Covid-19 Announcement

Covid-19In light of the latest advice from the Scottish and UK governments it has been decided that we should suspend the rest of this season’s programme of events.

There will be no further meetings of the Society now until the autumn, including the Yuri’s Night party scheduled in April.

Please check here and on our Facebook feed for updates.

‘In the Footsteps of Giants – Kelvin, Tait, Maxwell, Wilson to Higgs and Beyond’

This is the title chosen by Dr Alan Walker, an Edinburgh based physicist, who will be with us on the evening of Tuesday 10th March.

He adds, by way of what we can expect, that this will be “A random walk amongst Scottish  and other natural philosophers and physicists whose influence shaped a large part of the physics and technology of today”

Dr Walker is both a friend and professional associate of Professor Higgs, (he of the Higgs-Bosum fame no less!), and we look forward to having Alan with us, especially because his visit scheduled to us in the autumn had to be postponed at short notice because of illness.

Lochvale House, Tuesday 10th March, 7pm.


Rescheduled February Talk

Following the cancellation of Tuesday’s meeting because of the snowy weather, we are very glad that Jim Paterson, from the Moffat, Club has kindly agreed to offer his talk for next Tuesday, 18th February, instead.  We are grateful too to Lochside House for being flexible and allowing us to rearrange our meeting for the week later.



Unfortunately, our meeting this evening, Tuesday 11 February, has had to be cancelled at short notice.

Jim Paterson, our speaker, stays up at Moffat, and there has been snow there today.  He called me about 3.15pm. Understandably, he was anxious about getting home after the talk and in any event an amber warning is in place which covers the town there.

Jim has kindly agreed to reschedule his talk for next Tuesday instead, but I need to make sure this is ok with Lochvale House. I will post further details in the next day or two to confirm whether the meeting can go ahead next Tuesday, 18th February.



Moffat – The Dark Sky Town

As motorists drive into Moffat nowadays they are welcomed by a sign which declares Moffat to be a dark sky town.

We are pleased that on Tuesday 11th February Jim Paterson, from the Moffat Astronomy Club will be our speaker who will share with us the story of how Moffat achieved that status.  7pm Lochvale House, Georgetown.  All welcome.

(True to form, our planned observing night at Neil’s on 31st January coincided with poor weather which made viewing impossible!  Our next planned evening is Friday 27th March but in the meantime Mark, who lives at Carsethorne and has a small observatory there, has suggested that if we get a spell of fine clear weather we can arrange an evening there at fairly short notice, so please watch this space.  I will keep my eye open on the weather forecasts in the next month and post with Mark’s agreement between now and the next viewing night.)


Observing Night Friday 31 January

This will take place outside Neil’s home in Clarencefield on Friday evening this week.  It’s a good dark sky position but because the way to Neil’s house can be tricky to follow if you haven’t been there before, the plan is to meet outside (not inside as on a winter’s night we may never leave its warmth!!)) the Farmers Arms Pub on the main road through Clarencefield at 7.30pm so that Neil can lead the way.

If conditions are doubtful please phone Steven, the club secretary on 07563 564 695 during the later part of Friday afternoon when he can confirm whether or not we are planning to still go ahead. Thank you to Neil for agreeing that we can hold an observation evening there.

Europa – A Moon with Life?

Our first meeting of 2020, to be held on Tuesday 14th January, Lochvale House, 7pm, addresses a subject that will surely intrigue all our members. Europa is thought to be a moon with a frozen ocean, and this has led some scientists to speculate whether its depths may harbour some simple forms of life.

David Rendall, (our treasurer no less!), holds a PhD in Marine Biology, and when the secretary discovered this he asked David if he could apply his thoughts to Europa, and helpfully also fill a place on the speakers’ calendar. David is also glad as treasurer that on this occasion the club will not have to reimburse any speakers’ expenses!

We look forward very much to what David, with his knowledgeable background in this area has to share with us, and appreciate the time he has been giving to preparing his talk.

Last but not least, thanks so much to Martin Armstrong-Prior for offering the pre-Christmas Quiz last month.



Calling all Quizzers


Please note on Tuesday 10th December we are holding our pre-Christmas Quiz Evening.   Martin Armstrong-Prior has kindly offered to set the questions on this occasion.

At the last meeting of the club there was also a suggestion that people might bring with them something edible and/or drinkable, but please don’t go ‘over the top’ on this.

The evening starts at Lochvale House, Georgetown, (in the restaurant area in the basement – our new location) at 7pm.


We wish all our members a happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year!



Viewing Night Looks All Clear!

Hi all,

Just to say that as announced at our last club meeting it looks like tomorrow night we will have the very rare event of a scheduled observing night coinciding with some clear, bright weather.

The host is Mike Perry whose home is out near Twynholm.  The postcode is DG6 4NR.  there is a turning on the right off the main road to Stranraer and if you get as far as the chocolate factory on the left you will have gone too far!

Perhaps we could aim to arrive for around 7.30pm and leave the Dumfries area between 6.30 and 6.45pm.

The best plan may be to co-ordinate the transport for those who plan to go through giving me a phone on 07563 564 695.

In the nature of things with the unpredictability of the weather this is an announcement about the event at short notice before the evening itself.


The Transit of Mercury

All members please note.  There is an event at Dumfries Museum on Monday 11th November to coincide with the Transit of Mercury. Will as many members of our club who are free that afternoon come along to the Museum to support this and to help with viewing arrangements.

One of the museum staff has e/mailed me:

The event will be from 12.30 until 4.15 (I think the peak is about 3.20?) so it would be brilliant if some of the members were able to come along for part or all of that time. Fiona wrote in our programme that ‘astronomers will be on hand at the museum with sun filtered telescopes and viewing glasses’ (we have one telescope at the museum and some viewing glasses).

Like buses which if you wait for one another comes along at once the monthly meeting of our society takes place the following evening, Tuesday November 12th. 7pm.  Our speaker is Dr Alan Walker from Edinburgh whose subject is “From James Clarke Maxwell to Higgs” (Higgs refers to the theoretical physicist whose discovery of the famous boson was discovered by Cerne, and not Ken Higgs, the late opening fast bowler for Lancashire and England) Get a grip Steven, you’re losing the plot!! Seriously, though, an evening not to be missed as the speaker is both a friend and former colleague of Professor Higgs.

Steven (secretary)


We did glimpse the transit and here is the Dumfries Museum’s telescope equipped for observing from the southwest of Scotland.

Transit of Mercury Observing from Dumfries

Mark Toner (President)