A human henge – mid summer at Abriachan
Some good news regarding future face to face astronomy programs, delivered up in the Scottish Highlands. All of this is caveated on the assumption that live gatherings are legal and safe at the end of this year.
Next season (from November) I’ll be continuing to work with Caroline Snow to deliver our Urban Astronomy programme based out of the Friends Of Merkinch Local Nature Reserve in Inverness (with the Sea Scouts hall as our indoor base of operations). These events have been growing in popularity and we’re really glad they’re going to continue.
Merkinch Moon gazing
Star Stories will also continue from Abriachan Forest (Dark Sky Discovery Site) with Suzann, Clelland, Ronnie and the rest of Abriachan Communityteam. The STFC spark award funding is due to end this season, but the programme will continue on a sustainable footing with events (hopefully) starting in November. This whole programme has been a massive success and I look forward to completing my research report for STFC with dissemination for various astronomy publications.
Clelland in action
I’ll also continue my hotel based outreach work for the likes of The Torridon and appearances at various festivals, whenever it’s safe and practical to do so.
Some future plans are also underway, including an outreach programme with much bigger scope that will involve various partners and potentially some innovative new technology.
Gazing Moonward from the grounds of the Sea Cadets Hall, Inverness
We had a very successful Merkinch astronomy evening last Thursday, the second I’ve hosted from our new base at the Sea Cadets Hall on Kessock Road. All available tickets were allocated in advance and we had a healthy gathering of over 50 people in the end, along with some of the sea cadets. Caroline had also secured a large consignment of 8×40 binoculars for this and future events, which we put to good use later in the evening.
I kicked proceedings off with a projector based talk on buying a first telescope, offering some recommendations for good beginner scopes that won’t break the bank. Afterwards, we headed out into the carpark beside the hall for some projections of the Moon. Despite high cirrus clouds the Moon was still very clear and we had workable views via video telescope, allowing us to discuss the infinitely enthralling topic of lunar geology.
A few stars popped out later on but not enough to warrant a walk over to the nature reserve – which was the original plan if skies were clearer.
The next event takes place on February 28th when I’ll discuss deep sky observing – including star clusters, nebulae, galaxies and supernova remnants – how to observe them and some of the incredible astrophysics behind them. Links to this event here.