Peebles star party wows space fans

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Last month’s Star Party and Planetarium Night at Kingsland Primary School in Peebles was mobbed by enthusiasts.

Hosts Peebles Astronomy Group organised the evening which was focused on planet Jupiter, currently in its best position for viewing in about 12 years. The event was part of National Astronomy Week, but was also an opportunity to introduce to locals to astronomy and the recently-formed Peebles Astronomy Group, said organiser Tom Johnston.

Also the group’s coordinator, Mr Johnston said: “We’re completely overwhelmed by the level of enthusiasm and support we’ve received for this event. There is clearly a huge public interest in the hobby here in Peebles and the wider Borders.

“The StarLab mobile planetarium, part of the Royal Observatory’s outreach programme, was a tremendous hit and spaces inside the dome were at an absolute premium.”

The 25 minute shows gave guests a tour of the night sky throughout the seasons and explained mythology behind the different constellations.

Local astronomers showed telescopes and there were presentations by Mike Alexander from the Galloway Astronomy Centre, John Bonsor of the Scottish Aeronautics & Rocketry Association and a comet-making demonstration by Mr Johnston and Ben Durkin from the Peebles Astronomy Group.

Youngsters painted their own model of Jupiter, made posters about the planet, or tested their astronomical knowledge in a computer-based quiz. Astronomy group member, Councillor Graham Garvie, opened the event.