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Gordonstoun

Timed to coincide with Autumn Moonwatch week and The Scottish Solar System Project, the SIGMA Astronomy Fun Day held at The Ogstoun Theatre at Gordonstoun School was another huge success. With around 100 members of the public joining us during the day, the event was busy and vibrant the whole day. The children all enjoyed a variety of activities including being able to remotely navigate a Mars Rover, plus create their own sundial, pinprick telescope and a planisphere.

Once again, the favourite activity by far was the workshop and a regular crowd of willing participants eagerly created their rockets ready to launch! Even the pouring rain didn't dampen their excitement and enthusiasm, as rocket after rocket was launched and retrieved, apart from the few that got stuck on the roof!

Thanks to SIGMA's participation in the Scottish Solar System project and with the kind support of The Glasgow Science Centre, Dark Sky Scotland and Glasgow University, we were lucky enough to have a Starlab for the day. Funded by The Scottish Government, the Starlab offered a great opportunity for the youngsters (and their grown-ups) to see the night sky in its entirety, with no light pollution to spoil their view. The Dark Sky Scotland team ran several workshops with stories being told that wowed young and old alike.

A guest book showed a wealth of positive comments, including one which simply said that the whole day had been supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Sadly the weather was against us for our evening event, but those who came along thoroughly enjoyed the presentations on offer and were then able to have an "observing session" inside the star lab, keeping them dry and warm whilst being able to enjoy what the dark night skies have to offer.

As mentioned this event was timed to coincide with the The Scottish Solar System Project. This event basically turned Scotland into a large, scaled model of the Solar System, with The Glasgow Science Centre representing our Sun. Each club was then assigned a different body, dependant on its distance from "The Sun", the furthest being The Shetlands which represented Neptune. The Scottish Solar System project could be eligible for a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever model of the Solar System created. SIGMA was chosen to represent Chiron a small planetoid which was first discovered by Charles Kowal on 1st November in 1977. Chiron has an unstable, elliptical orbit of around 50.7 years and was last closest to the Earth in 1996 and will not be that close again until 2047. Chiron is a very enigmatic and mysterious body and studies are still taking place to establish its origin as some believe it to be an asteroid from the Kuiper belt, whilst others believe it to be a comet, hence it's other name; Comet 95P

Our lucky competition winners on the day were as follows:

Spot the Star Competition: Meghan Hood from Spey Bay who wins a great pair of binoculars, kindly donated by Strathspey Binoculars

Mars Rover Competition: Prize was a large tin of Celebrations
First Prize: Fergus Brown from Hopeman
Second Prize : Erin Addison & Josh Pritchard from Elgin

Our thanks again to all the SIGMA volunteers who came along on the day to help out and of course to the Dark Sky Scotland team for all their hard work with the Star Lab.

Here are some photos taken during the day by Gordon Grant and Charlotte Jennings.