Big thanks to astronomer Steve Owens and Celtic storyteller Alis Ballance for hosting our astronomy and storytelling streams this evening up at Abriachan Forest.
Cosmosis was realised by a combination of Alis’s captivating Gaelic creation myths and Steve’s tour de scientific of the Solar System.
Although skies started off cloudy we were blessed with decent patches of open sky at the end for a deftly guided laser pointer finale, taking in Orion and other bright constellations. Plus binocular and telescopic views of the crescent Moon
I’ll be sky and star guiding from remote and beautiful Lewis this March, for the 2023 Hebridean Dark Skies Festival, with dates spanning 18-21st March. Tickets and event info below and in the accompanying link. On Thursday 16th March I’ll also be joining the HDS panel for a special facebook live session “Ask the Astronomers”.
Join astronomer Stephen Mackintosh (aka Highland Astronomy) for an evening of fascinating insights into the cosmos and – weather permitting – a walk under the stars at some of our best stargazing spots.
Join us up at Abriachan Forest on March 25th (a Dark Sky Discovery site) for an evening of stargazing and storytelling.
For March we welcome HAS’s Maarten De Vries as our guest astronomer with a talk titled “Comets – Ancient Icy Visitors from the Edge of our Solar System”. Maarten had his first experience with comets when he was 11 years only and has been an ardent observer of the night sky ever since.
Additionally we welcome Fiona Macdonald our guest storyteller for the evening, sharing tales over the campfire.
Plus outdoor naked eye stargazing with astronomer Stephen Mackintosh if conditions are favourable.
Due to site and classroom capacity, booking via Eventbrite is essential. Admission is free for under 16s with accompanying adults but please inform Abriachan of any large booking requests.
Our next stargazing and storytelling session at Abriachan Forest will be on New Moon (Jan 21st) and we welcome back Glasgow Science Centre astronomer Steve Owens to guide us under the stars (or present a backup indoor talk on the planets). Our guest campfire storyteller Fiona Macdonald should also be in attendance.
If you booked for the cancelled December event your tickets will carry over and will be valid for the Jan event.
If you missed out on the last few events we have a February and March events planned so stay tuned. The February tickets links and event details will go up in the next week.
Today the northern hemisphere of the Earth is maximally inclined away from the Sun, producing the shortest day. This is due to the axial tilt of the Earth, driving the seasons as we hurtle around our home star each year.
From here on, imperceptibly at first, our days grow longer in the northern hemisphere and shorter in the southern hemisphere.
This change in daylight is like a trigonometric Sine wave and will accelerate as winter advances, reaching its greatest rate of change near the Spring equinox in March.
The image I’ve shared was taken from inside one of the the passage cairns at Clava a few years ago on Dec 21st, a site with claimed mid winter significance. Sure enough light flooded into the back of the cairn via the south western aligned passage.
The truth is we don’t really know the real significance of these structures, and are left to speculate, sometimes more wildly than the evidence deserves. But it’s fun and captivating to imagine what could well have been ancient connections linking landscape, culture and the heavens above.
Thanks to everyone who came up to Abriachan Forest on Saturday evening for our Moon, Fox & Fire event.
We had lovely clear skies for close up telescopic views of the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn through our big 200m reflector. Plus naked naked eye views of Mars and many bright stars. The clear conditions also allowed me to setup my video telescope for ultra close up views of the lunar surface projected onto an outdoor screen.
Abriachan headed up the campfire storytelling section afterwards, with some stealthy stealing games with the young fire guardians! As every my wife Judith prepared the home bakes with some very popular sticky toffee pudding cakes.
Our next event is ‘Dark Sky December’ on Dec 17th. Eventbrite links will go up soon.