Discover Kintyre’s dark skies – and launch a rocket on a Vitamin C pill

As part of BBC Stargazing Live 2013, the Kintyre Stargazers are hosting their own event from 3pm on Sunday 13th January at The Putechan Hotel at Bellochantuy on the west coast of the Kintyre peninsula.

This is a neat opportunity to experience the dark skies of Kintyre at this officially recognised Dark Sky Discovery Site.

The event will be led by astrophysiscist, Dr Alec MacKinnon, of Glasgow University.

There will be a range of activities throughout the afternoon for all ages.  The ‘Comet Club’ will be held in the Rock Room, where younger enthusiasts will be able to participate in various astro activties, virtual stargazing, cosmic face painting and more.

At around 3.30pm the group will be holding their home made rocket launch. Did we say they weren’t space cadets? They want to see the children encouraged  to make and decorate their own rockets to bring along on Sunday.

The rockets are fuelled by water and an effervescent Vitamin C tablet, so are safe to use  – although they do pack a punch.

In the BBC Stargazing event pack, they suggest using the plastic tube the Vitamin C tablets come in – but if they can be found, 35mm camera film tubs can also be used.  The organisers will provide the rocket fuel.

Here is a link to a video on rocket making – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00n6zk2 – so stand by for lift off. The first rocket to make it across to Islay on a Vitamin C tablet will be – an impossibility, But should Bellochantuy be worried?

There will be a programme of presenatikons at the event:

Weather permitting,  stargazing will be ongoing throughout the evening so please:

  • bring along your equipment,
  • dress up warmly
  • wear sensible footwear
  • mask any torches by rubber banding red paper over the lighthead.

And have fun.

This is the best time to see Northern Lights. Last year Oban and the Slate Isles had front row seats for a aurora norealis spectacular – so you never know.

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