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Past Events - 2015

WORK IN PROGRESS - We're a relatively small Group, but undertake lots of activities, so please bear with us while we try to keep these details up to date.

Below is an outline of the activities CAG and it's members have been involved in over the year. We'll populate with more info and photos when we get the chance.


Telescope Donation & Astronomy Evening at Farr Primary School

CAG received a very generous donation of a Meade telescope from member Jim Johnston, who is also known for his long running monthly Skywatching article in the John O'Groat Journal.

This telescope was soon put to use when members of CAG undertook an evening of astronomical activities for pupils at Farr Primary School.


Members Out Comet Spotting

A spell of clear skies allowed members to gather and observe/image Comet Lovejoy


Members workshop (23rd January)

Workshop held under clear dark skies at Castlehill Hertiage Centre


The Hunters Hidden Gems (Feb)

The February event saw CAG Chairman Gordon Mackie give a public talk titled "The Hunters Hidden Gems". The talk gave a tour of the constellation of Orion and a selection of the stunning celestial objects present within that area of the sky.


Astronomy Evening at Hillhead Primary School (Feb)

CAG visited pupils at Hillhead Primary School in Wick, where they learned in an interactive way about the aurora, solar system, telescopes, rockets and gravity. Some wonderful thank you letters and drawings were received afterwards. One included a poem....

Spacesuits are white
Neptune is blue
We enjoyed your visit
And hope you did too!

We did - it was a real pleasure spending time with pupils in the school. We got a very warm welcome and the well directed enthusiasm made the space related activities a joy to do.


Observing and Imaging Eclipses

On Friday 13th, a public event (part of the IYL series of local events) gave attendees advice on how to go about "Observing and Imaging Eclipses". This was in advance of the partial Solar Eclipse that will be visible on the morning of 20th March.


Annual General Meeting

On Sat 14th March, Caithness Astronomy Group held their AGM in Caithness Horizons, Thurso. 

The annual statement of accounts were accepted and the following office bearers and committee members were re-elected as part of the proceedings:

Chairperson: Gordon Mackie
Secretary: Alan Kennedy
Treasurer: Alan Gerrard
Other committee members: Mike Lunan, John Hilton, Steven Mcconnach & Karen Munro

Membership for 2015 was set at £15 for adults and £25 for family membership (the same as last year).


Partial Solar Eclipse (Fri 20th March)

CAG members & others including Tanya Johnston fromt he Royal Observatory in Edinburgh went mobile to carry out Solar Eclipse observing under mostly clear skies at Latheron.


Caithness Science Festival Family Day (Sat 21st March)

As usual CAG attended the Family Day event, and happily this year the Sun made an appearance from behind the clouds allowing splendid views to be safely had through our specially filtered solar telecope.


Earth Hour Event (Sat 28th March)

An Earth Hour event in conjunction with Highland Council Countryside Rangers - was held at the Seadrift Centre, Dunnet Beach.


Aurora Spotting with Guest Visitor Dr Melanie Windridge

Keen local aurora spotters spent some time talking about and spotting aurora during a her visit to the local area as part of her research for a book on aurora she is writing.


Mercury, the swift-footed messenger (Thurs 23th April)

Return visitor, Pauline Macrae of the Highlands Astronomical Society, gave a public talk titled "Mercury, the swift-footed messenger, as seen through Messenger’s eyes" which covered the latest findings of the Messenger spacecraft and what it told us about the nearest planet to our Sun.


Members workshop (Fri 29th May)


Turning to the Dark Side (Fri 14th August)

Joint IYL event with the BSA, RSPB and Highland Countryside Rangers.

Dave Jones of the RSPB kicked off the evening with a talk about wildlife that becomes active and thrives after dark. This was followed by a guide to the sights visible in the local dark skies by Caithness Astronomy Group Chairman Gordon Mackie. As darkness fell the evening was rounded off by a short session spotting bats led by Ranger Paul Castle.


2020 Vision: The Future of Astronomical Telescopes (2nd Sept)

A long time supporter and regular guest speaker for CAG, Professor Martin Hendry MBE from the University of Glasgow gave a talk titled "2020 Vision: The Future of Astronomical Telescopes" where he looked at the enormous scientific potential of the next generation of telescopes, and previewed some of the biggest questions that astronomers might be tackling in 2020 and beyond.

While in the area Prof Hendry visited Wick schools (Wick High School and Hillhead Primary School) to talk to the children there.


Night Sky Photography Talks for Dingwall Camera Club (Sept)

CAG members and keen astrophotogrphers Gordon Mackie and Chris Sinclair made a trip south to give talks to Dingwall Camera Club members on night sky photography with a DSLR and tripod.


Skywatching for Seafarers (Sept)

As part of the Wick Sea Festival CAG Chairman Gordon Mackie gave a talk covering topics of interest to Seafarers, including the fundamentals behind celestial navigation and it's development over time.


Exoplanets and the Search for ET (2nd Oct)

Dr Duncan Forgan of the University of St Andrews gave a fascinating public talk titled "The Light of Other Worlds - Exoplanets and the Search for ET". The talk described how astronomers, physicists, chemists, geologists and biologists are teaming up to search for life on other planets, and to look for signs of intelligent life, and generated lots of questions afterwards.

While in the area Dr Forgan gave talks to some of the older pupils from Wick, Thurso and Farr High Schools.


Forsinard Flows - Stargazing Event (Nov)

At an event organised by the RSPB Flows to the Future project, CAG held a talk and stargazing session at the wonderfully dark locations of Halladale Hall and the RSPB Observation Tower at Forsinard.


Ice Worlds of The Outer Solar System (Nov 13th)

Public talk by CAG member Mike Lunan on the outer ice giants Uranus and Neptune, and the recently visited dwarf planet Pluto


CAG Members Annual "Meteors & Mince Pies" event (Dec)


Stargazing Evening At Mount Pleasant Primary School (Dec)

CAG spent an evening with P5 pupils undertaking a variety of educational space and astronomy activities. Unfortunately, weather conditions meant no stargazing could take place outdoors, but were still able to learn in an interactive way about the solar system, telescopes, rockets and gravity.



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