Glen Lyon Astronomy Weekend 2000

By Malcolm Gibb

AFA members and guest speakers.

Glen Lyon astronomy weekend 6th/7th October 2000

A very successful weekend was held at the Scouts Outward Bound centre at Meggernie in Glen Lyon. Arriving on the Friday evening a three course dinner was followed by a talk and computerised slide show on the Southern Sky by Russell Cockman. Unfortunately we were unable to view the Northern Sky due to the inclement weather (so what's new), never the less the first evening was very enjoyable, in that members and friends were able to socialise.

Saturday, and after breakfast, (cereal, juice, bacon, sausage, egg, toast and tea/coffee) everybody did their own thing. The weather was rather inclement, but some went walking in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, others relaxed in the comfort of the hostel and most at some time during the day, walked the short distance to the village. There is a gallery there and I think a few were tempted by the stunning pictures on show but unfortunately they were quite expensive. A packed lunch was available for the walkers and for those who stayed close by lunch was a help-yourself job, in fact you could have lunch more than once if you wanted! During the afternoon Ian Glen gave a talk and slide show featuring his trips to the Himalayas and this was really enjoyed by those who saw it. The quality of the photographs and the commentary was excellent.

After an excellent dinner, Jamie Shepherd gave his ever-changing meteorite show and talk, this was very well received by all present. The fact that one could handle most of them made it even more enjoyable and for me, being able to hold a piece of Allende meteorite which fell in 1969 near the village of Pueblito de Allende, in Mexico was absolute magic. Allende is a carbonaceous chondrite which has a chemical composition, which in all but the most volatile elements, matches the composition of the Sun. This similarity with the Sun, means that Allende is a very primitive material indeed and has not had its chemistry changed by secondary processes. In other words, it is as old as the solar system itself and now you will understand why I thought it was magical to hold it.

The evening progressed with talk and refreshments, and a regular departure by somebody to have a look at the sky. It did clear about 11.00pm. and for a couple of hours we did what we came for, looking at the sky, and it was what all skies should be like, dark! Telescopes were out and the more experienced were showing people like myself the wonders of the skies. Frequent trips were made indoors to check things like the positions of Jupiter's moons on Red Shift 3 on the computer, courtesy of Russell. Alas, these things always have to end, and this case about 1.30am. it clouded over again, so it was to bed.

The following morning was quite bright and after breakfast Douglas Cooper had his Tele Vue 'scope out and we went spotting red deer. Once the Sun appeared, it was all change and the H-alpha filter went on and we viewed the Sun as we had never seen it before. A very fitting finale to a memorable weekend.

Meggernie has been booked again for October 2001, if you want a place on this years weekend get in touch now. There will be at least three talks on various subjects, including one on CCD photography with a web camera.