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HPB Astronomy Theme Weeks

These Theme Weeks are held at Holiday Property Bond's Site at Biniorella in Mallorca. Note that you don't need to be a member of HPB in order to attend these weeks. The week will include fascinating talks, live stargazing sessions and a visit to the Observatory in Mallorca. You will also have time to relax and enjoy the island. The next Theme Week is scheduled for the week beginning 26th February 2018. If you prefer, you can join as a non participating member which means you can  attend the social events but not the talks. Please contact us if you are not an HPB member but would be interested in attending. If you are a member then book directly with HPB.

Below is a description of the first Theme Week held in Mallorca. Since then the following Theme Weeks have been held.

Mallorca from 20 - 25 February 2012.

Mallorca from 9 - 16 November, 2012.

Mallorca from 14 - 21 March, 2014.

Mallorca from 23 - 30 January, 2017.


The first ever HPB Astronomy Theme Week was held in Mallorca in February 2012. Nine people participated in the course with one member just joining in the social activities. A welcome dinner was held on the first night. Then, during the course of the week, members enjoyed five entertaining and fascinating talks on the Universe given by Valerie.  Michael also gave a talk entitled "The Space Shuttle - Success or Failure?".

The skies over Mallorca were clear for most of the week. The Mallorcan Observatory lent us two 3 inch telescopes for participants to use. One of the highlights of the course was an evening by the pool when Valerie gave a tour of the night sky with a laser pointer. The pool lights were switched off for the occasion. Then participants enjoyed views through a telescope from the balcony of one of the apartments. They couldn't have been more lucky with the planets Venus, Jupiter and Mars on display with a beautiful crescent New Moon illuminated by "Earthshine". 

The site Manager, Javier, also arranged a wonderful lunch at the Villa Italia in Porto Andratx. Both the food and wine were outstanding, particularly a 2005 Chardonnay from Navarre!

Finally a visit to the Observatory of Mallorca on Friday night was enjoyed by all. Participants were a  treated to a planetarium show followed by a tour of the Meteor exhibits and a visit to a replica of the Lunar Module. The climax was a chance to visit the "hubs" and look through the large telescopes available there.

The whole week was FUN. The talks were not too technical and no Mathematical Equations were involved! Participants went home feeling "over the Moon"! HPB are planning to run more of these events so do think about joining in!



Who among us has not looked up with wonder at the stars on a clear night and wondered what we are looking at? Well you need wonder no more since HPB is planning to run an Astronomy Theme Week at their site in Biniorella, Mallorca during the week beginning 26th February 2018.

The presenter for the week will be Valerie Calderbank assisted by her scientist husband, Dr. Michael Calderbank. Valerie is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and an experienced international presenter and cruise ship lecturer.

The week will include six 45 minute fully illustrated talks presented by Valerie. The talks are suitable both for those who have some knowledge of this subject already and also those who are completely new to it. The talks will be light-hearted, entertaining and not too technical but will include awe inspiring facts and stunning images.

The six talks are entitled: (1) “A Tour of the Universe” illustrated with video clips and images which will give you a whistle stop tour of the amazing universe we live in; (2) “Observing the Universe” will tell you what you can expect to see when you look up at the night sky from Earth; (3) “Myths and Legends of the Stars” explores how other cultures have viewed the night sky from the Aborigines to the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese; (4) “Exploring the Universe”  describes what equipment is available for amateurs to explore the universe, where some of the major professional observatories are located and what they have achieved, and also describes some of the satellites which are out there at the moment and what they are doing; (5) “How Do They Know?”  this talk answers the question "how do Astronomers know what they know?", how do they know that the Andromeda galaxy is 2.5 million light years away or that the universe is 13.84 billion years old or what the chemical composition of stars is? This is your chance to find out! (6) "The Big Bang”  is the final talk which will explain the creation of the Universe and how it subsequently evolved. The last talk also introduces the basics of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Theory.

If the skies are clear after sunset, Valerie and Michael will take you on a tour of the night sky with the aid of their laser pointers. A small telescope will also be available for you to look through. The highlight of the week will undoubtedly be a visit to the Observatori Astronomic de Mallorca (OAM) in the district of Costitx high in the centre of the island. This centre specialises in the tracking of near earth asteroids and has an exhibition area displaying a selection of meteorites. It also has a Planetarium show and a number of 15 inch telescopes. Weather permitting, you will get the chance to look through these telescopes.