Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Annual Astronomy Quiz

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The Admiral Smythe Trophy

The Conservatory, Papworth Everard

Wednesday, 19 May 2010, 7.30pm

The 2010 Astro Quiz will take place on Wednesday, 19th May, in the function room of “The Conservatory”, Chequers Lane, Papworth Everard. Teams from the Bedford, Nene Valley, Papworth and Sawtry clubs will be competing for the Admiral Smyth Trophy, and spectators and supporters are welcome to attend. The quiz will start promptly at 7:30pm.

The Admiral Smyth Trophy was presented by the Bedford Astronomical Society in 1991, the winners in that year. Its named after the astronomer William Henry Smyth (1788–1865), Gold Medallist of the Royal Astronomical Society. After retiring from the Navy, Smyth built and equipped an astronomical observatory at Bedford, where for many years he carried out observations of stars and published works on astronomy.

The Conservatory is Papworth’s only Pub, and serves a wide range of drinks, lagers and real ales, sourcing guest beers from local brewers. Check the map below for directions to The Conservatory.

Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Michel Mayor

Monday, 10 May 2010

The fourth Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled “The Amazing Diversity of Planetary Systems”, will be given by Professor Michel Mayor at 5pm on Monday 10th May in Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge.

Admission is free and there are no tickets or reserved seats – please just turn up on the day if you’d like to attend.

BAA Out of London Meeting

Monday, February 1st, 2010


Monday, 1 February 2010

The British Astronomical Association is holding an ‘Out of London Meeting’ on Saturday 24th April, in Shrewsbury.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Cosmic Bangs and Explosions’, and the cost for the day is £12 for BAA members and £15 for non-members, which includes refreshments and a buffet lunch.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Simon Chelkowski – “Gravitational Wave Astronomy”
  • Professor Walter Dehnen – “Dark Matter”
  • Dr Konstantinos Dimopoulos – “Where galaxies really come from”
  • Dr Andrew Levan – “Finding the most distant objects in the Universe”
  • Dr Sergei.Nayakshin – “Environment next to the Supermassive black hole in the centre of our Galaxy”

The day starts at 10:30, finishing at 18:00.

For more information contact the event organiser, Hazel Collett ( or visit the BAA website. Closing Date for bookings is 6th April.

Measuring the Distance to Mars

Monday, January 18th, 2010

diagram showing parallax distance measurement

Monday, 18 January 2010

John Clark has contacted the Club seeking help with measuring the distance to Mars by parallax, at and around the forthcoming opposition on January 29th.

To do this requires imaging from different continents, and John already has interest from two sites in the UK and South Africa.

If you’d like to get involved, then visit his web site for more details:

St Neots Astronomy Association Meeting

Monday, January 4th, 2010

a sundial

Monday, 4 January 2010

The January meeting of the St Neots Astronomy Association will include a talk by Leonard Honey about sundials.

The meeting will be held at Paxton Pits Nature Reserve Visitor Centre, Hight Street, Little Paxon, from 19:00. If the sky is clear there will also be an observing session afterwards.

BAA “Back to Basics” Workshop

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Saturn setting behind the Moon

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Bedford School and the Bedford Astronomical Society (BAS) are hosting a “Back to Basics” workshop at Bedford School.

Although more advanced BAA “Observers” workshops have been held in our region, principally at the Open University, this is the first B2B to visit Bedford. For the past few years these events have been staged around the country and proved to be very popular and successful.

An excellent programme has been arranged at the modest cost of £8 to BAA members and £10 to non-members, which includes refreshments and 3-course lunch. Please note that societies affiliated to the BAA are entitled to send ONE delegate at the member’s rate.

Places must be booked in advance via the BAA Office. You can download a copy of the information sheet/booking form here. Please note that the closing date for bookings is 25th September.

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Sunset at Stonehenge

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Its well known that there is a connection between Stonehenge and sunrise and sunset on the longest and shortest days of the year. To celebrate this connection between the stones and the sky, in the International Year of Astronomy 2009, a special event has been organised by the Royal Astronomical Society together with English Heritage.

Events include; free talks and tours by leading archaeologists and astronomers, the “From Earth to the Universe” exhibition, an opportunity to view the sunset itself, and a chance to see the night sky from the stones (advance bookings only).

To find out more, visit our website at

Perseids Meteor Shower

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Every year in August, the Earth passes through rock and dust fragments left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, last time it came near the Sun. As these small particles collide with the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn-up, often creating a startling streak of light across the sky. Such events result in meteor showers, and this week sees the peak of the Perseids meteor shower, so called because the shooting stars appear to emanate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

The Perseids occur at the same time each year, and this year will reach a maximum at around 1600BST on Wednesday 12th August. Although this is in the daytime for UK observers, it will still be worthwhile having a look up on the nights of 11 and 12 August. You can expect to see up to 100 shooting stars per hour from a very dark site in ideal conditions. This year conditions aren’t ideal (the Moon is up, and will drown out the fainter meteors), and if you’re observing from a town or city the light pollution will reduce what you can see, but you can still expect to see many more meteors than normal on these nights. The best thing is you don’t need telescopes of binoculars to see the Perseid shower, your eyes will do just fine.

To celebrate this event Newbury Astronomical Society, with help from IYA2009 UK, is hosting a Twitter Meteorwatch, the first of its kind ever! Thousands of people around the world will be tweeting their images of the night sky, as well as asking and answering questions. In order to take part, you need to have a Twitter account; you can get easily at and it’s free. Once you have one, follow @NewburyAS and @astronomy2009uk to keep up to date with what’s happening. You can also search for #meteorwatch to see what everyone else is saying.

To find out more visit:

Happy meteorwatching, and see you on Twitter!


Steve Owens
International Year of Astronomy 2009
UK Co-ordinator

Autumn 2009 Programme

Monday, August 10th, 2009

The Milky Way

The club has some great talks lined up this autumn, hopefully leading up to a clear night sky meeting at the beginning of December. You can always check the details of the next meeting on the Meetings page, and of course we’ll continue to post reminders closer to the date on the Club News RSS feed, together with a write up of each meeting after the event. Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to:

Wednesday 2nd September

Carolin Crawford from the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge will give a talk on cosmology and dark energy.

Wednesday 7th October

Susan Conway from the Open University will talk about her work on gullies on Mars. She will also describe advances in our understanding of the surface of the planet.

Wednesday 4th November

Dave Eagle from Bedford Astronomical Society will give a presentation on Charles Piazzi Smyth’s observatory. He will also talk about modern amateur astronomy on Tenerife.

Wednesday 2nd December

This will be a night sky meeting, with (weather permitting) an observing session. It will be held at the Vinter Room as usual and, in the event of inclement weather, there will be an alternative presentation indoors.

Summer Picnic

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Milky Way over mountains

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Club’s annual picnic is a great opportunity to come along and relax with Club members over buffet food, astronomy anecdotes, and maybe even a few drinks. This informal event reinforces the feeling that we are a very relaxed and friendly Club, with members of all ages and experience sharing their love of astronomy.

The picnic is at 7.30pm, at the Vinter Room in Papworth Everard (see the Meetings page for a map). Everyone is welcome, and all you have to do is bring along your favourite picnic nibbles and/or drinks.