Aspiring astronomers are being invited to see the wonders of the night sky in Lochwinnoch as a series of outdoor events take place at the Castle Semple and Muirshiel Country Parks.
Stargazers can expect to see close ups of the Moon, Jupiter, far-away galaxies, constellations and even the International Space Station as they are guided through the skies at three events to start the New Year.
The event on 22 January will focus on the Moon which will be a few days away from being full, while on 12 February the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Pleiades Star Cluster will be in sight – although Jupiter will be the main attraction if skies are clear.
Only visible for a few weeks each year, Mercury will be under the spotlight on 18 March, as well as a pass by of the International Space Station, a First Quarter Moon and Jupiter.
Paisley Museum’s Science Curator John Pressly will lead the events and is looking forward to speaking to local people about what they can see in the night sky.
John said: “The night skies above Castle Semple and Muirshiel are amongst the darkest in Renfrewshire, making them the ideal location to view the wonders of the universe free from the worst-effects of light pollution.
“To be able to stand under a sky filled with stars is to experience nature at its finest and is guaranteed to instil a sense of awe at the vastness of the cosmos.
“These stargazing sessions will help to bring that universe a little bit closer to all who attend.”
The events are aimed at ages 8 and up and, weather permitting, will take place outdoors so attendees are encouraged to wrap up warm and wear study footwear.
Tickets cost £5 per person and can be purchased from Castle Semple visitor centre between 10am and 4pm or by emailing the Countryside Rangers on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Andy Steel, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Regeneration Policy Board, said: “It’s fantastic that we have such an incredible view of the night sky in Lochwinnoch and it will be brilliant for people of all ages to have the chance to be guided through the night sky and its wonders.
“With the chance to see as far as Jupiter and the International Space Station, I’m sure it will inspire many astronomers of the future, as well as giving amateur stargazers the chance to see the planets and constellations as they may not have seen them before.
“I’m sure tickets will go quickly so get in touch with the team and secure your place soon, it’s going to be a great series of events.”
For more information, visit www.paisley.is.