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Astronomy Evening

Dirty Snowballs.That’s the description that has been applied to a comet, and Bill Leslie has a very practical way of explaining why.

From a box of secret ingredients, before your very eyes, he creates a model of one of these visitors from the outer reaches of the Solar System – and lets it loose.

Bill's cometmaking is worth travelling a long way to see, and a large audience turned out for the evening hosted by the Highlands Astronomical Society.

And it really was a special occasion, as the theme of the other presentation was video astronomy, by one of the leaders in the field, Andrew Elliott from Blackpool.

Andrew, winner of the British Astronomical Association’s Merlin Medal in 2000, has been a pioneer in the use of highly sensitive video cameras in amateur astronomy.

His presentation included recordings of occultations of stars by the moon, asteroids, and planetary satellites, together with eclipses, planetary transits, meteor showers and fireballs, and also fast-moving asteroids. Precise timing of such events by amateurs can yield scientifically valuable data which is of use to professional astronomers.

The sights that skilled video astronomy can record are the kind of things that make you say 'Wow!' from time to time. As a sample of the kind of images he showed, take a look at these sights of flashing meteors recorded by Andrew and shown on YouTube.

The Highlands Astronomical Society evening took place on Tuesday 4 November, 7:30 pm in the Green House, Beechwood Park, Inverness.

Andrew also visited Moray’s Astronomy Club, Sigma, in the Birnie Hall on Friday 7 November at 7.30 pm.

Two starry knights

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