SIGMA Events Programme for 2009

Meetings are held on the first Friday of every month at Birnie Village Hall near Elgin.

Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

Non-members are always welcome and refreshments are provided (for a small donation).

SIGMA regularly holds public observing sessions at its dark site outside Elgin. Visit our Public Events page to see what we have planned.

Friday 9th January
Climate & Cosmology
Stewart Argo, SIGMA
SIGMA member, Stewart Argo, will be having a look at how astronomical changes have influenced our climate through history, and what this might mean for our future.

Friday 6th Feb
The Galilean Moons
Pauline Macrae, Highland’s Astronomical Society
Following on from her very popular talk on Jupiter, Highland’s Astronomical Society member, Pauline Macrae will be delving deeper in to the Galilean moons with images and information to inspire.

Friday 6th March
Astronaut John Young
Chris Stradling, SIGMA
SIGMA member, Chris Stradling, will be detailing the life of America’s most famous astronaut, from his first flight on the Gemini programme and his two Apollo missions through to his flight in command of the first Space Shuttle and beyond. This talk will be held at ST THOMAS’ RC SCHOOL in Keith.

Friday 3rd April
The Galilean Moons
Pauline Macrae, Highland’s Astronomical Society
Rearranged from our cancelled meeting in February and following on from her very popular talk on Jupiter, Highland’s Astronomical Society member, Pauline Macrae will be delving deeper in to the Galilean moons with images and information to inspire.

Friday 1st May
From Galileo to LIGO & GEO
Martin Hendry, Glasgow University
Martin Hendry, from Glasgow University will be giving a talk about the new field of gravitational wave astronomy which introduced people to extreme phenomena such as black holes, supernovae and colliding galaxies, all of which generate gravitational waves. He will also be talking about the huge “telescopes” which are now trying to detect these waves and all the new questions this field may be able to answer.

Friday 5th June
Annual General Meeting
A chance to recap up on what SIGMA has been doing in 2008/2009, Committee elections and a look forward to the rest of the year. In the second half there will be a showing of a selection from some of SIGMA’s images over the year.

Friday 3rd July
Beyond the Rainbow
Chris Stradling, SIGMA
SIGMA member, Christopher Jennings, talks about light and how it is much more than just the colours of the rainbow.

Friday 7th August
High-Z Galaxies
Ross McLure, ROE
Over the last century astronomers have been constantly exploiting technological advances to study galaxies at greater and greater distances from the Milky Way. These studies have progressed to a point where today the most distant galaxy known is at a redshift of z=6.96; which corresponds to looking back through 95% of the Universe’s history. This talk will discuss the underlying scientific motivations for studying objects in the early history of the Universe, and provide a brief historical overview of how such studies have progressed over the last century. In addition, the talk will discuss how the latest technology is being used to push the observational boundary out to even greater distances, focusing on some of the research being currently pursued at the Institute for Astronomy, Edinburgh.

Friday 4th September
How the Sun Got Its Spots
Brian Kelly, Discovery Centre, Dundee
SIGMA favourite Brian Kelly returns with another fascinating sun talk. Brian will tell us the story of astronomers who, from their records of sunspot observations, were able to deduce the workings of the Sun.

Friday 2nd October
Campaign For Dark Skies
Bill Eaves
Bill Eaves will give us a talk on the Campaign for Dark Skies in Moray and the surrounding areas.

Friday 6th November
Stellar Cannibals
Amanda Smith, Highlands Astronomical Society
The more massive star in an interacting binary system ‘devours’ its companion. In systems known as cataclysmic variables, this ‘cannibal’ is a white dwarf. Novae and dwarf novae eruptions are just the more dramatic of a vast array of variability that these systems display. The main difficulty in investigating the nature of these objects has been that the companion stars are too close together to be resolved – even the world’s most powerful telescopes see them as just a single star. Yet it is possible to construct a picture using indirect imaging techniques akin to techniques used in medicine.

Friday 4th December
Yet another night of fun and mince pies to finish off 2009.