Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Public Lecture by Dr Simon Mitton

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

The Royal Astronomical Society has made videos of some of its public lectures available to view on their website, including a talk by Dr Simon Mitton entitled How geometry has guided cosmology: from the Babylonians to Einstein and beyond.

We’re hoping to welcome Simon as a speaker this autumn, but in the meantime, you might enjoy this previous talk of his!

Twentieth Anniversary Celebrations

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

We are very pleased to announce that the celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of Papworth Astronomy Club, taking place on 11th December (note that this is the second Thursday of the month rather than the usual day!), will include a talk by Professor Malcom Longair of Cavendish Laboratory, who will be speaking about “Fundamental Physics, Astronomy and Cosmology”.

Upcoming Meetings: August-December 2014

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Wednesday 6th August

As usual, we kick off the new season with the traditional picnic. We may be inside or outside the Vinter Room, depending on the weather. Note that this meeting is next week – apologies for the short notice!

Wednesday 3rd September

Dr Patricia Fara will be talking about Newton and Newtonianism. She is a science historian at Clare College and has appeared on Melvyn Bragg’s Radio 4 programme “In Our Time”.

Wednesday 1st October

Speaker meeting. Subject and speaker to be confirmed nearer the date.

Wednesday 5th November

Speaker meeting. Subject and speaker to be confirmed nearer the date.

Wednesday 3rd December

Twentieth anniversary celebration meeting! More details to be confirmed as they become available.

Upcoming Meetings: January-May 2014

Friday, December 20th, 2013

8th January 2014

(Note that this is the second Wednesday of the month, not our usual date.) Ed Zanders recently returned from Australia and will give a presentation called “A Northern Sky Watcher’s View of the Southern Stars”. This is an account of the constellations that are invisible (or barely visible in the UK), but are high in the southern skies. Also, he will give a history of observations in the southern hemisphere including a description of the Sydney Observatory, which looks very similar to the old observatory in Cambridge.

5th February 2014

Professor Tom Marsh from the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at the University of Warwick will give a talk about “White dwarfs, Supernovae and Gravitational Waves.”

5th March 2014

Dr. Christopher Lester from the Cavendish Laboratories at Cambridge University will give us a presentation on the work of CERN and, in particular, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

2nd April 2014

Rob Sandford from the University of Warwick will present a talk titled “The Second Space Race?”. This will include an overview of how space exploration and the space industry are rapidly changing, thanks to new countries joining in and private companies working to lower the cost of access to space.

7th May 2014

Our guest speaker will be Dr. Robin Catchpole from the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge. The subject will be confirmed later.

Upcoming Meetings: September-December 2013

Friday, August 9th, 2013

4th September 2013

Dave Green from Cambridge University will give a talk called “Observing the radio universe”. He will review the development of radio astronomy. His talk will cover advances made in the technology used in single-dishes and arrays, including the development of interferometry and aperture synthesis. He will also show a variety of results made with current state of the art radio telescopes (including with the Very Large Array in the US, and the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope in India).

2nd October 2013

Dr Mike Leggett will give a talk entitled “Astronomy in the Ancient World”.

6th November 2013

Dave Roberts will lead a night sky observing session. There will be an alternative programme if the weather is poor.

4th December 2013

Sheridan Williams FRAS, director of the British Astronomical Association’s computing section, will talk about the mechanics of eclipses.

Upcoming Meeting List: February-May 2013

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

6th February 2013

The observing evening originally planned for December has been rescheduled for February. Dave Roberts has kindly volunteered to lead this session — if the weather is unfavourable for observing he will be giving an indoor presentation about the basics of observing.

Wednesday 6th March

A talk by Professor Paul Hewett, Director of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge. Paul has promised more details nearer the time, but his areas of interest include cosmology and fundamental physics, galaxies and active galactic nuclei.

Wednesday 3rd April

Andreas Schroeer from the Open University will give a presentation on coordinate systems. Andreas is also proprieter of AstroMedia UK and his talk will be illustrated with demonstrations of diverse sundials, a sun simulator, and an orrery that AstroMedia sells.

Wednesday 1st May

Professor John Zarnecki will give a talk called “Landing on a Comet”. John is responsible for the PTOLEMY instrument on the Rosetta mission to comet 46P/Wirtanen. This meeting will be the 2013 Gordon Carter Memorial Lecture.

Upcoming Meetings for 2013

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

2nd January 2013

Nik Szymanek, the renown astrophotographer, will give a talk on photographing the night sky and show some of his images. If you aren’t familiar with Nik’s work, take a look at his website. Papworth members who participated in the Faulkes telescope session might be interested in Nik’s Faulkes images! As in previous years, we are planning to link this meeting with the BBC’s Stargazing Live series, which will return in January. No word yet on whether the Beeb will be providing goodies again this time!

6th February 2013

The observing evening originally planned for December has been rescheduled for February. Dave Roberts has kindly volunteered to lead this session. More information will follow nearer the time.


The three meetings after these will be on 6th March, 3rd April and 1st May. More details will be available shortly.

Club Library

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

The Club Library

Tuesday 13th December 2011

When the Club’s founding member Gordon Carter passed away in May, his family asked if anyone associated with the Club would like his large collection of astronomy books. Gordon’s library was a fascinating mix of astronomical fact, fiction, biography and trivia, and some of the collection was distributed to his friends within the Club.

However, a large number of books still remain (more than 80 – pictured above). After some discussion, we decided that they should be put to good use and kept as a Club Library. We have now catalogued all of the books and will create a web page on which Club members can find out what books are available to borrow.

We hope Club members will make good use of this fantastic resource and Gordon’s memory will live on through his love of astronomy and books!

Club Funds

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Papworth Everard village sign

Club Funds

Sunday 20th November 2011

Many thanks to Papworth Everard Parish Council, who recently voted to donate £100 towards our meeting costs.

The Club recently wrote to the Parish Council to ask for help with paying for the room hire for our meetings. While members had very kindly been paying for meetings this year, we felt that even this small charge would inevitably put some people off attending and would also prohibit us from inviting the high calibre speakers we’ve been used to over the last few years.

We’re incredibly grateful to the Parish Council for their generous offer, which now means we can go back to only having to ask for a contribution towards refreshments at the meeting.

Gordon Carter

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

We are very sad to report the news that Gordon passed away in Addenbrooke’s hospital on Wednesday 25th May. Although he had been ill for several months, he seemed in good spirits and his passing came as a great shock to everyone at the Club.

Newer members may not be aware that Gordon was the person who originally came up with the idea of starting an astronomy club in Papworth and so was effectively the club’s founding member. Gordon kept a detailed chronicle and collection of photographs of the Club’s activities from the very first meeting, which was used to create many of the pages on the Club website.

In addition to being a stalwart member of the astroquiz team (Gordon pictured above holding the Smythe Shield following their 2010 victory), he performed many tasks behind the scenes for the club – managing the finances, booking rooms and making coffee on meeting nights, to name just a few. He never allowed his disability to keep him home – he joined our field trips and was a regular attendee at CAA meetings and other events at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.

Gordon’s funeral will be held today at 11am in St Peter’s Church, Papworth Everard. Donations to the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust will be collected in Gordon’s memory at the funeral.