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Shetland Astronomical Society AGM 2015


The AGM for the Shetland Astronomical Society will be held on Monday 16th March in the Training Room, Market House, Lerwick.

All members as well as interested members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Upcoming Lecture: Extra-Terrestrial Life – Possibility, Probability or Certainty

Shetland Science Outreach Group and The Royal Society of Edinburgh present:

Extra-Terrestrial Life – Possibility, Probability or Certainty?

Lectures and Panel Discussion by
Professor John C Brown – Astronomer Royal for Scotland
and Professor Charles Cockell, Head of the UK Centre for Astrobiology, University of Edinburgh

The Shetland Museum and Archive, Saturday 6 Sept at 7.30pm

Tickets £5; OAPs and Students Free. Pre-book on 01595-695057

Shetland Astronomical Society AGM


The AGM for the Shetland Astronomical Society will be held on Tuesday 8th April in the Training Room, Market House, Lerwick.

All members are encouraged to attend in order to elect new office bearers and ensure the SAS can move forward and continue to support astronomy in the Isles.

Appeal from the Highland Astronomical Society

I am writing to you on behalf of the Highlands Astronomical Society about our concerns involving a new development of 16 houses just 400 m from Culloden battlefield where we have our observatory. Although planning permission was rejected by the Highland Council, this has since been overruled by the Scottish Government.

The battle of Culloden in 1746 was a pivotal moment in Scottish history resulting in the destruction of a whole way of life and the depopulation of the Highlands, known as the Highland Clearances. The bleak moorland upon which the battlefield stands has been kept as close as possible to the way it would have looked hundreds of years ago and now engenders an atmosphere of sorrow and despair for the thousands of men who fell in combat. This includes keeping all lighting to a minimum to ensure the night sky appears as it did during the night march that proved so costly to the Jacobites.

Although the new houses will be replacing barns, it still means the disturbance of the area and of the many bodies which probably still lie where they fell. Although there are only 16 houses, if given planning permission, this may set a precedent and an avalanche of buildings may follow along with lights to further ruin the night sky. Our observatory is on Culloden Battlefield land leased to us by the National Trust for Scotland; it is easily accessible from Inverness and, at the moment, the skies are dark enough to be able to see the Milky Way.

Dark skies are as much a part of our heritage as the Battlefield and as such should be protected.

We would therefore ask if you and your members would please sign the petition which you can reach through our website at: or directly by following:

Thank you.

Pauline Macrae

Migration of website

We apologise to our users for the extended period of website downtime recently. This was due to a migration of the website to the servers.

Our previous web hosting package was eating up a large portion of SAS funds. While searching for more affordable solutions Mike and Anna Breimann very kindly offered to host the site for us on their own web space. Shetland Astronomical Society would like to thank Anna and Mike for their generosity and kindness.

Please take time to visit Mike's site at as its an excellent source of astronomical news, tools and information

Visiting Professor Entertains Crowds

Professor Martin Hendry, Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Glasgow University arrived in Shetland this weekend to undertake school visits and a public lecture at the invitation of Shetland Astronomical Society, funded by the Royal Astronomical Society.

Professor Hendry visited Anderson High School on Thursday 20 Jun and spoke to some 40 Standard and Higher Grade students. He visited Aith Junior High School in the morning of Friday 21 Jun and spoke to around 40 students, mainly Standard Grade, then went on to Brae High School where he spoke to around 20 Higher and Standard Grade pupils. Professor Hendry then moved on to Sandwick Junior High School and spoke to around 40 Standard Grade students in the afternoon.

Professor Hendry then gave a public lecture at the Shetland Museum and Archive on 22 June, which was attended by just over 60 members of the public including Shetland Astronomy Society members, Anderson High School, Mid-Yell, Sandwick Junior High School, and Brae High School students and teachers. There was an extended Q&A session after the lecture and a subsequent chance for attendees to engage in conversation with the Professor.

Students and public found the lectures both informative and entertaining, as Professor Hendry took his audience on a whistle-stop tour through thirteen billion years of cosmic history covering pulsing and exploding stars, dark matter, dark energy and the very latest theories of the Big Bang.There were a number of particularly insightful questions asked by students during the school visits, which gave both lecturer and student the opportunity to display the respective depths of their understanding.

Paul Bendix

SAS Site Under New Management

The Shetland Astronomical Society Website will soon be in the hands of
a new Web Administrator - Andrew.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our visitors and
contributors for their loyalty and support over the last few years
and would like to wish Andrew all the best with the site for the
future .

I`ll not be disappearing from the web , you can keep in touch
and see my new projects on my Youtube Channel austroastro
Of course you can also keep in touch on the Shetland Stargazer site

I hope to spend more time creating space models , building robots
and ( of course ) doing astronomy !

All the best ....
Mike Breimann

Petition: increase Governmental spend on R&D to 0.8% GDP

Following on from their letter in the Daily Telegraph signed by fifty top UK scientists, calling for an increase in research and development spending to at least 0.8% of GDP, "Science is Vital" are delighted to announce their accompanying Petition (see the link below). In the next few months, the Government will make key decisions about how to dispense funds for the next few years, the petition is to remind them that science is vital for the UK.

Observing Sessions and Events for 2013

Solar Storms and Northern Lights

Dr Lyndsay Fletcher (Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Glasgow) visited Shetland on Saturday 2 March 2013
and gave a public lecture on the above topic .
The lecture was held at the Shetland Museum and Archives.
To find out more about Lyndsay please click here
A report from the lecture will be following soon !

Past Events in 2012 :

Shetland Rover Team Back from Glenelg (Earth)

For more info -
please click here


Prof.John Brown (Astronomer Royal for Scotland ) , 15 September 7.30pm at Shetland Museum and Archives

The title of John's lecture was 'The Magic of Gravity and the Structure of the Universe'

Professor Charles Cockell ( Astrobiologist ), 1 September 7.30pm at Shetland Museum and Archives

Charles spoke about 'The Search for Life Beyond the Earth'
You can find the report under SAS-Events or please click here

Please click on the speakers` names for more information .

Please contact Paul ( ) to register your interest and to keep informed .

For the latest information about Dr. Ken Rice`s talk
please visit the Images-Events-SAS Shop section .
Information can be found under SAS Events - SAS Event from 17.03.2012 with Dr. Ken Rice .

Venus Transit 2012 Photo 2

By Chris Brown

Venus Transit 2012 Photo 2

Venus Transit 2012 Photo 1

By Chis Brown

Venus Transit 2012 Photo 1

Venus Transit Live Stream

Thank you to everyone who visited our site to see the live stream !

There where so many of you that the site couldn`t cope at times ,
so sorry if you weren`t able to get through .

The Sky was cloudy at first , but we were able to see Venus quite well
a few times and managed to see the final stages and the exit in their entirity .

Special Thanks to our Pals in Cornwall
( Roseland Observatory )
, for their support !
We had the better weather this time , next time it`s your turn !

For the Roseland Observatory site please click here !!

Also a special thanks to our two pioneers who braved the weather
and climbed stormy hills !

( Chris Brown who has sent us two beautiful pictures that you can see
in the Images section , and Chris McGinlay who fought strong winds
to keep his equipment on the ground !!
Please visit the G+ Shetland Stargazer site
for Chris`s report and images ! )

For the Shetland Stargazer site please click here !!

For the Venus Transit short film please click here !!

For the Venus Transit report from the SAS Team please click here !!

Thanks again to all....
The SAS Team

Mercury Transit 07.05.2003

By Billy Williamson (Yell)

Mercury Transit 07.05.2003

Sun in White Light - May 2012

By Chris Brown

Sun in White Light -  May 2012

Orion Nebula by Paul Hughes ( Roseland Observatory )

Many thanks to Paul Hughes from the Roseland Observatory in Cornwall for sending us this dramatic photo of the Orion Nebula !
Exposure time was more than one hour .
He used a combination of 18x3 min , 1x30 sec , 1x 15 sec , 1x2 sec exposures and used layering in PhotoShop to show the Trapezium due to the huge dynamic range of the nebula .

Please visit

Orion Nebula by Paul Hughes ( Roseland Observatory )

Aurora 15.03.2012

Picture By Chris Brown .
In Trondra 20.00 - 21.30

To see a short film of the aurora please click here .

Aurora 15.03.2012

Meteor Watch Record

Send these in to a committee member, we'd love to find out what you see.

Chris McGinlay's Stargazing Podcasts - please click on picture for audio files

Here you will find some astronomy podcasts from my website at
They are purposely brief, just giving you a few ideas on what to view over the following couple of weeks. More information and some links to items mentioned are to be found at If you like the podcasts, please visit the page on and give it a +1.

Chris McGinlay's Stargazing Podcasts - please click on picture for audio files

! ! ! Cosmic Threats to Earth with Prof John Brown ! ! !

This free event was held in Edinburgh
A set of three DVDs, covering the whole day's event is now available.

To order your copies or for more information,
please click here .

The attached file contains details of the day`s programme ! !

! ! !  Cosmic Threats to Earth with Prof John Brown  ! ! !

Card Model CCCP - Lunokhod 1


Russian Moon Rover
The very first remote controlled rover in space !! ( 1970 )

Welcome to Our Site !

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