Abernethy Star Camp was a small event set up for people who were not able to attend larger camps further afield organised by David Millar and Martyn Oswald, taking place from Friday 30th Sept. to Monday 3rd Oct. Nathan from Dundee Astronomical Society and I attended, and on Friday there were six tents.
The evening was rather overcast and very little observation was possible although several pictures were taken with mobiles. As the sky darkened the clouds remained and it became increasingly colder several antendees took advantage of the facilities in the pavilion. After a few drinks the less hardy of the group (Me!) decided it was not going to clear and retired for the night.
By two in the morning the sky was bright and clear and Orion could be seen rising above the trees in the East, and several people were busy observing.
During Saturday more people arrived and several large telescopes appeared. Visitors and local people were offered the chance to see the equipment and view the sun through several solar telescopes.
The planetarium operated by James Green, BSc (Hons), MInstP, FRAS and Steven Gray, FRAS., arrived as well and was enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.
As Saturday evening wore on the weather became less favourable but the clouds were not as dense as on Friday making observing reasonably good, so several observers were kept busy.
The best time for observing seemed to be from about 3am until dawn on Sunday morning.
Solar telescopes were taken out as more local investigated the site, the planetarium had a few shows and, as the day wore on, several tents were dismantled and campers disappeared.
Sunday evening proved to be the best night for observing, producing excellent conditions, and several people took advantage and were kept busy taking photos. Nathan was very helpful getting my camera settings sorted and I spent a good few hours experimenting with My DSLR photographing several images.
As there were only four tents left standing on Sunday evening two people decided that spending the night in the pavilion would be preferable to freezing in tents and both Nathan and I decided to join them as the seeing deteriorated. Once the tents were all dismantled the two who originally planned to sit it out in the pavilion decided to drive home overnight which left Nathan and myself.
When dawn broke we cleared away the rubbish and tidied the kitchen before making breakfast. David and Martyn Oswald who had been sleeping the night at Davids house arrived and between us we cleaned out the entire pavilion before we left for Dundee.
The event was well recieved by the public and campers alike and it seems likely that the camp will be repeated next year. I thoroughly enjoyed it apart from the wet feet and cold, but I fully intend to go next year.
Thanks to David Millar and Martyn Oswald, the Council who allowed us use of Powrie Park and the pavilion facilities and to Cosmos Planetarium which features fully immersive visual and graphics with 3 dimensional sound, and I recommend you visit them whenever you can.
Information on the planetarium can be found
For a slightly humerous and dreadfully sad tale of my experience it can be downloaded
The Milky Way taken on Friday/Saturday by Stuart McMurray on his moble 'phone
Orion early Saturday morning by Stuart McMurray on his moble 'phone
Two superb Dobsonian telescopes provided excellent views of the night sky
My first image of the night sky
There were some 20 tents onsite on Saturday night
My image of Pleiades....
.... and the Plough asterism