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Astronomer Royal for Scotland

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Professor John C. Brown

10th Astronomer Royal for Scotland

News & Events

MARCH 9, 2013 in Edinburgh: "LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE"

A day of FREE talks & discussion by eminent experts for the general public (ages 8 and up).
Unticketed, but space limited. Come early to avoid disappointment



20thMay 2012: Glenelg Scotland celebrates the approach of the Curiosity Rover to Glenelg on Mars

The community of Glenelg in the Scottish Highlands has twinned itself with Glenelg on Mars.

Space, Stars, Mars

Report on BBC Website:


Report on STV Website:



250th Anniversary of the Regius Chair of Astronomy

Exhibition in the Hunterian Museum to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Regius Chair of Astromomy at Glasgow University. Artifacts and 8 Posters: Alexander Wilson, the first Regius Professor of Astronomy; all 10 Regius Professors; Astronomy in Scotland - past and present.

Alexander Wilson

Alexander Wilson, first Regius Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow University (1760-1784)

HunterianJohn Brown and James Babington-Smith at the Exhibition


Three of the Posters



International Year of Astronomy: Primary Schools Constellation Project


Mighty Mouse Rules the Stars at the Glasgow Science Centre!

Star prize for young designer of Scotland’s New Constellation was presented by Poet Laureate Liz Lochead. The ceremony, took place under the stars of Scotland’s finest Planetarium at the Glasgow Science centre June 30th 2009


Winner:‘Wee Sleekit Beastie ‘ by Laura Doliczny, age 11 from Dalmeny Primary School
Scotland’s New Constellation for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 was chosen last week.
From over 200 entries, ‘Ode to a Mouse’ or ‘Wee Sleekit Beastie ‘ by Laura Doliczny, age 11 from Dalmeny Primary School was selected as the winning design. The giant mouse will be projected digitally in the planetarium dome and will cover the whole sky. 2nd Prize was given to Laura Runciman, Age 9, Lauder Primary School, 3rd Prize was shared between Abdur Rehman Desai, Age 11, Glendale Primary School, and Ruby Partridge, Age 12, Broadford Primary School. Their designs will also be shown at the event.
The Astronomer Royal for Scotland will give a short introduction to the project and Liz Lochead will recite her poem ‘From a Mouse’.

The Scotland Wide Constellation Project is one of many exciting projects worldwide celebrating the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Eight Schools from all over Scotland have taken part in the
Constellation Project to create a new constellation for IYA 2009. Each school was linked to an important astronomy site and they selected a star whose distance in light years corresponds to the age of the site.
As well as choosing their school star they enjoyed two days of workshops with a planetarium show, magic and art workshops led by Professor John Brown (Astronomer Royal for Scotland) and artist Gill Russell. The 8 stars were linked to form the new constellation and a competition run to create a design.

For more information contact :
Project manager and artist Gill Russell on 07811 458066
Professor John Brown on 07976 270904 or
2nd Prize: Laura Runciman, Age 9, Lauder Primary School
3rd Prize (equal): Abdur Rehman Desai, Age 11, Glendale Primary School
Additional Information
The distances in space are so vast that the the light we see from the stars takes years or thousands of years to cross the vast distances in space to our eyes. So when welook at the stars we are looking back in time.
For example, our youngest site the Mills Observatory ( built in 1935), was linked to Coupar Angus Primary school . They chose Aldeberan, a star that is around 65 light years away so the light we see from Aldeberan today left around the time the Mills Observatory was built.
Orkney schools - Sanday and Stronsay, are linked to Maeshowe, which is the oldest site and was built around 5000 years ago. They chose the Double Cluster in Perseus, an object that is thousands of light years away and whose light we see left around the time Maeshowe was built!
3rd Prize (equal): Ruby Partridge, Age 12, Broadford Primary School  
Pictures and reports from some of the schools involved in the Project
Dalmeny Primary School
Lauder Primary School

Sanday and Stronsay Primary Schools


Some Past Events

Saturday 18th April 2009: International Year of Astronomy: Edinburgh Science Festival

IYA Programme

Photos from the Ceilidh


Occultation of Venus: 1st December 2008, Fife: Dr James C Brown

Photographed from Crossford, Fife, UK at 17.13 by Dr James C Brown. This photo also includes Jupiter plus one of its moons. (Panasonic FZ50 on a tripod with 1 second exposure at F3.7 at 100 ISO)
occultation of venus Dr James Brown


Occultation of Venus: 1st December 2008, Glasgow: Dr Margaret Brown

occultation of venus occultation of Venus


Glasgow University Observatory marks 250th anniversary: 2007


Holst Planet Suite

BBC Scotland:20th September 2007

Introduction by Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland


The Sky at Night September 2007

Black Holes and Black Magic

Sky at Night recording August 2007

Recording 'The Sky at Night' , broadcast on
Sunday night /Monday morning (00.40) 2nd/3rd September

British Astronomical Association ‘Out of London’ Meeting

31st August to 2nd September, 2007

Astronomers from all over the world will be heading to Glasgow for the British Astronomical Association ‘Out of London’ Meeting, which is being hosted by the Astronomical Society of Glasgow from 31st August to 2nd September, 2007.

The weekend starts with a Civic Reception, in the City Chambers, George Square, Glasgow G2 1DU, hosted by the Lord Provost on Friday evening. Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, and Dr David Clarke the former Director of Glasgow University’s Observatories will be talking about astronomy in Glasgow past and present. It is interesting to note that the foundation stone of the Macfarlane Observatory, Glasgow’s first observatory was laid on the 17th August 1757, virtually 250 years ago to the day.

Opening of the The Jim Savage-Lowden Observatory, Culloden. 2008
Highlands Astronomical Society


Opening the Galloway Forest Observatory near Wigtown 2007

Wigtownshire Astronomical Society (now Galloway Forest Astronomical Society )

wigtown 3
wigtown wigtown

(Photos: Jim Logan, M Brown)

Shetland Astronomical Society