International Astronomy Show 2019: a round-up

BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor Paul Money returns from another year at the International Astronomy Show.

International Astronomy Show. Credit: IAS

I’m recently back from attending the International Astronomy Show, which is held at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry year. IAS 2019 took place over Friday and Saturday, 15 and 16 November. As usual it was a hectic day as I could only attend the Saturday: traditionally always the busiest.

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It was not just fun to attend but I also gave the first talk of the day on the Saturday morning, followed by astrophotographer Damian Peach who gave a masterclass on planetary imaging.

Events such as the IAS give us the chance to wander around drooling, sorry, ogling, sorry, I mean appreciating the amazing variety of equipment now available to the amateur astronomer, be it just starting out or seasoned veteran.

It also gives us a great chance to meet the telescope and astronomy equipment suppliers and retailers in person, as opposed to them remaining disembodied characters over an internet or phone connection!

Paul pictured with astrophotographer Damian Peach
Paul pictured with astrophotographer Damian Peach

It was also good to see Patrick Moore’s lovingly restored car displayed by Rother Vallery Optics. I wonder if any of my cars will reach 750,000 miles!

A good aspect of IAS this year was the number of outreach projects being supported but it would be good to see more done to support them, including perhaps more mini events to inform and educate attendees, or mini workshops to add to the appeal of shows like this.

It is also a great chance to do what I call ‘social astronomising’: meeting with like-minded people, often from societies up and down the country, who come out to look over the latest products and dig deep into their pockets.

But also it’s an opportunity to simply meet up with fellow enthusiasts who all share a common goal, to enjoy the hobby and seek out the best equipment their hard-earned money can buy.

The folks from Rother Valley Optics pictured with Patrick Moore's restored car.
The folks from Rother Valley Optics pictured with Patrick Moore’s restored car.

There was plenty on show with many of the main ‘players’ represented, and it was hard not to dig into my pocket, although I did have some good friends keeping me in check, trying also to make sure I was fed and watered.

I do like to chat to people and suppliers on such occasions and often forget about such humdrum things like feeding myself!

If you want to see equipment up close and personal then shows like IAS are the ideal way to do it. You can interact with the suppliers and retailers on a personal level and guide you to your next purchase.

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Speaking of which, if you’re on the lookout for a new telescope, mount, camera or other piece of kit, check out our many Reviews to help you decide which will best suit your needs.