Last weekend the Institute for Interstellar Studies (I4IS) exhibited at Starfest 3 the North Essex Astronomical Society’s third astronomical convention held in the Colchester Institute and which has continually grown since its inception. The Institute was represented by Director Rob Swinney, Terry Regan and I4IS Executive Secretary Sarah Margree (who is also on the NEAS team), and had a display stand amongst the space artists, photographers and telescope retailers. They were not completely out of place though with Terry’s fantastic models of various real and imagined space probes, the British Interplanetary Society and Reaction Engines Ltd also represented in the hall.
The Starfest 3 Exhibition Hall
Along with the exhibition there was a full day’s programme of events and presentations, including an update from Alan Bond of Reaction Engines giving the Les Sayer Memorial Lecture with an exciting update on Skylon, the single stage to orbit space plane powered by the revolutionary SABRE engine. The almost unspoken message was that such a dramatic reduction in the cost of access to Low Earth Orbit will help revolutionise astronomy observations.
Dr Carolin Crawford (Institute of Astronomy and Gresham College) presented a lecture on “The Science and Beauty of Nebulae” revealing stunning images ...