Covid-19 Update – 26 February, 2021
Hello fellow Irregulars, an update from your ‘Unofficial Force’ committee.
We remain in contact with the powers that be in Regent’s Park and at The Hub, and we have be told today that if the government roadmap for the easing of lockdown is kept to, then The Hub might reopen in late June.
This is a big ‘IF’ and is not definite, as there are many steps to go through before the facilities can reopen and we all can meet up. At their suggestion, we will contact the Hub management again in early May, at which point (hopefully) the reopening timetable will be clearer.
Please note that exciting as this is, The Hub reopening is NOT the only hurdle to be cleared. We will need the Hub café, run by Benugo, to be open too, and everybody to be fully staffed and able to follow the undoubtedly more stringent health & safety procedures, and also be ready for extra-curricular activities such as ours.
Also, every year we have to submit risk assessments, etc, as a society, and as its been a year since we were there, we will very likely have to do this again before we can confirm our first meeting of 2021. But return we will, and the likelihood is that over the summer we will be back!
In the meantime, 1st March is on Monday, the first of Spring is March 20th (the Spring Equinox, when the Sun moves north of the celestial equator), and the clocks go forward one hour on March 28th, when British Summer Time begins.
Stay safe, and clear skies!
Simon, Eric, Nicholas and Red Mike.
Covid-19 Update – 28 January 2021
Hello fellow Irregulars, it’s been awhile since we updated you on the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers. I write this the day after your group organisers, affectionately known as the Unofficial Force (or UF; if this name is strange to you, research Sherlock Holmes novels!) met online to discuss the group.
We learnt yesterday from the government that Lockdown v3. will last until at least early March; we consider there is very little possibility of Irregulars meeting until months later this year. Let’s hope we can see each other in Regent’s Park sometime this year and I remain hopeful we may be allowed to meet for my annual solar observing picnic, SUNday2021, on 20 June on Hanover Green – more details nearer that date.
The UF is pleased to see many of you posting astro-news, comments and images on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/132196206819659 which now boasts over 3,700 ‘members’, please continue as this medium provides a virtual meeting point for Irregulars to keep in touch with each other when we are spending so much time at home away from our astro-friends. BSIA is also on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr; search for Baker Street Irregulars. If you have not yet signed up for our newsletter please do so via our website https://www.bakerstreetastro.org/about-us/stay-in-touch/
A number of Irregulars continue to support the BSIA financially with a monthly donation via our website https://www.bakerstreetastro.org/support-us ; we are financially sound as present (as there is very little expenditure when we do not meet!), ensuring the continuation of our group in the future months when we can see each other again at the Hub, pay Hub fees, insurance premia and other various administration expenses. The UF are extremely grateful and heartened to see such donations continue during these difficult times.
We will contact you again when the likelihood of future meetings becomes more clear.
Eric, for the Unofficial Force.
Covid-19 Update – 22 September 2020
We, the Unofficial Force, organisers of the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers wish to update you with our latest view.
We haven’t met at the Hub since our MoOnday lunar gazing event in March; the lockdown imposed later in the month owing to the pandemic shut the Hub terrace and cafe. At the moment both remain closed until further notice and following the latest government restrictions announced today (22 Sep) BSIA will not be able to meet at the Hub for some time. In the summer we had hoped we would be able to look forward to meeting before the year-end at a Christmas reunion. Our hope has been dashed by the spread of the virus.
We shall continue to closely monitor the government’s advice, keeping you informed on the likely date in 2021 when we will be allowed to congregate again at the Hub to meet fellow astro-friends and enjoy the celestial gems in the London skies.
In the meantime we hope Irregulars take every opportunity to keep looking up at night, on their own or in small groups obeying current government rules on congregating, to view and enjoy the Moon, planets and stars.
Please share your questions and experiences with us in our Facebook groups, other social media or by email from our website – on topic, of course – as we have some superb celestial sights awaiting us in the weeks to come.
Eric, for the Unofficial Force.
COVID-19 Update – 30 March 2020
We wish to update you since our last note of the 17th.
The BSIA organisers, the ‘Unofficial Force’ continue to monitor the latest scientific and medical expertise and recommendations regarding COVID-19. It does look increasingly likely we shall not be able to meet at the Hub until the late autumn/early winter at the earliest. Our annual SUNday solar observing picnic planned for Sunday 21 June, and the BSIA’s 10th birthday celebration the same month, are unlikely to be held as we would have wished.
We will continue our group online, to meet in virtual space to alert upcoming events to see in individual isolation with our naked eyes, binoculars and small telescopes, to discuss our observations and other astro-related news and developments. Many Irregulars use social networks; BSIA has two Facebook pages and an Instagram page that can host live video sessions. Zoom is popular at the moment – there is a free plan allowing 40 mins for a simple group meeting of up to 100 Irregulars.There are more comprehensive video streaming solutions via OBS software allowing YouTube as the viewing medium. We want your ideas for our virtual meetings. How should these be hosted? If you have technical knowledge and/or experience please get in touch.
We will also shortly be asking you for your own ideas to see Irregulars through this crisis, and will be announcing the odd competition in the weeks to come. In the meantime, watch out for our April Sky Guide this week.
That’s all for now. I’m sure all Irregulars are looking forward to the time when we can meet again in person: what a Hub evening that will be!
Remember, please continue to Stay Home, Stay Safe and keep looking up! And remember that when we do so, we all see the same sky, and we are here if you need anything.
The Unofficial Force
17 March 2020:
In accordance with the scientific guidelines issued by the UK government yesterday (16 March), the Unofficial Force, the organisers of the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers, has agreed to postpone all future meetings of the BSIA until further notice.
We are certain Irregulars will all agree that this is both a prudent and necessary decision in order to safeguard the well-being of our members.
In the meantime the Unofficial Force will endeavour to keep you informed and updated by newsletter and social media as to BSIA news and related issues and, of course, when we hope to recommence with our meetings.
We will not allow the strong camaraderie of BSIA to evaporate during these very difficult times. Please post astronomy related thoughts, advice, news and views by email (email@example.com) and/or our social media platforms.
Keep safe and well.
15 March 2020: The organisers continue to monitor advice from the NHS, DHSC and WHO, and will respond immediately if future meetings need to be rescheduled or cancelled. We continue to liaise with The Royal Parks, the Hub management and others to ensure the safety of us all. Right now, we do not have a date for the next meeting.
Following a very successful lunar gazing MoOnday meeting in early March, there was going to be a natural break anyway until the April meeting, with date options falling after the Easter Weekend, i.e. in the second half of the month. With the Covid-19 situation developing daily, we will monitor as Easter approaches and announce our meeting plans then.
Please watch out for further BSIA and other astro-related news here, and keep looking up! Remember we go to summertime (BST) on Sunday, 29 March. Good Friday is 10 April, hopefully sometime around then we will have some news about our next meeting.
We all miss The Hub when we go for long periods between meetings, and over the almost ten years of BSIA (our anniversary is in June) it has become an old friend. We, the Unofficial Force committee, look forward to welcoming you back there when the current crisis has passed.
In the meantime, we wish Irregulars well, and remember the night sky is always there for us, it’s free to look at and is going to be fantastic in the weeks and months to come…
Remember, if you are new to becoming an Irregular, you don’t need to own and bring a telescope or binoculars to our evening stargazing meetings- there are usually a dozen or so telescopes of various sizes and designs for you to look through. Of course if you do own an instrument you are able to carry to the Hub then please bring it with you!
We meet whether the sky is clear or cloudy! Sometimes the weather forecast for the day just looks awful. In extreme cases, we might outright cancel a meeting however, in the majority of cases, we go ahead anyway. Provided it’s not raining, we gather even under cloudy skies and enjoy an evening of social astronomy chat. Often this results in rewards for those who choose to attend, as London’s unpredictable cloud cover can vanish without warning – then it’s every telescope for itself! We highly recommend coming along even if it looks cloudy. There’s always something and someone interesting to see and hear at one of our star parties.
The organisers of BSIA have a duty of care to Irregulars attending our astronomy events; we work to ensure your visit to the Hub is safe and enjoyable. We advise all attending to take care when walking in the dark to and from the Hub, alert organisers if you witness unacceptable behaviour by other attendees and other threats to well-being including fire.