Another video guide – this time centred on the constellation Leo, the guardian of Spring skies in the northern hemisphere. Did you know about the beautiful double star in the Sickle called Algieba? Or the dwarf galaxy visible next to Regulus under the darkest skies?
With special thank to Random Records and artist Kanc Cover for the background music.
Face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6814
I’m looking forward to presenting another astronomy talk for the 2019 Inverness Science Festival. Talk details below:
Astronomer Stephen Mackintosh from Highland Astronomy will take you on a journey through space and time, looking at the massive stellar structures that make up the observable universe – Galaxies.
How did we discover them, how many are there and what do they tell us about the immense scale and dynamics of the universe?
Plus tips and advice on observing galaxies and other faint deep sky objects for yourself.
Time: 7pm – 8pm, 8th May 2019
Venue: Main Lecture Theatre, UHI Campus
Booking links: ISF Facebook and Eventbrite
A lovely crescent Moon hung in the West for most of the evening
We enjoyed another superb evening of stargazing and storytelling up at Abriachan Forest last Saturday – the last dark sky session until stargazing returns in October 2019.
There were beautiful crisp skies all evening long, allowing me to guide both groups outside for views of the Milky Way and numerous open star clusters like the Hyades, Pleiades, Beehive and the stunning double cluster in Perseus.
We also studied the Orion star forming nebula, the great spiral galaxy in Andromeda and some fainter galaxies in Ursa Major (M81 and M82), and even had a go at sighting the triplet of galaxies in Leo, which some of the keen eyed youngsters successfully glimpsed in the 8×40 binoculars.
Clelland was also back in action with the story of Arden and the birth of Merlin in the roundhouse.
Thanks to everyone who came along. Please check my Facebook site for details of future summer events.
Perseus and the double cluster
Part 3 of my series of Stargazing articles for the Muir Matters magazine, this time concentrating on the abundance of galaxies observable within the Spring constellations Leo and Virgo.
I hope you enjoy this video I’ve put together highlighting some of the most mesmerising images of planetary nebulae captured by the Hubble space telescope.
“Planetary Nebulae are some of the most eerily beautiful objects in the universe. But what are they and how do they form?”
With thanks to Robert Hundt at Glitchy.Tonic.Records for accompanying musical score.
Image credits: NASA / Hubble.
As part of the Star Stories programme up at Abriachan Forest we’ve invited the On Tour outreach team at Glasgow Science Centre to kickstart our daytime events on April 27th.
The GSC team will deliver indoor stargazing activities as well as meteorite handling, and comet and crater making. They’ll also be bringing a sample of their interactive science exhibits.
If you’d like to attend please book via the eventbrite link here and also look out for more astronomy events over the brighter months. We have plans to purchase a Hydrogen alpha telescope in the next few weeks which will form the basis for some outdoor solar events. Follow this blog or keep tabs on my facebook page for developments.
There’s still a few tickets left for the last dark sky observing session in March available here.
The term planetary nebula is highly erroneous, as these emission nebula have nothing whatsoever to do with planets. Perhaps the most famous of these is the beautiful ring nebula in Lyra, not far from the brilliant star Vega, although many other planetary nebula are scattered around our night skies, and can be observed comfortably in larger telescopes.
The following video by ESA is a fantastic 3D model of the Ring nebula. In essence the ring nebula is the remnants of a dying Sun like star beyond its red giant phase. As the star enters its final stages its outer layers are shed in great expanding waves, and the residual hot white dwarf star at the centre ionises these gases into beautiful coloured shells.
This ionisation process is very similar to the mechanism that produces Earth based aurora. Electrons are recaptured within the host atoms (often hydrogen, helium, oxygen and nitrogen) and the drop to lower energy levels releases light of a specific frequency, governed by the simple equation we all learn in physics, E = hf.