Category: Stargazing

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Scotland from space

On the 25th February 2018 the International Space Station took an absolutely stunning photo of Scotland from space.  While you need to tilt your head (or your screen) sideways a bit to align it with the usual map view of the country, you can make out individual mountain peaks, highlighted in the snow. At the time, the country was gripped in a period of … Read More Scotland from space

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Chasing the ‘super blue blood moon’

For the first time since 1982 this week we were treated to the spectacle of a ‘super blue blood moon’.  It was a chance to see the convergence of three rare events: a supermoon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse, which turns the moon a blood coloured orangey-red. A supermoon is when there’s a full moon that happens when the moon is … Read More Chasing the ‘super blue blood moon’

Nature’s fireworks

Streaking at break-neck speed across the sky, it’s easy to miss a meteor.  Blink and they’re gone. For a brief instant a speck of dust emitted from the Swift-Tuttle comet enters the Earth’s atmosphere.  It’s travelling at 37 miles (59 km) per second.  At this incredible speed the comet debris heats up the air around it, generating a burst of light as it hurtles … Read More Nature’s fireworks

Where are Scotland’s dark skies?

Can you remember the time you first looked up at the sky and were just amazed at the number of stars ?  I’m not talking about seeing a few dazzling stars on a cloudless night but about a star-studded panorama of the Milky Way that seems to reach right down to ground level.  In a really dark sky we could see as many as … Read More Where are Scotland’s dark skies?

We’re entering solar minimum

  If you have an interest in aurora watching you may have heard that we’re entering solar minimum: but what does this mean ? The sun doesn’t provide a constant stream of energy but exhibits phases of higher and lower intensity.  It tends to operate on an 11-year cycle and it is this cycle which has a significant bearing on the chances of seeing an … Read More We’re entering solar minimum

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Top 10 essential apps for the Outdoors

A smartphone is an essential item of kit these days when you’re out for an adventure.  Enabled by a huge number of apps your phone is not only a camera, GPS, notebook, torch, musicplayer … but can also give you a map, weather forecast, emergency beacon, guide to nature and so much more. I’ve selected ten essential apps for the outdoors, a guide to … Read More Top 10 essential apps for the Outdoors

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Beinn Trilleachan wild camp

      Sometimes the planning pays off and it all comes together.  I’d been looking forward to a winter’s wild camp – camped on snow with a star-filled sky – for perhaps a year or two.  Beinn Trilleachan, at the head of Loch Etive, was to tick all of these boxes. This was a quick 24-hour trip, leaving home Saturday lunchtime and back in time for lunch … Read More Beinn Trilleachan wild camp

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Dancing lights over Scotland

Wednesday evening’s showing of the northern lights turned out to be one of the most impressive I’ve seen, being seen across Scotland, northern England and Wales. I hadn’t realised quite how strong the aurora might be.  I’d just watched the Bake Off final on TV (required family viewing in our household) before I checked the Solar Monitor app on my phone and looked out … Read More Dancing lights over Scotland

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An unexpected light show

Just when I’d been away walking for three days in the Lake District and was looking forward to catching up on my sleep I received various alerts mid-afternoon indicating a moderate solar storm was in progress.  Oh well, you can’t be too choosy when these things happen …  By just after 9pm it was fully dark and sure enough a test shot looking north … Read More An unexpected light show

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A night out with the stars

  Inspired by those wonderful night time photos of the milky way or meteors streaking across the sky I headed out for a night with the stars. I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to knowing how to properly use a camera.  Sure, I’m a dab hand with the various auto settings and am comfortable messing about ‘off piste’ with manual controls, but … Read More A night out with the stars

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Seeing the northern lights in August

Chasing the northern lights from the UK is a fickle business.  The impressive displays of lights overhead – the photos you normally see posted up from Alaska, Northern Canada or Northern Scandinavia – are rarely seen at lower latitudes.  Most of the time a diffuse auroral glow is about the best we get to see here in Central Scotland.  But I was lucky to … Read More Seeing the northern lights in August

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Shooting stars at the Devil’s Beeftub

“The Devil’s Bathtub, surely ?”, I said. “A tub to keep beef in ?“, my son offered, optimistically. It was while pondering the curious origins** of the dramatic 500-foot hollow in the hills above the small town of Moffat that we pulled up on the roadside.  We found a spot just where the boundaries of South Lanarkshire, Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders meet: quiet … Read More Shooting stars at the Devil’s Beeftub