Rescheduled Observing Night

This is a reminder that we’ve rescheduled our observing night to tonight, Friday 4th October. The weather does not look good this morning, but is expected to improve later. Watch this post for updates.

The venue, should we go ahead, is 41 Castledykes Road at 8pm. Check the weather first. If you’re not sure call the contact number at Dumfries 252674.


The Castledykes Observatory


As of 5pm the sky is looking a bit mixed. We just had some heavy thick cloud but there are gaps. I’ll check in an hour and see what direction things are going in.


It’s looking pretty good. As long as that band of cloud to the south stays away we should be able to see something. If the sky is still as clear around 7.30 or so, just come to Castledykes. Otherwise check here again.


It’s looking very good now. I’m going to set up a telescope and let it settle. We’ll start observing at 8pm and see what the weather brings after that.


All set up and the sky is looking great. We have the added bonus of hundreds of geese flying to Caerlaverock. It should be a good night.


What a shame. The clouds were just waiting for the sun to go down and then they rallied and covered the sky. It’s all off for tonight. Let’s rearrange another of these in a month’s time and see if we have any better luck then. Any takers for hosting the next one?


Observing Night

We have an observing night scheduled for this evening Friday 27th September, at 8pm. The venue is 41 Castledykes Road, Dumfries.

However the weather is pretty dodgy and our hosts have now been called away on family business and so we will have to postpone the observing session.

The new arrangement is that we will meet at 41 Castledykes Road next Friday 6th October at 8pm, weather permitting. Do not come along tonight.

Cancellation of October Meeting

Please note – unfortunately there has arisen a need to cancel October’s meeting of the club on Tuesday 8th October. 

Professor Lyndsay Fletcher, of Glasgow University, was to have been our speaker that evening but she can no longer come to be with us on that date.

However, we look forward to our meeting on Tuesday 12th November when Dr Alan Walker, of the Physics and Astronomy School of Edinburgh University, comes to us to give his talk “From Maxwell to Higgs and Beyond.” Dr Alan Walker is both a colleague and friend of Professor Higgs of the “Higgs Boson” fame so it promises to be a fascinating evening.

To paraphrase Rod Stewart’s song Maggie May and the line, “Its late September and I really should be back at school” “it’s late September  and we really should be observing again!” Neil, with his enthusiasm, and an inspiration to all our members, has already been doing this. In addition we are holding our first observing night (cloud and weather permitting permitting) at the home of Mark Toner, 37 Castledykes Road, Dumfries on Friday 27th September. This is just off the Glencaple Road to the south of Dumfries right into Castledykes Avenue and right again. Perhaps 8pm would be a good time to meet?

Finally, for members with literary tastes, I’ve just finished reading an unusual novel by Thomas Hardy entitled, “Two on a Tower”. Unusually its subject is the romance between an older sometimes passionate lady of the manor with a younger handsome and rustic astronomer. Hardy commented, “This slightly-built romance was the outcome of a wish to set the emotional history of two infinitesimal lives against the stupendous background of the stellar universe, and to impart to readers the sentiment that of these contrasting magnitudes the smaller might be the greater to them as men”

Happy observing, happy reading!





“Lucky Breaks in Astronomy”

This is the subject of the presentation at our first meeting of the new programme. Rod Hine, our speaker, will be sharing with us some of the discoveries made by astronomers which did not come about simply as the results of the research that were anticipated.  Some of these lucky breaks have resulted in contributions to scientific knowledge, whose importance has been immense.

Rod offers his talk on Tuesday 10th September 7pm at Lochvale House, Georgetown, at our regular place of meeting.

The rest of the programme planned so far:

Tuesday 8th October – Professor Lyndsey Fletcher, Astrophysicist, University of Glasgow offers more insights into the cosmos.

Tuesday 12th November – Dr Alan Walker, University of Edinburgh, “From Maxwell to Higgs and Beyond” Dr Walker has worked with Professor Higgs and assisted him personally in the arrangements for his receipt of the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the Higgs Boson

Tuesday 10th December – Astronomy Club Quiz. Quizmaster sought!

Tuesday 14th January – Dr David Rendall (our treasurer!), offers insights from his own scientific discipline, marine biology, to speculate on the possibility of life under the ice in the ocean of Europa.

Tuesday 11th February – Jim Connechen, a member of the Moffat Astronomy Club, sketches out for us how Moffat became a dark sky town.

Tuesday 10th March TBA

April Date and Programme incorporating Yuri’s Night TBA.

Finally, Fiona from the Museum has been in contact asking that a number of our members support an event on Monday 11th November which has been arranged to coincide with the transit of Mercury on that day.  As we have quite a few retirees in the club (present writer included!), I indicated we would be able to lend support to this….

Please do invite any people you know who might be interested to come along.  It would be a good thing if we can increase our numbers this year.



Invitation by Lord Simon Tanlaw to mark installation of 5m radio telescope. 14th September 2019

The Society has been invited for up to 5 of its members to attend the installation of this telescope, at Black Esk, near Eskdalemuir, which will be accompanied by a hog roast.

Lord Tanlaw is a keen astronomer and this is the first of what is planned to be a 4 telescope array.


I don’t yet have timings for this event, but if you are interested please contact Simon via his e/mail or phone him on 02037 204 697.



Yuri’s Night at the Museum

Not a variation on the “Night at the Museum” film! This is to highlight an open evening on Thursday 11th April, beginning at 7pm, hosted by the Dumfries Museum, at which members of the Dumfries Astronomy Club will be celebrating the achievements of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.

We are pleased to welcome as our guest speaker Dr Hugh Hudson, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Glasgow University, who is a specialist in solar astronomy.  He will be speaking about the sizing of the sun and also be sharing some of the knowledge that has been gained as a result of citizen science.

Members of the public are very welcome at what promises to be an enjoyable evening.

Steven (Secretary)