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

on 6th October 2017

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
29-Sep

Rolf Williams: Space For Nature
Bredhurst Village Hall

Did you know the Kennedy Space Centre is a national wildlife refuge?
But sometimes that nature gets right in the way of space flight, which is a little ungrateful given what spaceflight is doing for nature - find out through Rolf's unique perspective: a project where wildlife, space and art combine.

Rolf Williams

Rolf is a science communicator with a passion for natural history and technology. He has enjoyed many adventures which he enjoys sharing with the hope of enthusing others. His presentations all share a common message about human vision and achievement.

His love of Space started when he saw a Shuttle launch in 1988, and he enthusiastically talks about his many and varied experiences of space, nature and his many travels. His lively upbeat style of delivery is illustrated with his images, sketches, props and sounds where relevant.

Rolf has worked in marine research, served with the Royal Navy and was a spokesman for the RSPB in Kent.



06-Oct

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
13-Oct

Peter Meadows: Robotic Telescope Observing
Bredhurst Village Hall

Robotic Telescopes allow an amateur to use a semi-professional telescope located in a very clear sky area of a remote country, without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.

Peter, the former director of the BAA's Robotic Telescope Observing section, will talk on his personal experiences of using remote telescopes, particurly the Sierra Stars Observatory Network and iTelescope. He will show the various steps of how to use these telescopes, and how to download and analyse the imagery. Examples of the type of objects that can be imaged will be shown and what results can be acheived. Other remote observatories available to the amateur astronomer will also be discussed.

Peter Meadows

Peter has been interested in Astronomy since the mid-1970s while still at school with a particular interest in solar observing. After studying Physics and Astronomy and Leeds and Edinburgh, he has persued a career in satellite Earth Observation. Throughtout that time he's continued solar observing using modest equipment: an 80mm refractor for white light observing, a Coronado PST for hydrogen alpha observing & imaging, an ETX 105 for white light imaging and a VLF receiver for flare detection. White light observing consists mainly of daily disk drawings and subsequent analysis. This analysis led to the creation of the free Helio software programs also used by many other observers. The white light observations also contribute to the International Sunspot Number.

Peter also enjoys observing other objects such as meteors, noctilucent clouds and occasionally the planets. In recent years he has used remote telescopes for the imaging and measurement of asteroids, comets and variable stars. Peter was the BAA Remote Telescope Coordinator from 2010 to 2016, and has been secretary for The Astronomer magazine and their solar sub-editor from 2004.


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

Dr Paul Armitage: Sample return missions to the asteroids
Bredhurst Village Hall

Following Paul's general talk on asteroid mining in May, this sequel will present current missions by NASA, ESA and JAXA designed to return significant amounts of material from selected asteroids.

We have already heard that asteroids probably contain useful metals in concentrations far above those found on Earth, that it might be possible to mine those metals for return to Earth or for construction in space, and that water in asteroids could be split to make fuel.

The talk will look at the propulsion and mining technology of the current missions, how the probes will contact and retrieve material from the asteroids, and how the material will be transported to Earth and analysed.


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
03-Nov
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
10-Nov

Prof Alan Aylward: Colouring the Sky - Nature's Cathode Ray tube
Bredhurst Village Hall

For many years those living in high-latitude parts of the globe would wonder at the sight of the northern lights or aurorae borealis and speculate what caused them.
With the dawn of the space age we now have a pretty good idea - in fact we can fly through them on occasion and look at them from above as well as below. They turn out to be very complex and predicting them is as difficult as weather forecasting.
Our interest has been further piqued by discovering aurorae on other planets: though they look the same as on earth, what causes them is not necessarily the same, and research on them has expanded with space probes and the Hubble space telescope giving details of the morphology on planets like Jupiter. We can even conjecture on what we might find further afield.

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.


17-Nov
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
24-Nov

Colin Stuart: Royal Institute on Astronomy
Bredhurst Village Hall



01-Dec
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
08-Dec

Christmas Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

We have a very entertaining and enjoyable evening lined up for you.
There will be a short talk, a quiz and an interesting video featured alongside the usual social.
Bring your own drink and bring some food to share with everyone. We will supply tea, coffee and squash, and the entertainment!

15-Dec
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
05-Jan-2018
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
12-Jan-2018
Bredhurst Village Hall

Details to follow

19-Jan-2018
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
26-Jan-2018
Dr Paul Amitage: Geological History of Mars
Bredhurst Village Hall

Details to follow

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-Feb-2018
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
09-Feb-2018
Fundraising Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall

Details to follow

16-Feb-2018
DETAILS
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
23-Feb-2018

Nick James: Solar Eclipses
Bredhurst Village Hall

Due to the lucky chance that the Sun and Moon appear about the same size in our sky we are treated to the majestic phenomenon of a total solar eclipse. This talk will describe the history of eclipses, what can be seen during a total eclipse and why they are scientifically still very useful. I'll talk about ways to observe and image these eclipses and will look back at the lessons learned from the great US eclipse of last August.

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.


  
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