Autumn Weekend Meeting – A Sun and its Solar System

Friday 9th Sep 2022, Saturday 10th Sep 2022, Sunday 11th Sep 2022

Our thanks to Helen Williamson and Lorna Leil of UHI Moray, who at the last minute found a solution to recording the Saturday lectures. Please note that while the sound is good for most of the speakers, it can be difficult to hear the questions asked after the presentations. We left the Q&A as the presenters responses are audible. See below schedule for the links to the Saturday talks on YouTube. We expect to add a copy of John Mason’s Friday evening talk in the coming days. It requires extra work as it was not recorded by the venue IT.

The BAA 2022 Autumn Weekend is on the topic of ‘A Sun and it’s Solar System’. It is being held in Moray, Scotland from 9th to 11th September. Our thanks to SIGMA, the Moray Astronomical Club for hosting this meeting.

Members of the BAA, Affiliated Societies and members of SIGMA are entitled to a 25% discount on the ticket price (not including lunch). The discount code can be viewed by logged in members by following this link. The code will also be in the BAA Journal and monthly Newsletter.

Booking via Eventbrite will open at 8am on Wednesday 1st June: (click the “enter promo code” link in the top left after pressing the tickets button to receive the discount)

Unfortunately we will not be able to live stream this meeting and we do not expect there to be a recording.

Aurora by Alan Tough
Aurora by Alan Tough

Preliminary schedule with approximate timings

Friday 19:00 until 21:30
Friday evening lecture will be given by Dr John Mason (recording to follow)

Saturday Doors 10:00 until 18:00
Introduction and the award of the Walter Goodacre Medal to Lyn Smith (
Dennis Buczynski – Non Professional Comet Observing and Discovery Today (
Lyn Smith – Our Red Sun (
Prof Clare Parnell – Our Magnetic Sun and it’s Influence Across the Solar System (
Pete Sherman & Tim Schroder – Sigma, Moray’s Astronomy Club (
Sandra Brantingham – Noctilucent Clouds, The Summer Job (
Paul Abel – Venus 2022-2023. (
Nick James – Monitoring the night sky with video cameras (

Sunday – Optional Glen Grant Distillery Trip 11:00 to 13:00

An opportunity to join a guided tour around Elgin and possible a distillery organised by members of our host society.

Tour starts at 11:00 and will finish at 13:00 (includes time for a walk in the garden after the tour).

Some members of SIGMA have kindly offered to take us to the distillery as it is a bit out from Elgin. The Glen Grant distillery and gardens (


  • Distillery, Garden and two tastings £7.50 per person. NB £2.00 you get discount voucher redeemable against the purchase of a 70cl bottle of whisky in the Gift Shop.
  • Garden and two tastings without the distillery tour £5.50 per person
  • Garden only is free.

Numbers are limited to 10 people per tour so book early if you are interested in going on this trip. When you book we will ask if you will need a lift so we can let the members of SIGMA know.

For those who need to get away in the morning but have a bit of time to look round in Elgin there are lots of historical and architectural wonders to see. A few are listed below.

  • Elgin Cathedral
  • Duffus Castle Gallery
  • The Biblical Gardens
  • Elgin Museum
  • Lady Hill Castle

Every person who comes on the day will be entered into a raffle.

Denis Buczynski Comet Observing talk poster
Denis Buczynski Comet Observing talk poster

About SIGMA, the Moray Astronomical Club

The society was set up in the summer of 2000 and the inaugural meeting took place at Gordonstoun School on Friday 2nd June 2000. SIGMA’s main aims are to make astronomy accessible to anyone and everyone who is interested, from the highly skilled to the completely “unknowledgeable”! SIGMA meets on the first Friday of every month at 7.30pm, at Lhanbryde Community Centre near Elgin. SIGMA is lucky enough to have a Dark sky observing site at Easterton Airfield, not far from Elgin. Where observing sessions are held on Friday and Saturday nights.

Members of SIGMA range from the complete beginner to those that have a wealth of experience in various aspects of astronomy and are always keen to share their knowledge with others. There have been a host of renowned speakers in the past, including Professor John Brown, Neil Bone from Astronomy Now, Professor Martin Hendry from University of Glasgow, Brian Kelly and Dr Dave Gavine. We continually aim to make our meetings as diverse and interesting as possible and regularly hold public observing sessions, where members of the public are invited to come along to our dark site with SIGMA members on hand to guide you through the night sky.

Our Magnetic Sun and it’s Influence Across the Solar System – Prof Clare Parnell

The Sun’s magnetic field is not only complex and intricate but behaves highly dynamically. It provides the energy to heat the Sun’s outer atmosphere known as the corona, and also power the massive solar eruptions, called solar flares and coronal mass ejections, that have the potential to cause disruptions here on Earth. The Sun’s magnetic field extends out reaching the furthest reaches of our solar system dictating the direction of the tails of comets, interacting with the magnetic fields of other planets causing aurora as well as determining the boundary of the heliosphere.

Professor Clare Parnell has spent almost 3 decades studying the behaviour of magnetic plasmas with a specific focus on solar magnetic fields at the University of St Andrews. As a mother to two children, she is passionate about encouraging everyone to embrace science, look at the world and Universe around them and to learn about the wonders of what is out there.

Cover image of the Sun by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.

Book ticket using eventbrite, click here.


Moray College UHI, Moray Street, Elgin, Moray, IV30 1JJ

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