Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Bedford Astronomical Society

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Bedford Astronomical Society logo

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Bedford Astronomical Society celebrate their 25th Anniversary in 2012, and to celebrate they are holding a special event on 26th February at Bedford School Theatre. With 6 invited speakers, exhibitors, demonstrations and refreshments, this all day event should be a great day out for any amateur astronomer.

For more information, visit the club’s website:

or contact Peter Ashwell:

Online Astronomy Lectures

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Academic Earth logo

Club member Mick Nicols has recommended an excellent series of lectures that are available for free download from the Academic Earth web site.

Introduction to Astrophysics” by Charles Bailyn of Yale University focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy.

Astrobiology and Space Exploration” by Lynn Rothschild of Stanford University describes the new meta-discipline which combines astronomy, biology, chemistry, philosophy, and physics in an effort to study the current state of life in the universe.

Breckland Astronomical Society Star Party

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Breckland Astronomical Society observatory

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Breckland Astronomical Society will be hosting their first ‘Star Party’ at the Haw Wood Farm Caravan Park in Suffolk from Friday 23rd March to Monday 26th March, 2012.

This part of Suffolk near the Southwold coast is a very good ‘dark sky’ area, and the observing theme will be the ‘Messier Marathon’. Visit their web site for more information.

Society for the History of Astronomy

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

logo: Society for the History of Astronomy

Sunday, 20 November 2011

We received a letter (yes, a real one made from paper and delivered by ‘snail mail’) to tell us The Society for the History of Astronomy will be holding their Spring Conference at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, on 28th April, 2012. However there aren’t (as yet) any details on their web site, so if you would like more information please ask Peter Sandford and he can pass on the letter.

Astronomy Courses

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

astronomy courses

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Johanna Jarvis contacted us to tell us about a number of astronomy courses she runs. The next planned is a weekend residential course starting February 3rd 2012, at Knuston Hall, Irchester, Northants. You can find more information on her web site.

The Astronomy Show, 2011

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

The 2011 Astronomy Show is being held on Saturday April 23rd, at Hastingwood Industrial and Business Park, Birmingham.

The aim of the show is to cater for the requirements of astronomers at all levels, from novice to the ardent star gazer, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and hopefully provide something for everyone. There are some fantastic speakers lined up, together with a trade exhibition and displays from other organisations.

It is hoped that this will grow to become an annual event in the astronomy calendar, with plans to expand the event into an even more comprehensive show running over 2 days in 2012.

For more information, visit the Astronomy Show website at;

Spring 2011 Programme

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Because of the refurbishment of the Vinter Room, please note that our February and March meetings will be held in the function room of the Conservatory. The location of the April and May meetings will be confirmed nearer the time and posted on the Meetings page, where you can always check the details of the next meeting and find a write up of each meeting after the event. We’ll also continue to post reminders closer to the date on the Club News RSS feed.

This Spring we have some great talks lined up and start the programme in January by teaming up with the BBC Stargazing Live event. Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to;

Wednesday 12th January (at the Vinter Room)
Professor Alan Aylward, head of the Atmospheric Physics Laboratory at University College London, will present “From Daedalus to Dan Dare to Daedalus: Can we go to the stars and what would we find if we get there?”. Having "conquered" the solar system – at least with our robot emissaries – the question changes to whether we could actually send spacecraft to other planetary systems around other stars. The first serious study on this was carried out in Britain in the 1970s and concluded even that even with the technology then, it was feasible. However that mission had a fairly limited scope, and at least one serious technological weakness. Over 30 years later, how much progress has been made – is interstellar travel really feasible? As we consider the going, the possible targets are starting to take focus. Following the first definite proof of a planet around a "normal" star in 1995 the study of exoplanets has boomed. Not only do we know of hundreds of them but we are beginning to be able to measure their atmospheres and environments. The race is on to find the first arguably habitable planet outside the solar system.

This meeting will be held in association with the BBC Stargazing Live programmes to be shown on BBC2 between January 3rd and 5th. We are hoping to attract new members who have been watching the programmes and we will have telescopes available for observing after the talk (weather permitting!). If you want to bring along your scope, please do so.

Wednesday 2nd February (at the Conservatory)
Club member Mike Nicholls, one of our newer members, will present "Astro Navigation in Aviation". Mike learnt to navigate by the stars when he was in the RAF (before GPS was invented!) and he will describe some of the techniques he used.

Wednesday 2nd March (at the Conservatory)
Andrew Pontzen, from the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at Cambridge (KICC), will present "Demystifying Astronomical Statistics". Andrew says this will be the world premiere of this new talk!

Wednesday 6th April (venue to be confirmed)
Nick Achilleos, from the Atmospheric Physics Laboratory at University College London, will talk about his work with the Cassini Mission, investigating the magnetosphere of Saturn.

Wednesday 4th May (venue to be confirmed)
Speaker and location to be confirmed. Details to follow.

As usual, we will take a summer break in June and July. The autumn programme will commence with the annual club picnic on Wednesday 3rd August.

St Neots Astronomical Association – special observing sessions

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

St Neots Astronomical Association are arranging public observing sessions at the Visitors’ Centre at Paxton Pits Nature Reserve (see map above). These are on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm and will be held on the following dates;

• 17th November
• 24th November
• 8th December
• 22nd December

If it is cloudy and observation is difficult, the meetings will still go ahead with a short talk on an astronomical subject plus demonstrations on how to use binoculars, telescopes and star atlases.

Come along and enjoy. We hope to arrange further dates for 2011.

To find out more contact David Roberts by email ( or telephone (01480 212960).

Autumn 2010 Programme

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Following on from an excellent series of talks in the spring, the club has some equally high calibre talks lined up this autumn, hopefully leading up to a clear observing evening at the beginning of December. You can 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 1st September
Dr Andy Martin from the Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge will present “Beware Invisible Cows”. He will talk about the Keck lab in Hawaii, LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory in Washington State) and invisible cows. All will be revealed in September!!

Wednesday 6th October
Nobel Laureate Professor Anthony Hewish of Cambridge University returns to Papworth to present “Radio-astronomy, inflation and the design of the Universe”.

Wednesday 3rd November
Leonard Honey will talk about sundials, ancient and modern.

Wednesday 1st 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.

Perseids Meteor Shower

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Tonight and tomorrow marks the height of the Perseids meteor shower, as the Earth passes through the debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. Unfortunately, while some parts of the northern hemisphere will witness a fantastic display thanks to a waxing crescent moon, a dismal weather forecast means its unlikely you’ll see much from Papworth!