Mid-Kent Astronomical Society
The James Irwin Observatory is
Currently Closed
and Due to Reopen

TOMORROW

Check here after 19:30 on the day to get final confirmation before travelling in case clouds prevent us opening.
See EVENTS page for details

EVENTS
DATEDETAILS
TOMORROW

Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury

These take place on Fridays when we do not hold a meeting at Bredhurst (except at Christmas).
Check this page or home page after 19:30 on the day to get final confirmation before travelling, in case clouds prevent us opening.
DETAILS
29-Jun

Prof David Rees: Comets - A Brief History
Bredhurst Village Hall

Comets are highly impressive celestial phenomena that suddenly appear 'from nowhere', blaze across the sky, then fade away as unexpectedly as they arrived.

Prof Rees will take us through a brief history of comets, using a highly visual presentation, starting from Babylonian times through to last year!!

Prof David Rees

Prof David Rees designs and builds prototype instruments for NASA, ESA, JAXA and other space organisations around the world. He designed and built one instrument that is part of the Bepi-Colombo payload that ESA/JAXA plan to send to Mercury in 2018.

David is Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics at Utah State University, USA. He has a network of contacts that include some of the biggest names in astrophysics and therefore he is up to date on all the latest theories and research.

David is also conducting leading edge research on our atmosphere using his sophisticated LIDAR system. He uses LiDAR systems from his back garden in Sussex to undertake cutting-edge research into the Earth's atmosphere and the wind, also atmospheric particulates like dust from the Sahara.

David is an active member of MKAS and regularly observes from his back garden, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.

He is a keen cricketer and plays regularly for the Kent Seniors team.



06-Jul
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
13-Jul

Will Hughes: New Horizons - Into the Unknown
Bredhurst Village Hall

This talk by MKAS member Will Hughes, will focus on the recent findings of NASA's pioneering mission to explore the Kuiper Belt: New Horizons.

What was the motivation for this mission?
How do you design a spacecraft to travel billions of kilometres from the sun with the capabilities to undertake cutting edge science?
What have we learnt about the Pluto system and what might be discovered in the near future?

Come along and find out!

Will Hughes

Will completed his undergraduate and master's degree in physical geography at the University of London, and since graduating, he has worked as a lecturer at Hadlow College, where he teaches on degree courses in Conservation and Biodiversity.

Will joined MKAS in 2011, and has an active interest in the planets and their moons, their geology, and the spacecraft going out to investigate them.


20-Jul
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
27-Jul

Summer BBQ Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

The MKAS Social Evening around the BBQ where you can take it easy and meet other like-minded astronomers and water rocket enthusiasts.

Entrance is free to MKAS members and their friends. All you need to bring with you is your food for the BBQ and some buns plus any alcoholic drinks that you may like. MKAS will provide tea, coffee and squash.

Don’t worry about the weather as we will definitely have the BBQs lit.

If you would like to take part in the Water Rockets competition then please make sure that you bring your rocket with you all ready to launch we will supply the Dihydrogen Monoxide rocket fuel (aka H2O aka water).

WATER ROCKETS:
Rules for the water rocket competition are few but the rockets must be made from a plastic fizzy drinks bottle (normally 2 litre size is best) and must have the standard 21mm internal diameter neck with lip that the top normally screws down onto. Furthermore the placing of cannon balls in the nose cone is definitely not allowed (you know who you are!).

It is advisable to attach some fins at the neck end to stabilise the rocket in flight. These need to be kept well clear of the neck as the launcher needs to locate just behind the lip on the neck of the bottle.

If you are really clever you could fit your rocket out with a re-entry parachute that deploys once the rocket has reached maximum altitude and starts its return to Earth.

Don’t forget to decorate your rocket as well!

Small prizes will be awarded for: Highest flight, longest flight, best parachute return to Earth and most attractive rocket. So get building your rockets as the countdown to blastoff has already begun!


04-Aug

AstroCamp
Ashdown Forest

The 2018 AstroCamp will be held on Saturday 4 to Sunday 12 August.

A perfect opportunity to relax in the very picturesque Ashdown Forest, read, go on country walks, visit the local quaint shops, visit nearby Pooh Bridge and other Pooh-related places, socialise with other like-minded amateur astronomers, and do some astronomy in the darker skies of mid-Sussex.

The popular barbecue will be held on Saturday 11th, with many more people visiting just on this evening, sometimes as many as 100 people in attendance. Bring your own food and drink (alcohol permitted).

All members of MKAS are invited, along with their guests.

For details, speak to Naz Rajan.

17-Aug
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
24-Aug
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
31-Aug
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
07-Sep
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
14-Sep

Rebecca Whentringhame: Habitable Zones around Stars
Bredhurst Village Hall

Using the Earth to model the factors required for the existence of life, this talk considers the key factors which influence the region around a star in which a planet can orbit and support life.

Rebecca Whentringhame

Since gaining a BSc (Hons) degree in Astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire, Rebecca has retained a keen interest in astronomy, and has been a member of MKAS for a number of years.


21-Sep
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
28-Sep

Prof Alan Aylward: From Daedalus to Dan Dare to Daedalus: is Interstellar Travel feasible?
Bredhurst Village Hall

There have been several studies looking at the possibilities of travelling to other star systems.
Starting from one realistic British study as long ago as the 1970s we examine what the technological constraints seem to be. With time, technology has developed- but far enough?
We will look at whether there have been any breakthroughs in recent yeras and what we might expect in the future.

Prof Alan Aylward

Having read Natural Sciences at Cambridge I came to UCL in 1971 to do a Diploma in Space Science, then worked for a year in British Aircraft Corporation working on a zero-g propellant tank, came back to UCL to do research and then spent some time as a technical consultant in the computer time-sharing industry. An opportunity then came up to combine computing and science by working as a programmer helping to develop the software on the EISCAT (European Incoherent SCATter) radar installation in northern Scandinavia. After a stint as head programmer Alan came back to the UK and worked as a consultant on EISCAT to the universities with the UK research council at Rutherford Appleton Lab, and eventually took up a position at University College London in the Atmospheric Physics Laboratory, which he was head of from 1994 until I retired recently. Alan currently has an Emeritus post there (running a couple of research projects) and part-own a Tea-Shop!
While at APL their programme started as research into the earth’s ionosphere and thermosphere - the aurorae and Space Weather - both by observation using ground-based instruments and by modelling. They then developed from there into modelling and observations of the other planets - aurorae on Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus for example, plus a model of the Martian upper atmosphere. Then in the late ’90s when the first exoplanet, 51 PegB, was discovered they joined the controversy as to whether it could be stable by modelling it using a modified version of their Jupiter model (and showing there was indeed a good reason why it could be stable for billions of years).
That led to more modelling of exoplanets and then observations, and designing a satellite-based exoplanet observatory (which unfortunately ESA did not select, though they continue to develop the ideas).
Alan still works on Space Weather effects, partly with his own consultancy, and retains an interest in all the areas APL/UCL are involved in.


05-Oct
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
12-Oct

Ian Hargraves: The Astronomy of Climate change on Earth
Bredhurst Village Hall



19-Oct
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
26-Oct

Dr Paul Amitage: Geological History of Mars
Bredhurst Village Hall

Observations of the surfaces of many Solar System bodies reveal important clues about their evolution. Martian observational and measurement resources include the landers, orbiting platforms, Earth-based observations, and Martian meteorites.

Amazing images have been returned from Mars, as good as anything we can do on Earth, and valuable data to accompany the images. Drawing on similarities and differences to Earth, this talk will outline the geological history of the red planet insofar as it has been remotely interpreted. Topics include the periods of the Martian geological timescale, impact cratering, flooding and glaciations, volcanism, mass movement (slumps and slides), the atmosphere and weathering, and the potential for life. Examples will be shown to illustrate how the interplay of geological processes has formed the Martian landscape.

Dr Paul Armitage

Dr Paul Armitage is a consultant geologist who explores for metals that make the things we use every day. After graduating with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in geology from the University of Tromsø in Norway, he completed a PhD at the University of Greenwich in Medway, and settled here. The focus of his PhD was platinum metals, a hot topic in asteroid exploration. He worked as a geologist and geotechnical engineer on tunnel projects, including the HS1 link beneath London, then took up mineral exploration in Greenland, Scandinavia, and Africa. He currently heads a project in Norway that aims to mine copper and zinc. He continues to participate in academic research on rocks formed and deformed by ancient geological events, as far back as the Late Heavy Bombardment nearly 4 billion years ago.

Paul is an active league cricketer, rugby and tennis fan, keen birdwatcher, and fluent Norwegian speaker. He joined MKAS in 2013



02-Nov
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
09-Nov

Nick James: Modern Meteor Astronomy
Bredhurst Village Hall

Nick will cover the use of high sensitivity cameras and software to automate meteor detection and measurement.

Nick James

Nick has been interested in astronomy for as long as he can remember, certainly since the age of 8. He has been a member of the British Astronomical Association since he was 12 and is now the Director of its Comet Section. Nick is also Assistant Editor of The Astronomer Magazine. He has written many articles for magazines and books, and co-authored "Observing Comets" which was published in 2003 as part of Sir Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy series.

Professionally, Nick is an engineer in the space industry, leading a team responsible for implementing highly sensitive and accurate systems for receiving and processing signals from deep-space spacecraft. He is also a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador and is keen to encourage more young people to consider science and engineering as a career.

All of this keeps him pretty busy but he still finds time to travel extensively to see astronomical phenomena. He is an eclipse chaser, having seen 13 total solar eclipses and has travelled to see the northern lights, comets and other interesting objects under dark skies.


16-Nov
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
23-Nov
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
30-Nov
William Joyce: Lunar Observing
Bredhurst Village Hall



07-Dec
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
14-Dec

Christmas Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

Our annual Christmas social will feature a very entertaining and enjoyable activity and some paper quiz sheets featured alongside the usual eating and drinking and chat.

21-Dec
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
04-Jan-2019
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
11-Jan-2019
Chris Brockley-Blatt: Solar Orbiter
Bredhurst Village Hall



18-Jan-2019
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
25-Jan-2019

Colin Stuart: How We'll Live on Mars
Bredhurst Village Hall

Humans will soon make their first trip to Mars. How will we get there? What challenges will you have to overcome and what spectacular sights await the successful? In a talk packed full of stunning visuals and the latest scientific thinking, astronomy author Colin Stuart takes us on a journey to the Red Planet to witness the majesty of a Martian sunset.

Based on his two latest books – The Traveller's Guide to Mars and How to Live in Space – as well as his work with astronaut Tim Peake, strap in for a voyage of discovery and wonder that's truly out of this world.

Colin Stuart

Colin Stuart is an astronomy author and speaker who has talked to well over a quarter of a million people about the universe, ranging from schools and the public to conferences and businesses. His books have sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide and he's written over 150 popular science articles for publications including The Guardian, New Scientist, BBC Focus and the European Space Agency.

In 2014 he was awarded runner-up in the European Astronomy Journalism Prize and is also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He's talked about the wonders of the universe on Sky News, BBC News and Radio 5Live and been quoted in national newspapers including The Daily Telegraph and The Observer. His TED video on time travel has been viewed over 2 million times.

His other adventures have seen him climb the biggest radio telescope in the UK, stargaze from the Sahara desert and abseil his old school’s science block for charity.


01-Feb-2019
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
08-Feb-2019
Bredhurst Village Hall



15-Feb-2019
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
22-Feb-2019

Fundraising Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall



01-Mar-2019
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
08-Mar-2019
Prof David Rees: Going to Mercury
Bredhurst Village Hall



  
MEETING VENUES

PUBLIC MEETINGS:
Bredhurst Village Hall

Hurstwood Road,
Bredhurst, Gillingham,
Kent ME7 3JZ
(Close to J4 off the M2)
There is a car park on site.
Starts 7:45pm for 8pm.

OBSERVING EVENINGS:
James Irwin Observatory

Meet in the Conservatory at:
Victoria Hotel
59 London Road,
Canterbury, Kent
CT2 8JY
You will then be escorted to the observatory at 8:30pm (Oct-Mar) / 9pm (Apr-Sep)
BREDHURST MEETINGS VISITOR INFORMATION
Following the presentation there will be a tea break giving a chance to talk with other MKAS members and then an observing session in the field behind the hall (weather permitting) and a telescope workshop in the hall, so if you are having problems with your telescope (or just want to show it off) bring it along.

The meeting is open to non-members who are welcome to attend for free on their first visit.
Everyone of all ages and levels of expertise is welcome, including complete beginners.

There is a small entrance fee for each meeting to cover costs for tea and coffee.

Please dress appropriately for the weather, and be ready for observing, if it is clear. Remember that it can get very cold, especially in winter, so bring several layers or your warmest winter coat, as you feel appropriate.

All of our public meetings are held on the second and last Friday of each month, except August and at Christmas, when there are no meetings.
All Public meetings are held at Bredhurst Village Hall unless otherwise stated.
Meetings normally start at 7.45pm for 8pm.
Bredhurst Village Hall : Hurstwood Road, Bredhurst, Gillingham, Kent ME7 3JZ
Bredhurst is close to J4 off the M2. There is a car park on site.

See our website EVENTS page for details of our forthcoming public meetings.


All persons under 18yrs must be accompanied by a parent/guardian or responsible adult.

www.midkentastro.org.uk