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SIGMA Events Programme for 2017

Meetings are held on the first Friday* of every month at Birnie Village Hall near Elgin (unless otherwise stated). 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 Upcoming Events page to see what we have planned.

* Please note that the January meeting is held at Lhanbryde Community Centre and the July meeting is held later in the month.

Friday 6th January SIGMA Stargazing Night
Venue: Lhanbryde Community Centre
SIGMA’s annual Stargazing meeting. Another chance to hold a joint club night and public observing session. Held at Lhanbryde, the event will give members and visitors a chance to see many of the wonders of the local night sky and talk with local Astronomers.

Friday 3rd February 2017 Universe in a Nutshell
Tim Browett, Robert Gordon’s College
This talk will explore our expanding and evolving understanding of the Universe. Tim will examine the development of science’s views on the Universe’s turbulent 13.8 billion years of history, what we currently believe the state of the Universe to be, and finally examine possible outcomes in it’s future evolution. A number of practical and novel demonstrations will be used to translate the potentially mind-bending theories into tangible and manageable concepts.

Friday 3rd March 2017 How do They Know That?
Bill Leslie, SIGMA
How can anyone know the size of a planet, its distance from the Sun and its mass? Bill will be explaining the science that astronomers use to answer these questions.

Friday 7th April 2017 Recent Curiosities on Mars
Pauline Macrae, Highlands Astronomical Society
Pauline will be talking about Mars, and the discoveries made by the Curiosity Rover during its four and a half year trek across the red planet.

Friday 5th May 2017 Extreme Solar Events
Dr. Hugh Hudson, University of Glasgow
Hugh will be explaining all about extreme events which take place within and on our Sun and other stars. From flares and CMEs and mentions Black Swans and Tree Rings.

Friday 2nd June 2017 AGM, Solar Observing and Social
Another chance to catch up with events within SIGMA over the last year and to elect the new committee. There will also be the usual Space News and membership draw.

Friday 21st July 2017 2nd Prof. George Fraser Memorial Lecture
In 2014 SIGMA, in association with Morayvia, held its first memorial lecture in honour of Prof. George Fraser (22 July 1955 - 18 March 2014). Born and brought up in Burghead, George was Professor of Detector Physics and Director of the Space Research Centre of the University of Leicester. Though his work was recognised internationally, his achievements are virtually unknown locally. Prof. Martin Hendry, University of Glasgow, a renowned international scientist and regular speaker at SIGMA will deliver this 2nd memorial lecture.

2020 Vision: Multi-Messenger Astronomy and Cosmology From Earth and Space-Based Observatories

The direct detection of gravitational waves by LIGO, (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), from the collision of two massive black holes more than a billion light years from Earth, has been hailed as the scientific breakthrough of the century, opening up an entirely new way to explore our Universe, and future prospects for simultaneously observing both electro-magnetic and gravitational-wave signals in the distant cosmos. This new field of “multi-messenger" astronomy offers rich opportunities to address some of the deepest unsolved mysteries in astrophysics - from probing the runaway expansion of the Universe to understanding how stars and galaxies formed. This lecture will highlight some of the exciting discoveries that might lie ahead and showcase some of the remarkable technology that underpins our efforts to explore the Universe across the entire electromagnetic spectrum and beyond.

Venue to be confirmed - please check our website www.sigma-astro.co.uk for updates.

Friday 4th August 2017 TV Astronomy
Robert Law, Mills Observatory, Dundee
Robert will show how to use simple video cameras to get pictures of the moon and planets with small telescopes. He will also show pictures from the 16 inch reflector telescope at Mills Observatory.

Friday 1st September 2017 Hunting the Dragon
Prof. Andy Lawrence, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Mysterious and violent events take place in the very centres of galaxies - huge outpourings of X-ray and ultraviolet radiation, jets streaking out at nearly the speed of light, and erratic changes from week to week. Andy will trace the history of how we have pieced together the puzzle over several decades, with telescopes, detectors, and theory, and look at what we think we understand now.

Friday 6th October 2017 Talk details not available at time of publication - please check our website www.sigma-astro.co.uk for updates.

Friday 3rd November 2017 Astrophotography and Nightscapes
Maciej Winiarczyk - wildnorthskies.com
Renowned astrophotographer Maciej will be explaining how he captures his stunning images of the Northern lights (Aurora) and wonderful nightscapes from his dark sky advantage point of Wick.

Friday 1st December 2017 Christmas Quiz and Prize Draw
for SIGMA Members and your Families

Another chance to bring along the family for a night of fun, questions and mince pies to end the year. There will also be the usual Christmas raffle and an update on future planned events for SIGMA in 2017.

The 2017 Leaflet is available to download (pdf).