Annual General Meeting, Tuesday 10th May, 7pm, at Lochvale House, Georgetown.

Dear members,

The Dumfries Astronomy Society AGM will be held next Tuesday evening.

This will be our first face to face meeting in over two years because of the Covid pandemic. For these past two years, like many astronomy clubs, we had to hold meetings virtually, in our own case, using Zoom. There have been advantages in this as distance is no object to speakers and offers more possible choices of them. However, not being able to meet members of our society in our normal setting has also created challenges, and Zoom does not really lend itself to personal friendly interactions and fellowship.

Going forward, it will be important to decide what patterns for our monthly meetings we would like to adopt. Shall we go to meeting monthly at Lochvale House after a year of remote meetings, or is a mixed program of in person talks and Zoom sessions the best option?

Please do come. It’s your society and your views are important!



‘Solar Microscopes’

I’m sure a lot of members will think this is a typo for “telescopes”, but no, this is the title Professor Lyndsay Fletcher of the Physics and Astronomy department at Glasgow University has chosen for her talk to us on Tuesday 8th March. This is our final arranged talk of the season and it will be offered on Zoom at 7pm. Please give Lyndsay a good virtual turnout!


‘Measuring Distances in Space’

If you have ever wondered how astronomers decide how may light years away the stars and galaxies are this is certainly the talk for you!

David Ramshaw, from the Carlisle Astronomy Society, has chosen this subject for his talk to us on Tuesday 8th February, via Zoom, at 7pm.

(In the notices last time I suggested the possibility of arranging an observing night the week beginning 31st January, taking the first clear night. At the time of writing though the weather conditions have not been at all favourable with the week starting stormy and cloudy/rainy forecasts predicted most evenings. Can we look to arrange a time and venue at our meeting next Tuesday instead?)

Steven (Secretary)

January Talk and Possible Viewing Night

Happy New Year everyone!

Our talk this month, on Tuesday 11th January at 7pm, will be delivered by Professor Sheila Rowan of Glasgow University. Professor Rowan’s special research area is the detection of Gravitational Waves, and the title she has chosen is ‘Gravitational Waves in 2022 and a Forward Look’.

Our original plan was to resume meetings at the centre January through to March, but because of Covid concerns and the lead from The Scottish Government, we are continuing to host these on Zoom.

We still have dark skies for at least the next few months so let’s plan for another viewing night during the first week of February, (beginning Monday 31st January with the exception of Tuesday 1st), and go for the first one that’s clear. I’m aware that members live some distance apart (last time we met at Castle Corner, near Caerlaverock Castle), but perhaps another venue might be preferred? Please offer suggestions after Professor Rowan has concluded her talk on 11th January.


‘An Astronomer in Antarctica’

We are fortunate to have as our talk on Tuesday 14th December, at 7.00pm, Jonathan Shanklin, whose professional career has involved working in British science in the Antarctic and the South Pole.

One of the problems of astronomy, as we all know, is light and atmospheric pollution (although here in Dumfries and Galloway we are quite fortunate). It must be amazing in Antarctica, the most pristine environment on earth, to look up at the night sky and see so much more detail, and Jonathan will surely be speaking about the unique experience of this.

Wishing all members a very happy Christmas and New Year. In 2022 we plan, (Covid developments permitting), to have our next 3 talks at Lochvale House, Georgetown. On The 11th January we look forward to Professor Sheila Rowan from the University of Glasgow giving us an update on her own area of expertise, Gravitational Wave Detection.



‘The Wonders of the Solar System’

Well we can’t all take a trip on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic or accompany Jeff Bezos on Blue Horizon either, but we can enjoy a ringside seat which will take us on a tour of the highlights of our solar system.

Paul Money takes this as his subject next Tuesday, 9th November at 7pm.

Don’t miss out, and remember to buy your popcorn beforehand!


‘The Red Sun’

This is the title chosen by our speaker for the evening of Tuesday 12th October at 7pm. Lyn Smith, our speaker, is the lead person for the solar astronomy section of FAS. The talk begins at 7pm and Mark will be sending out the Zoom link to our members. New members are always welcome so please ask Mark to send the link by email to anyone else you know who might be interested and lives locally.

Our first observing night took place on Monday 27th September at Castle Corner, near Glencaple, with several members attending. We were very fortunate to have dodged most of the showers and always to have some areas of the sky to train our telescopes on!

DAS Facebook Page

Hi all,

I tried to post the programme for the 2021-2022 season and this last post about our observing night on our Facebook page but I can no longer find a way of posting anything at all on the main page. The pen symbol simply takes you to writing a message rather than placing a post, it seems. Perhaps the real reason I can’t find this option is that Mr Zuckerberg is peeved that I rarely use Facebook nowadays?

Can anyone find a way to post the programme listed on our WordPress site and details of the observing night who is now more familiar with Facebook and its technology?

Thank you


Observing Night

As we don’t have a speaker’s meeting for September our plan was to go for an observing night on the first clear evening during the last week of the month. Looking at the forecast for next week however, it seems that only Monday evening (27th) is a possibility because there is a rain symbol on every other day. Monday 27th shows sunny intervals but annoyingly there are possibilities of showers later on in the evening!

Working on the premise that the forecast isn’t always exactly right let’s plan a meeting at Castle Corner (there is a fairly large car park there at the end of the B725 running south around 2 miles south of the village of Glencaple. Glencaple is about 5 miles south of Dumfries.)

Please phone me on 07563 564 695 around 7pm when we will have the latest forecast so we can see how the skies are looking and whether a meet up for around 8.30pm, say, is looking likely.

If we don’t get fair conditions for Monday evening there should be other opportunities for dark nights and clearer skies in the coming months now that we are past the equinox!


Programme for the 2021-2022 Season

We hope all members have had a good summer and it’s good now to be able to publish details of the new season.

September : No meeting on the 2nd Tuesday but an observing night is planned for an evening during the last week of the month depending on the weather. This will probably be at what is known as Castle Corner at the end of the Glencaple Road, Caerlaverock, but further details and information will follow. (The plan was originally to have a members’ meeting at Lochvale House but because of the high number of Covid cases in D and G presently, and the fact that members might be wary of planning an indoors meeting, we thought it best to go with an observing night this month instead.)

October 12th Lyn Smith (Director of the Solar Section of the British Astronomical Association) “The Red Sun”

November 9th Paul Money, “Wonders of the Solar System”

December 14th Jonathan Shanklin, “An Astronomer in Antarctica”

NB October, November and December talks all on Zoom!

January 11th, Professor Sheila Rowan (Glasgow University) “Gravitational Wave Detection – The Future”

February 8th David Ramshaw (Carlisle Club) “Measuring Distances in Space”

March 8th Professor Lyndsay Fletcher, “Solar Telescopes and their Science”

NB January, February and March are all planned as speaker visits to Lochvale House.

April Yuri’s Night (Still to be arranged)

If you know anyone interested in joining our Society please encourage them so that we can give them further details and information!

Steven (Secretary)

PS I indicated at the last AGM that after this year I will be taking a break as secretary so please consider if you may be prepared to take on this position for the 2022-2023 season.