On Saturday 17th November we hosted our first big Callander’s Landscape event as a part of our Dark Skies project – an evening of stargazing at McLaren Leisure Centre.

We anticipated that the event would be popular but we were blown away by the support from the community, with well over 250 people attending.

The event was aimed at local families and there was a variety of indoor and outdoor activities for all ages to enjoy.

Outside on the rugby field we had lots of local astronomy experts on hand with various telescopes and binoculars so that people could see the moon and the stars up close. It was a crisp and clear autumn evening, so there were perfect conditions for a night of star gazing. Some lucky star gazers even saw Mars. It was brilliant to see so many people outside enjoying great views of Callander’s night sky.

Stargazing out on the rugby field

Inside the sports hall was bustling with activity. The immersive planetarium was very popular and all six shows were full to the brim. The planetarium shows started with participants being blasted into space to see the space station, followed by some great views of the stars in the night sky. The virtual reality headsets also allowed people to experience the vastness of space and our stars.

One of my favourite activities was the dress up space suits. It was great watching the children pose alongside the image of Tim Peak. I particularly enjoyed watching our wannabe astronauts flossing and doing the moon walk!

All dressed up!

There were also plenty of opportunities for people to learn more about our sky and stars by taking part in our family challenges and or listening to the various presentations provided by the Stirling Astronomical Society and the Callander and West Perthshire U3A Astronomy Group. The ‘Losing the Dark’ presentation was particularly interesting as it highlighted just how much light pollution in populated areas can impact on our views of the night sky.

The event was a great success and feedback was overwhelming positive. One attendee described the event in three words as “Epic, awesome and cosmic”.

Thanks to everyone who contributed and supported the event including:

  • Callander and West Perthshire U3A Astronomy Group
  • Stirling Astronomical Society
  • Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Ranger Service and Volunteer Rangers
  • Callander Primary School Astronomy Club
  • McLaren Leisure
  • Cosmos Planetarium
  • Stirling Council
  • Heritage Lottery Fund

Get involved in Dark Skies

As part of Callander’s Landscape Dark Skies project, we are looking for volunteers to help us audit the night sky in the New Year. We want to identify and map where the best and most accessible places are for observing the night sky in and around Callander.

Full training will be provided and individuals, families, or groups are all welcome to get involved. If you’re interested in finding out more about this opportunity, please contact Julie on julie.wilson@lochlomond-trossachs.org or 01389 727 723.