SIGMA Events Programme for 2016

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.

* Please note that the January meeting is held later in the month.

Friday 15th January
“SIGMA Stargazing Night”
SIGMA’s monthly meeting, held in conjunction with the BBC Stargazing Live series, with an equipment night and public observing session.
Held at Lhanbryde, there is a chance to see the wonders of the local night sky and for the public to engage with local astronomers (us!).

Friday 5th February
“A Journey to a Nearby Star”
Paul Jenkins, Highlands Astronomical Society
Based on a study carried out in the 70’s, Paul will be discussing what would be involved in journeying to a nearby star, and whether it would be feasible. The talk will look at the conclusions and outcomes of the study and also comment on recent updates.

Friday 4th March
“Opening a New Window on Einstein’s Universe”
Prof. Martin Hendry, University of Glasgow
To celebrate the centenary of Einstein’s theory of Relativity, Martin will be discussing gravitational waves, “ripples” produced by some of the most violent events in the cosmos. He will explore the amazing science and technology behind detecting these waves, and what they tell us about Einstein’s Universe.

Friday 1st April
“Robots to the Moon”
Ken McTaggart, Highlands Astronomical Society
Moon Expert Ken will be talking about Unmanned Lunar Exploration. Over the past 50 years a series of automatic probes have explored the Earth’s natural satellite from orbit and on the surface, transforming our view from a flat disc viewed in a telescope to a complex world shaped by dynamic natural processes.

Friday 6th May
Pete Sherman, SIGMA
Pete will give an insight into techniques for imaging the night sky, from simple star trails to deep sky objects such as galaxies and nebulas. The talk will cover the equipment and software needed and how to set it up correctly, to tempt you into this addictive hobby.

Friday 3rd June
Annual General Meeting – held at Morayvia, Kinloss.

Friday 1st July
Please Note change of talk and now at Birnie Village Hall
Taking Us to the Stars – the Importance of Exploration
Speaker: Howie Firth
(followed by Equipment Night)
Arthur C. Clarke, writing in 1953, predicted the year 1978 for the first manned moon landing, and rocketry developed so rapidly that the actual landing came nine years ahead of the prediction. But Clarke also predicted that for the end of the 20th century a manned moon base with five thousand people – and manned flights to Mars as well. Why have we fallen so far behind? And will we ever get back on track?
(The 2nd Professor George Fraser Memorial Lecture originally scheduled for this month will now take place in 2017)

Friday 5th August
“Modern Meteor Astronomy”
Bill Ward, University of Glasgow
The technology exists today that makes possible meteor observations that were previously only dreamed of. Bill will look at how this technology has revolutionized amateur Modern Meteor Astronomy in the past ten years, and how you can take part.

Friday 2nd September
Please Note change of talk
“Early Radio Astronomy – the First Two Decades”
Stewart Argo, SIGMA
Stewart will look at some of the people involved in early radio astronomy and some of the discoveries they made using quite low-budget though not always simple equipment.

Friday 7th October
“Planetary Nebula”
Maarten de Vries, Highlands Astronomical Society
Planetary nebulae are the stunningly beautiful remnants of stars although their appearance and peculiar spectra have long puzzled astronomers. Maarten will explain how these objects are formed, what they are made off and what processes take place in them, as well as suggestions on how to observe them.

Friday 4th November
“Observing Uranus and Neptune”
Mike Lunan, Caithness Astronomy Group
Ice giants Uranus and Neptune are usually overlooked in talks about planets, largely because they are not easy to observe. Mike’s talk will give us an insight into why they are so different from the other gas giants, and so different from each other. There will also be up-to-date news about Pluto, including images from New Horizons.

Friday 2nd December
“Christmas Quiz & Prize Draw”for SIGMA Members and your Families
Our annual opportunity to bring the family along for a night of fun, questions and mince pies to end the year.

There will also be the usual prize draw and an update on planned events for SIGMA in 2017

The 2016 Leaflet is available to download (pdf).