The main constellations were visible over the Merkinch nature reserve in the west of Inverness, and even a hint of Milky Way.
We had a great evening at the Merkinch Urban Astronomy gathering tonight. Big thanks to Dr Anthony Luke for delivering a fascinating talk on the chemistry of stars and supernovas. We learnt all about the synthesis of elements and compounds forged in the heart of stars.
Afterwards we were rewarded with clear skies, so I led a group up to the nature reserve for a blustery stargazing session over the Beauly Firth.
Overlooking the water we had lovely views of Orion, the Pleiades and even a hint of the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy.
The next event is an Aurora Special on Feb 20th with guest Graham Bradshaw.
A view of Orion from the Merkinch Nature Reserve at a previous event. Credit Simon Garrod
I’m delighted to be continuing the urban astronomy initiative with the Merkinch Nature Reserve this year, in partnership with project manager Caroline Snow.
Going forward we now have a base of operations to host our astronomy gatherings, after a successful trial last year at the Inverness Sea Cadet hall on Kessock Road. The venue allows us to host indoor talks and activities and is only a ten minute walk from the nature reserve itself, giving us the option to stargaze during open skies.
The first event planned for 2019 is an Introduction to Observing and Moon Night, where I’ll present a beginners guide to astronomy – what to consider buying to get started and what to potentially avoid. We’ll take a break from proceedings to observe the gibbous Moon and stars if conditions are clear. All booking enquiries should be directed to Caroline, who’s email is in the event link above.
We have plans to roll out further events as part of a larger 2019 programme. Stay tuned here or on the Merkinch Facebook site for details as they develop.