The Night Sky was, perhaps, not a typical topic for a WI talk, but it transpires that we lucky ladies in Thropton live in an excellent area for star-gazing, and our speaker Ian Glendinning had photos to prove it.
We were treated to a dazzling array of one glorious astral display after another, accompanied by facts and figures, which informed and entertained us all.
Ian’s pictures have received national, even international, recognition, one winning a Northumberland National Park competition and another making the front page of the New York Times website.
We were surprised by how light his photos were, one might have thought they were taken in daylight, but the stars of our huge galaxy, the Milky Way, were clearly visible, providing a background to moon-bows, moon halos, and meteor showers. The lack of light pollution was the reason for the bright, clear scenes.
As an astronomer, Ian has a partially nocturnal way of life, which led to some amusing encounters with a fox at Barrowburn. He displayed charming photos of the canny creature, which he managed to tame and which often seemed to get the upper hand when it came to food distribution.
We were treated to stunning views of the Northern Lights, some from as far away as Iceland, but others from Hepple and Bamburgh, so with a little effort we can all get to see this amazing phenomenon.
Ian did end on a somewhat gloomy note. He informed us that humans will need to find a new home as ‘our’ sun will eventually have expanded enough to swallow up the Earth and, if that is not threat enough, the Andromeda Galaxy is on an inevitable collision course with our planet.
To alleviate the anxiety, Ian added that these events were not likely to occur in less than two billion years from the present; we were all much relieved.
Our formal meeting had been quite brief. A decision had been taken to collect contributions for our nearest food bank, we completed the annual Coins for Friendship collection, and held a ballot for members wishing to attend the Federation Centenary Party at Ulgham.
We were reminded to be nurturing plants and seedlings for our April plant sale, and encouraged to sign up for an April trip to Durham Cathedral.
Our next meeting on March 7 will feature Russian Revolutionary Porcelain. New members are always welcome.