posted 25 Sep 2015, 07:26 by Tony Jenks   [ updated 25 Sep 2015, 07:34 ]



 The Aurora Festival is a weekend event which has been designed for those with an interest in the night sky to not only hunt for, but learn about and celebrate everything to do with the Northern Lights – from its creation, to how it has shaped life across the globe.

Thought to be the first ever festival

dedicated to the Northern Lights!

 With a packed itinerary created by Aurora travel experts at Off the Map Travel, there has been plenty of time set aside to gaze skyward to marvel at the spectacular star filled night sky and, hopefully, vivid Aurora. As part of your evening activities, world renowned Aurora photographer, Chad Blakely, will also teach you how to photograph the Aurora leaving you with a memento of your time at the festival. 

Hosted in Bjorkliden, Northern Sweden, from
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th, January 2016

With evening excursions dedicated to experiencing the Northern Lights, the day will bring together some of the best minds in Space Physics, Aurora Forecasting, Space Tourism, Aurora Photography and Arctic Adventure for talks, experiments and Aurora based activities to help guests really understand the Northern Lights.

 Experts already confirmed to speak at the event include:

Alexander Biebricher, Space Physicist (NAROM): Alexander is a physicist, teacher and science communicator at the Norwegian Centre for Space-related Education and Spaceship Aurora at the Andøya Space Center in Norway. After 10 years in research, his focus has shifted towards science outreach.

Chad Blakley, world renowned Aurora Photographer (Lights Over Lapland): Formerly a professional photographer in the US, Chad moved to Abisko a spent thousands of hours outside photographing the star-filled skies, turning his passion into a business, Lights Over Lapland.

Robert Svendsen, Aurora Tourisum (Spaceship Aurora): A manager of the Spaceship Auora – an activity center linked to Andøya Space Center, Robert has been involved in using innovative experiments and visual aids to teach guests about the Northern lights, get more knowledge of the origin and effect on our planet, and how the Northern lights are reflected in Scandinavian history and culture.

Anders Bergwall, Arctic Expert (Arctic Guides): Founder of Arctic Guides, Anders is one of the first internationally certified UIAGM/IFMGA mountain guides in Sweden, and is one of the founders of the Swedish mountain guide organisation, SBO. Anders will be taking guests on a polar adventure.


Also involved are leaders in Aurora forecasting joining via video conference to help teach guests about Aurora forecasting; the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (Optical Auroral Research Group) in Kiruna helping guests get a deeper understanding behind the Aurora; and government advisors on Space Tourism to show how close we are to ‘package holidays’ into our upper atmosphere and beyond. 

A three day two night trip to The Aurora Festival in Bijorkliden, Northern Sweden, with Off the Map Travel ( costs from £899, not including flights. This includes full board accommodation in four star accommodation; a welcome (invite only) reception, expert talks throughout the weekend with world class speakers; an excursion to Sweden’s highest mountain lodge; an expert Aurora photography course; an Arctic and Sami experience at the Aurora Village. Additional nights and activities can be added at an additional cost. 

The first 10 guests will also receive a £150 per person discount when they book. 

To find out more:

Web: or

Call: +44 (0) 800 566 8901


PyConUK (Python conference)

posted 18 Aug 2015, 01:18 by Tony Jenks

PyConUK (Python conference) is being held locally at the The TechnoCentre, Coventry University, Technology Park, Puma Way, Coventry CV1 2TT, from Friday 18th - Monday
21st September 2015.

This year's conference has a greater science content and specifically has a Science Track, which includes astronomy related items and a Keynote from Simon Sheridan, a developer on the Ptolemy instrument aboard the Rosetta space mission to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, '67P'. See:

The conference is for people of all levels and is about a lot more than just Python. It's a great opportunity to learn and enhance your science, technical and computing knowledge and skills and meet many interesting people. There is an Education Track too,, and also a chance to do some electronics and play with the BBC MicroBit ahead of its official release!

The Science Track tickets are just £99, that includes breakfast and lunch too, they are extremely good value for what you get.

If you still do not have a clue what this is all about; Python is a computer programming language, so called because the original developer of the language, Guido van Rossum, was a Monty Python fan - see

Prestigious Award for CAWAS member

posted 17 Dec 2014, 02:20 by Tony Jenks   [ updated 18 Dec 2014, 12:42 ]

A young amateur astronomer from Coventry has won a prestigious award for his star-gazing talents.
Cameron Watson, 16, won the British Astronomical Association’s most recently instituted award - The Sir Patrick Moore Prize. The prize was named after the astronomer who hosted the BBC programme The Sky At Night for 55 years and who died in 2012. The prize is awarded to individuals for one or more areas of activity which reflect’s Sir Patrick’s life, including outstanding observational work by a member or members under 21 years of age, a contribution to the understanding of the history of astronomy or the encouragement of a public interest in astronomy.
Cameron was awarded the prize, consisting of a certificate and monetary award by Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal.
Cameron became fascinated with astronomy after his grandmother introduced him to the subject three years ago and is now a member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Astronomical Society.
Click the image file, Cameron.JPG below, for a photo of Cameron receiving his prize

Astroforfun Group

posted 14 Nov 2013, 09:55 by Tony Jenks   [ updated 14 Nov 2013, 09:57 ]

A new group of casual observers called 'Astroforfun' has been set up and they occasionally meet at the Lunt Fort, Baginton - see

Their contact details are on the website but not easy to spot. Their contact links are the little icons on the lower left of their home page.

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