I’m delighted to confirm our guest speakers for the 2022 Star Stories programme. Following a ‘Stargazing Burns’ event on January 27th we’ll have a dark sky event in February with guest speaker Martin Hendry, Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Glasgow. Martin is a regular visitor to the forest and will be updating us on the latest discoveries on dark matter and dark energy followed by naked eye and binocular stargazing under Abriachan’s Milky Way class dark skies.
Then in March we’re very excited to welcome Scotland’s new Astronomer Royal, Catherine Haymens. Catherine will be joining us on March 14th for a special Moon night with a talk all about the Moons of our solar system. This will be followed by a live Moon observing session and Q&A. Catherine is Professor of Astrophysics and a European Research Council Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. She’s also director of the German Centre for Cosmological Lensing at the Ruhr-University Bochum.
Where possible, and understandably, all events will be setup for outdoor learning so please bring plenty of warm clothes and wrap up. Storytelling and other family friendly activities will also be delivered by the Abriachan team and guests. Ticket links will go live about 4 weeks prior to each event. Please follow my Facebook page for the latest.
Meanwhile the November 27th event has now sold out. This will be a dark sky evening with stargazing or astronomy talk presented by yours truly. Best selling author John Burns is our guest storyteller in November.
I got lucky the other night and snapped the northern lights from my house in Inverness looking over towards the Black Isle. I was out filming for a stargazing video and noticed the bright glow naked eye.
Many people living in the north of Scotland wonder why they’ve never seen the northern lights because they’re more common than you might think.
Three of the main problems:
1. We hardly ever go outside in the cold of winter and spend so much time indoors. 2. Too much light pollution. 3. Looking in the wrong direction.
And here’s some simple solutions:
1. Get outside more and go for night walks – something I’ve been doing even more during lockdown. 2. Walk somewhere local but away from street lights. Try to get elevated – a local wood or hill perhaps. 3. Look North.
The Inverness Courier shared the image with a short story here.
Join me at 7pm on Sunday the 31st January for a special live talk with Glasgow University’s Professor Martin Hendry – Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology.
Martin will be taking a light-hearted look at how ideas from Einstein’s theories have found their way into lots of the blockbuster movies we know and love. Plus a What’s Up guide to February skies from yours truly.
This event is brought to you by the Merkinch Nature Reserve Astronomy programme. It’s free and open to everyone but if you enjoy the session we would ask you to kindly donate using the provided links during the event stream.
The event will be broadcast live from my facebook page. Please use the following link to join the stream: https://fb.me/e/2hskXuAmx
From my own exposure last night and the testimony of many eye witness accounts posted on my Facebook page, the peak of the 2020 Geminids was one of the most active meteors showers in several years. Many parts of northern Scotland had clear skies with reported activity reaching up to 40-50 meteors per hour.
From my own location at the western end of Inverness I was able to observe a flurry of bright shooting stars early in the evening was all set to head out into darker locations when clouds rolled in. Thankfully, skies opened up again after 11pm and I witnessed several more under partially clear skies, with a particularly bright example fizzing overhead towards the north west around 11.30pm.
I’ll leave you with some amazing photographs captured around the north of Scotland.