Meeting Dates for 2023/24
Society meetings are usually held on the first Friday of each month (except August) at 7:30pm light refreshments are available.
Entry free for members £3.00 per person for visitors
Meetings and Events
Friday 5th January 2024 19:30 AGM and Main Talk Neil Phillipson "Hubble - the $6billion telescope" From the original idea, through its development and deployment, and finally skirting disaster to become one of the most productive science platforms ever created - this is the story of the 20th Century's most ambitious astronomy project and the quantum leap in knowledge it has given and continues to give us even now.
Friday 2nd. February 2024 19:30 Main Talk TBA
Friday 1st March 2024 19:30 Main Talk Michael Foulkes "Transit Phenomena"
This talk discusses the most famous of transit events, I.e transits of Mercury and Venus. It looks at the history of Venus transits and the attempts to use these events to measure the distance between the Earth to the Sun. It also discusses other types of transit phenomena including how transits have been used to find exo planets.
Michael is the Director of the BAA Saturn, Uranus and Neptune Section.
Friday 5th April 2024 19:30 Main Talk Ian Smith “Imaging Planetary Nebulae” during which I’ll describe my take on narrow band imaging of Planetary Nebula, what they are and why they are interesting to astronomers both pro and amateur. That will lead us into the kind of equipment and techniques best suited to this kind of imaging followed by some pictures.
I’ve been an amateur astronomer for several decades and used to be chairman of the Abingdon Astronomical Society for many years. My own astronomical interests started with planetary observing and then imaging. Then when the planets effectively disappeared from UK skies, I turned to imaging PNe, which I’ve now been doing now for the last 6 years or so.
Friday 3rd May 2024 19:30 Main Talk Julian Onions Observing using the Isaac Newton Telescope, You just press the button, right? An observing trip to the Isaac Newton telescope. I got a chance to do some observing with the 2.5 m Isaac Newton telescope, should be straightforward? Just click and point? Not quite! So what does it actually take to set up and use a professional telescope? How do you plan and execute an observing run?
Julian has always had an interest in astronomy, and after many years as an amateur studied for a Phd in astrophysics at the University of Nottingham. There he studies computer models of galaxy formation using some of the biggest computers in the world, building model universes using mostly dark matter. He also helps out with undergraduate teaching and various outreach activities.
Friday 7th June 2024 19:30 Main Talk William Joyce completes and expands on his talk of last February on the "
Scientific Exploration of the Moon
Several phases of lunar exploration have taken place over the last century, and a new phase is imminent. This discussion presents some highlights and key events which informed our current knowledge of the Moon, recent scientific results and how these have influenced our understanding of lunar origin and evolution, and a glimpse of what the near future may hold. A variety of lunar features are described along with geological exploration of the surface from Apollo landings and by remote sensing from orbit, presenting a modern summary of current lunar science.
With an astrophysics degree, William has worked in space research at Leicester university with Earth remote sensing satellite instruments and in industry in laboratories, space software engineering and later in aerospace systems engineering. William changed career in the mid 2000's and obtained a degree in Earth and Planetary science and followed this with university teaching and astronomy work (and teaching at Herstmonceux observatory). Currently he is studying for a PhD and gives public talks on astronomy and planetary science.
Friday 7th July 2023 19:30 Main Talk John Mallett FRAS. “Measuring the brightness of stars, planets and supernova to enable more accurate measurements” Measuring the brightness of stars, planets and supernova are key to understanding the processes of evolving astronomical systems. We will look at the photometric techniques in astronomy that have enabled us to improve the accuracy of measurements over the past 20 years. I will use our prior research as an example of the improvements.
No Meeting in August
Friday 1st September 2023 19:30 Main Talk Andrew Ritchie Green BSc (Hons) FRAS via Zoom at the planetarium. “One Small Step” The Apollo missions to the moon are considered to be human kinds greatest achievement and landing people on the moon the culmination of the Space Race between the USA and Soviet Union. The story of how they got there, and the sacrifices made after Kennedy set the goal of landing in the moon in 1962 is interesting as well. How a NAZI became the doyen of the USA, Astronauts lost, musical interludes and ultimate success We then go to the conspiracy theorist who say they never went to the moon.
Andy has met over 100 astronauts and cosmonauts including Neil Armstrong, he’s met 8 of the 12 men who walked on the moon including his good friend Charlie Duke of Apollo 16 so he has an insight into the missions on a personal level.
Friday 6th October 2023 19:30 Main Talk Dr Mike Leggett FRAS FBIS via Zoom at the planetarium. “Astronomy in the ancient world”. Beginning with a brief summary of archaeoastronomy, this talk is an overview of the astronomers and astronomical knowledge in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World (including the Great Library at Alexandria). There are some great names along the way, including Ptolemy, Aristotle, Hipparchus, Eratosthenes, Pythagoras and Aristarchus.
Friday 1st November 2024 19:30 Main Talk Ian Sharp FRAS topic tbc. Ian has a background in physics, electronics and programming. He is a very enthusiastic, active member of the Altair Group which is currently carrying out research into the detection of exoplanets in PCEB binary systems using Eclipse Time Variations (ETVs). The most recent published paper by the Group is:
Eclipse timing variations in post-common envelope binaries: Are they a reliable indicator of circumbinary companions?
Friday 1st December 2023 19:30 Main Talk Professor Mike Hardcastle Director, Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire via Zoom at the planetarium. “Active Galaxies” Radio galaxies and radio-loud quasars are active galaxies characterized by radio emission driven by jets on scales from pc to Mpc. The characteristic radio emission is synchrotron emission: that is, it indicates the presence of magnetic fields and highly relativistic electrons and/or positrons. Synchrotron emission may be seen in other wavebands, and this enabled the detection of the first radio galaxy jet before the advent of radio astronomy (Curtis) but it was only with the capabilities of radio interferometry (Ryle) that it became possible to detect and image these objects in detail and in large numbers. As Mike will discuss in more detail, radio observations remain key to an understanding of active galaxies’ origins, dynamics and energetics.
Observing Events weather permitting