like of which they had probably never seen before, certainly from Bolton!
While the BBT was being used, other BAS members brought along their telescopes and imaging equipment. Courtesy of Astro-Canvas we were able to view a video image of Jupiter live on a laptop screen. It was certainly an enjoyable evening with many inspired to go on and learn more about astronomy.
"I would like to say how much I enjoyed yesterday evening's event looking through various telescopes and especially the Big Bolton telescope Dobsonian which gave excellent views of Jupiter and its moons." -- Lesley Taylor - BAS Member
"I really enjoyed using this scope this evening! Which gave incredible views of Jupiter and it's moons. My name is Keith Mills and I live on Ladybridge Estate. I am a keen Birdwatcher but have never looked seriously at the stars. It pleases me that Bolton Council have given you a grant for this scope. It is really good and educational. Your people were so helpful and I hope to come again. Cheers " -- Keith Mills - Local Resident
Next the Big Bolton Telescope visited the Sacred Heart Primary School in Westhoughton on the 16th January. Along with four other BAS members' scopes, nearly 100 parents and pupils braved the icy conditions and queued for glimpses of Jupiter and the Moon in between the clouds. They were not disappointed with the BBT providing spectacular views: it was a night many children will remember for years to come.