Astronomy enthusiasts are in for a treat as a series of outdoor events at Castle Semple and Muirshiel country parks are set to take place.

Kicking off on January 22, the first event will offer stargazers a view of the moon, nearing its full phase, and on February 12, the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Pleiades Star Cluster will be in sight.

John Pressly, science curator at Paisley Museum, who will lead the events, said: "The night skies above Castle Semple and Muirshiel are amongst the darkest in Renfrewshire, making them the ideal location to view the wonders of the universe free from the worst effects of light pollution.

“To be able to stand under a sky filled with stars is to experience nature at its finest and is guaranteed to instil a sense of awe at the vastness of the cosmos.

“These stargazing sessions will help to bring that universe a little bit closer to all who attend.”

The Gazette: The events will take place at at Castle Semple and Muirshiel Country Parks

Only visible for a few weeks each year, Mercury will be under the spotlight on 18 March, as well as a pass by of the International Space Station, a First Quarter Moon and Jupiter.

The outdoor events, aimed at those aged eight and above, will take place outdoors. Attendees are encouraged to gear up accordingly, ensuring they stay warm and wear sturdy footwear.

Councillor Andy Steel, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Regeneration Policy Board, said: "It’s fantastic that we have such an incredible view of the night sky in Lochwinnoch and it will be brilliant for people of all ages to have the chance to be guided through the night sky and its wonders.

The Gazette:

“With the chance to see as far as Jupiter and the International Space Station, I’m sure it will inspire many astronomers of the future, as well as giving amateur stargazers the chance to see the planets and constellations as they may not have seen them before.

"I’m sure tickets will go quickly so get in touch with the team and secure your place soon, it’s going to be a great series of events."

The Gazette: on February 12, the Andromeda Galaxy will be in sight

Tickets priced at £5 per person can be bought at Castle Semple visitor centre from 10am to 4pm, or by sending an email to the Countryside Rangers at

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