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Sunday, 11 September 2011

SEKAS and Sound Mirrors

Saturday we decided to go shopping in Maidstone. So after a trawl around the shops we came away with some new trainers, just in case we decide to take up badminton again we need to be prepared! we also bought a new gadget. We had a Nando's lunch as we were going out early evening then on the way home went to pets at home for a new larger cat carrier, as the one we had is a tad too small for Frankie.

After picking up Jason, a fellow Astronomer  we set off for Alkham, near Folkestone, where Dave, another fellow society member was giving a talk on Comets to SEKAS . We arrived just as the heavens opened so observing was off the menu tonight. The talk went down very well, as did his talk on the Fermi paradox, which explains a bit about why we haven't had contact with extra-terrestrials. The evening was rounded off with coffee and a raffle (we won 2 items) and then it was home. There are no pubs in Alkham.....

Sunday we had arranged to visit the Sound Mirrors at Denge. I have been waiting for this trip for months, and I wasn't disappointed. The site is only open a couple of times a year, as it is accessed by a locked swing bridge across the Lade Gravel pits. The Mirrors were constructed between 1928 and 1930 and were used as an experiment to detect enemy aircraft flying across the Channel by the sound of their engines. Unfortunately they weren't very efficient with a maximum range of about 25 miles, then radar was developed which made them obsolete overnight. Now they stand as relics of old technology, with the 200ft wall mirror being only one of two in the world, the other being in Malta. After a good walk about and plenty of photo opportunities we arrived back to the car about 4:30pm and apart from foot-ache we had a great day with good friends. Now its time for Dr Who, F1 Grand Prix  and dinner.  All in all a most acceptable weekend!

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