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Mon, 07 Feb 2011

AstroFest a big success for the SPA

Astrofest, 5 February 2011

Brian Cox meets the SPA team at Astrofest

The SPA had its best-ever year at European AstroFest in London on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 February. Our stand on the lower ground floor was busy all the time, and our team were kept on their toes dealing with enquiries, selling goods and enrolling new members. Secretary Guy Fennimore and Membership Secretary Barry Turvey reported that both days were equally busy from their point of view.

Highlight of the event was the unique line-up of astronomical celebrities: Prof. Brian Cox, Dr Brian May and Sir Patrick Moore, who were available for book signing. 'Three stars in a line – just like Orion's Belt' was one quip. The queue for the book signing was the longest ever seen at AstroFest, winding all of the way around the upper floor where the signing took place, down the stairs, and at one point even down to the lower ground floor. The SPA benefited from the book signing, as copies of Brian Cox's Wonders of the Solar System book were available only from the SPA display.

But AstroFest is more than just trade stands. The conference itself was very well attended, with our own Chief Stargazer, Dr Emily Baldwin, kicking off the proceedings with an excellent talk about the two tiny Martian moons Phobos and Deimos. Brian Cox gave a talk in the final session to an overflowing auditorium at Kensington Town Hall, at which organiser Ian Ridpath – a former editor of Popular Astronomy – thanked the SPA for helping to bring Brian Cox to Astrofest.

If you missed AstroFest there's just a year to wait until the next one!

Here's a YouTube video made on the Friday by Maurice Gavin. Spot the SPA display!


Added by: Robin Scagell