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The programme for 2019 is below. Check back regularly in case any dates or time change.

Note: the dates for Prof Martin Hendry's talk has changed from November to October - fulll details below.


CAG Programme of Events for 2019

Members events are asterixed

Sat 12th January - Public Moonwatch Event - Thurso Riverside (opposite Scout Hall) @ 7pm (weather permitting)

*Fri 25th January - Members Dark Skies Event​​ - Space News Update & “Adventures in Amateur Astronomy – 10 Years as Chairman of CAG” (Gordon Mackie)​ & observing session

Sat 16th February - Public Moonwatch Event - Wick High School @ 7pm (weather permitting)

Sat 23rd February - AGM - 11am at Pentland Hotel, Thurso​

*Fri 1st March - Members Dark Skies Event​​​ - "Open source software for amateur astronomers" (Christian Wilhelm), "Astrophotography Tips" (Maciej Winiarczyk) & observing session

Fri 15th March - "KISSing The Moon" by Eric Walker / Lunar Observing (part of Caithness Science Festival)​​​

Sat 16th March - Short talks "Peat Bog Iron and Martian Soils" (Prof Keith Nicholson)​ & "Lunar Basics" (Gordon Mackie) with Lunar Observing and a moonlit walk to the observation tower (weather permitting)​. Event venue is RSPB Field Centre, Forsinard.

Sat 23rd March - Caithness Science Festival Family Day​​​ (Wick High School)

*Fri 29th March - Members Event - observing session plus more "An Insight Into Type 1a Supernovae"​​​ (Iain Darby), "Astrophotography Tips" (Maciej Winiarczyk) & "What Makes Sirius Twinkle" (John Hilton)

Fri 12th April - Moonwatch / Public Talks​ - "Apollo Expeditions to the Moon" (Carole Whittaker) & "The Apollo Moon Landings - Debunking the Hoax Conspiracy Theory" (Mark Gibson)

Tues 14th May - "In search of a giant impact crater in Scotland" - talk about the Lairg Asteroid Impact Event by Dr Mike Simms​, National Museums Northern Ireland​​. Pentland Hotel, Thurso (doors open 7pm for 7.30pm start)

*Fri 14th June - Observing and Imaging Equipment Evening (open to non-members who book a place in advance)

Thur 12th Sept - “Charles Piazzi Smyth: The Man Who Was Proven Right” (200th anniv of his birth) ​- Amongst other achievements credited to 2nd Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1901), are two innovations: on one hand significant improvements of a distributed time service in the city Edinburgh, and on the other hand advancement of empirical Astronomy through setting up mountaintop observatories. But it was not all plain stargazing – in this talk by Matjaz Vidmar from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, we examine the persistent critical tension between the astronomer’s work on their “civic” and “academic” duties and the reason why it took nearly 100 years before Charles Piazzi Smyth’s idea of mountaintop observatories took off.

Fri 13th Sept - “From Standing Stones to Blasting Rockets – Scotland is Off to Space!”​ (RSPB Field Centre, Forsinard, 7.15pm start) - Global Space Industry is in a time of a radical transformation and is no longer the exclusive business of global superpowers or multi-national corporations. In this talk by Matjaz Vidmar from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, we will link the rich History of Astronomy and Space Science in Scotland to examine exciting new developments in our ambition to follow these trends and expand our Space Sector; looking in particular at how we join together entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists, with some help from long-established institutions and new ventures. However, building a Space Industry ecosystem is not trivial – after all, who said it was not rocket science?  (see www.theflowcountry.org.uk/calendar/)

Sat 14th Sept - An afternoon of family friendly space activities with Matjaz Vidmar (Royal Observatory Edinburgh) and Caithness Astronomy Group at the RSPB Forsinard Visitor Centre (11am-3pm - www.theflowcountry.org.uk/calendar/)

*Thur 3rd Oct - Members Q&A session with Prof Martin Hendry (doors open 7pm for 7.30pm start)

Fri 4th Oct"An Astronomer’s Guide to the Periodic Table" - 2019 marks the International Year of the Periodic Table - the famous diagram used to display the chemical elements that make up our universe.  Over the past century astronomers have learned a great deal about where these elements come from – including remarkable new discoveries about the cosmic origins of precious metals like gold and silver.  What is less well known, however, is the crucial importance of many rare elements underpinning the cutting-edge technology astronomers use to study the universe.  In this talk join Professor Martin Hendry MBE as he takes a whistle-stop tour of the periodic table, and how its elements have helped us reveal the mysteries of the cosmos.

Fri 1st Nov - "Astronomical Alchemy"- this presentation by chemist and amateur astronomer Gordon Mackie combines two of his main interests as a celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Elements (IYPT 2019). After introducing the Periodic Table of Elements, the talk will concentrate on the astronomical processes that form the chemical elements, before finishing by discussing the significance of a small selection of the elements from an astronomy perspective.

*Fri 29th Nov - Members Dark Skies Stargazing Evening​​ - "Caithness on Mars" (Prof Keith Nicholson)​ & observing session

*Fri 6th Dec - Members Moon & Mince Pies Event​​

More details for each event will be posted in due course on the news page of this website. All events are at 7pm in the Castlehill Heritage Centre, Castletown unless stated otherwise.


Astronomical Events to Observe

There are also the following astronomical events that weather permitting members may wish to view. If the weather looks favourable nearer the time of each, arrangements might be made for members to meet up and observe the event. Members should check their emails nearer the time for details.

*Mon 21st Jan - Members Observing/Photo Opportunity - Total Lunar Eclipse before sunrise

*Tue 16th July - Members Observing/Photo Opportunity - Partial Eclipse at Sunset/Moonrise

*Mon 11th November - Members Observing/Photo Opportunity - Transit of Mercury (approx noon-4pm)​​

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