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List of our past events since November 2014:
DATEDETAILS
30-Nov

Bernard Winchester: Space and Spirituality
Bredhurst Village Hall

Interviews with astronauts returning from space in articles and news reports often indicate that they feel fundamentally changed by their experiences. So, what happens when we “slip the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God’”and why?
Warning: this talk contains no physics (or dogma)!

09-Nov

Nick James: Modern Meteor Astronomy
Bredhurst Village Hall



26-Oct

Bob Oseman: Basinology - Lunar Basins, Outside and In
Bredhurst Village Hall

The idea of lunar basins will be described and defined together with their relationship with the maria and how they can be seen to relate to the Moon's formation and subsequent geological evolution. The nearside basins can be seen but not the those on the farside. Why is there a difference?

Bob talked about results of lunar missions, the lunar orbiters, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Clementine, Kaguya and Lunar Prospector, all of which provided evidence of the lunar surface and lunar formations (altitude, surface chemistry and impact history). A very important discovery was that of the mass anomalies, mass concentrations or mascons, associated with the basins and how the two GRAIL mission orbiters, Ebb and Flo, orbited during 2012 and sent back measurements of these anomalies, enabling scientists to uncover what lies beneath the basins.


12-Oct

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

Does the alignment of the planets, foretell Earth’s future. No, not astrology but astronomy! A look at the way the alignment of the major planets of our solar system may cause almost imperceptible long term climate change that could have far ranging consequences for our future here on Earth.

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 examined what the technological constraints seem to be. With time, technology has developed- but far enough?
We looked at whether there have been any breakthroughs in recent years and what we might expect in the future.

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 considered the key factors which influence the region around a star in which a planet can orbit and support life.

After the talk, we had some observing through the telescopes.

01-Sep

Bredhurst Village Show
Bredhurst Village Hall - From 1:30pm

MKAS had a stall at this event.

04-Aug

AstroCamp
Ashdown Forest

Another successful and highly enjoyed AstroCamp in the Ashdown Forest.

Next year's camp is in August.

27-Jul

Summer BBQ Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

The MKAS Social Evening around the BBQ. Rain did not stop us!

13-Jul

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

This talk by MKAS member Will Hughes, focused 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?

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

08-Jun

Nik Szymanek: Further Adventures with Astronomical Image Processing
Bredhurst Village Hall

Further to Nik's excellent easy to follow tutorials on Astrophotography, he was back to tell us about how to deal with light pollution in DSLR images, working with the Hubble palette and how to process solar eclipse images.


25-May

Peter Bassett: Stargazing in Arizona
Bredhurst Village Hall

Arizona is well known for its amazingly clear skies. This is one of the reasons one of our founder members, Peter Bassett has bought land there.
This talk described his experiences in seeing the Milky Way from his land, about Meteors, UFOs, the Zodiacal Light, how he built a Camera/Telescope Platform.
There were many great photos, some in 3D, to illustrate the talk and his fascinating story.

11-May

Will Joyce: Geology of the Moon
Bredhurst Village Hall

The Moon is the only astronomical object for which humans have yet visited, and collected and returned rock samples for analysis on Earth.
This talk explored how scientific ideas about the Moon's formation and evolution was radically changed and a new idea of its origin was developed after collected Moon rocks told their story to geologists. This happened again, more recently, when orbital remote sensing of the Moons surface, coupled with much better, modern laboratory techniques, have re-written the formation and early evolution of the Moon once again.
The talk ended with describing the scientific need to go back to the lunar surface to collect many more samples from selected sites, to unravel not only the history of the Moon, but the environment of the Earth and the Solar System, since it formed 4.6 billion years ago.

27-Apr

Family Space Night (7.30-10pm)
Bredhurst Village Hall, Hurstwood Road, Bredhurst ME7 3JZ

An exciting evening of space displays and activities, space talks and telescopes.
Suitable for kids and adults, come and learn about Space, Astronomy, and Rockets.


13-Apr

Annual General Meeting
Bredhurst Village Hall

Please download and review the following documents:
» Agenda for the 2018 AGM
» Minutes of the 2017 AGM
» Treasurer's Report 2017-2018
» MKAS Accounts 2017-2018
» Membership Report 2017-2018
» Committee Roles and Responsibilities
» MKAS Constitution (Revd2016)

The AGM is open to all MKAS Members and Visitors, however only Members are entitled to vote.

30-Mar

Rolf Williams: The Need For Speed
Bredhurst Village Hall

A highly entertaining look at speed... and its need.
An eclectic mix of technological speedsters, the how and why of getting around the galaxy.
How do we measure time and how do we measure distance... and how on Mars do you slow down again?!


09-Mar
Greg Smye-Rumsby: Life in the universe
Bredhurst Village Hall

What are the chances that somewhere across the great vast expanse of the Universe life has not taken hold. But what might that life be like. We are ‘aliens’ living on a small world around a fairly small and insignificant star perhaps this in itself is a sign.

23-Feb

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 described the history of eclipses, what can be seen during a total eclipse and why they are scientifically still very useful. The talk also covered ways to observe and image these eclipses and looked back at the lessons learned from the great US eclipse of last August.

09-Feb

Fundraising Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall

General knowledge quiz to raise funds for the GP20 Telescope project

26-Jan

Gary Foord: The day the Moon devoured the Sun
Bredhurst Village Hall

Continuing our series of Eclipse related talks, Gary Foord took us on his journey to the Faroe Islands to see the 2015 Total Solar Eclipse.
This multimedia extravaganza had stunning images and videos of this remarkable and somehow mysterious event.

13-Jan

Visit to National Space Centre
Leicester

A highly enjoyable trip to visit the National Space Centre in Leicester

12-Jan

Bob Oseman: Mountains on the Edge of the Moon
Bredhurst Village Hall

Unlike the drama of total eclipses, partial solar eclipses are interesting from an observer’s point of view because they can reveal the rugged terrain on the limb of the Moon in silhouette. Bob’s images of the partial solar eclipse of August 2008 show this clearly and he compares these images with several of his lunar images which show how rugged features on the very edge of the Moon can be.

Eclipses on Earth are due to the orbital interplay between the Earth, the Sun and the Moon. When the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun, during its monthly orbit, we always get either a full Moon or a New Moon and maybe either a lunar or a solar eclipse. For eclipse to occur, the Moon has to be very close to the ecliptic plane. By superposing images of the Moon’s shadow, Bob was able to plot the Moon’s path, so that it could be projected forward to indicate the point in space where it crossed the ecliptic, to give the coordinates of the Descending Node on 1st August 2008. Bob talked briefly about of the Moon’s orbital characteristics and the perturbations which give rise to the recurrent 18 year cycle of eclipses, the Saros.


08-Dec-2017

Christmas Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

A special activity and some paper quiz sheets featured alongside a well-enjoyed social of food, drink and chat.

24-Nov-2017

Colin Stuart: 13 Journeys Through Space and Time: Xmas Lectures from the Royal Institution
Bredhurst Village Hall

Tim Peake's recent visit to the International Space Station has placed a fresh spotlight on the latest developments in space exploration. But space travel is still a pretty new area of human endeavour and our ideas about what and who might be out there have constantly shifted over the years. One place this is particularly apparent is in the famous Christmas Lectures held by the Royal Institution each year.

Last year Colin was lucky enough to rummage around in their archives and write a book about 13 of the lectures devoted to space and time. The first was delivered way back in 1881. The last was the 2015 lectures featuring a message from Tim from orbit (he also wrote the foreword for the book). And how our ideas have changed. In this talk Colin shared some of the stories from the lectures, along with some of his favourite anecdotes about digging through the archives including finding Carl Sagan's immigration form and Dewar's radioactive notebooks.

10-Nov-2017

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.

27-Oct-2017

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 looked 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.


13-Oct-2017

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, talked on his personal experiences of using remote telescopes, particurly the Sierra Stars Observatory Network and iTelescope. He showed 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 were also shown and what results can be acheived. Other remote observatories available to the amateur astronomer were also discussed.

A copy of his talk can be downloaded here


29-Sep-2017

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 - we found out through Rolf's unique perspective: a project where wildlife, space and art combine.

09-Sep-2017

Will Adams Festival
Gillingham Park, Canterbury St, Gillingham ME7 5LJ

MKAS supported this event with a display stand and solar telescope

08-Sep-2017

MKAS at the USA Total Solar Eclipse
Bredhurst Village Hall

Unless you have been in hibernation these past few months, you will know that there was the 'Eclipse of the century' going across the whole of the United States of America.

Some of our MKAS members went to different parts of the USA to see this spectacle.

There were some great photos and entertaining stories about their exciting adventures.

01-Sep-2017

Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival: 1-3 Sep
Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux »



11-Aug-2017

Solarsphere Astronomy & Music Festival
Builth Wells, Powys, Wales LD2 3RD



05-Aug-2017

AstroCamp
Ashdown Forest

Another successful and highly enjoyed AstroCamp in the Ashdown Forest.

Next year's camp is in August.

28-Jul-2017

Prof David Rees: The ESA Aeolus Mission
Bredhurst Village Hall

Aeolus is an Earth observation satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space that is due for launch this year. Aeolus will be the first space-based Lidar System capable of performing global wind profile observations. It will provide much-needed information to improve global weather forecasting.

David has been working on this mission since 1985 and will told us the full picture of the scientific, technical and political challenges this mission has had all through its lifetime, and how this mission is important to everyone on Earth.

14-Jul-2017

Greg Smye-Rumsby: Can we live on Mars?
Bredhurst Village Hall

Greg gave a general run through of the real circumstances around human flights to Mars and possibility of actually living on Mars!


30-Jun-2017

Summer Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

The MKAS Social Evening around the BBQ

09-Jun-2017

Nik Szymanek: A Tale of Two Observatories
Bredhurst Village Hall

Nik is well known for his amazing astro-photographs of the night sky.
But Nik recently moved house... and consequently moved his Observatory. Not a simple task.
He talked about the trials and tribulations of such a mammoth task especially the dismantling and reassembly of the dome, showing photos of the journey and the amazing results.

The talk was suitable for all and did of course feature lots of new pretty pictures.

26-May-2017

Dr Robin Catchpole: Are We Star Dust or Nuclear Waste?
Bredhurst Village Hall

Every thing around us, apart from hydrogen and helium, was made inside stars. The Earth and Sun contain elements made in generations of stars that were born and died before the birth of our Sun and planets. The story of the birth and death of stars is the story of the battle of matter against the force of gravity.
In this talk Robin told this story and showed how gravity always wins, as stars die with either a whimper or a bang.

12-May-2017

Dr Paul Armitage: Asteroid Mining - Will it happen? Why and how?
Bredhurst Village Hall

Currently, terrestrial mining is the only means of acquiring natural resources for materials and energy. While this includes exciting new projects to mine the ocean floor, there is growing interest in the exploitation of resources in solar system objects. Space resource companies are already in existence and are funded by serious private investment.

Do we really need more raw materials than Earth can provide? How will targets in space be selected? What are the big ideas behind space transportation, resource estimation, ore extraction and processing? This talk outlined the theories, plans, evolving technology, and potential pitfalls. Some ores were shown to those present as examples of the metals we need.

28-Apr-2017

Family Space Night
Bredhurst Village Hall, 8-10pm

An exciting evening of space displays and activities, space talks and telescopes.
Suitable for kids and adults, come and learn about Space, Astronomy, and Rockets.


14-Apr-2017

Annual General Meeting
Bredhurst Village Hall

Please download and review the following documents:
Agenda for the 2017 AGM
Minutes of the 2016 AGM
Treasurer's Report 2016-2017
MKAS Accounts 2016-2017
Membership Report 2016-2017
Committee Roles and Responsibilities

The AGM is open to all MKAS Members and Visitors, however only Members are entitled to vote.


31-Mar-2017

Mike Foulkes: Herschel's Planet
Bredhurst Village Hall

This talk provided a description of the Uranus system including the planet itself, its satellites and rings, both from amateur and professional observations. This description was set in part in the context of Herschel's discovery of the planet and his subsequent observations.

10-Mar-2017

Naz Rajan: Behind the scenes at a Shuttle Launch
Bredhurst Village Hall

You have seen a Space Shuttle launch many times on TV, and maybe even seen one from Florida, But there is a lot more happening in the background that you probably don't know about, from the emergency teams, to the booster recovery, and the mad camera guy.

In this talk, Naz who has witnessed three Shuttle launches at Kennedy Space Center, showed photos and videos of what really goes on leading up to and at a Space Shuttle launch.

As a full multimedia experience, it was the next best thing to being there.

24-Feb-2017

Prof David Rees: The Elusive Planet Mercury (the story continues)
Bredhurst Village Hall

The Bepi-Colombo Mission is a joint Project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Space and Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Planned since the mid-1990s the mission is designed to place two sophisticated and well-instrumented spacecraft into orbit around Mercury; ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). These instruments will conduct studies of the surface, geology, atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere and interactions with the Solar Wind.

Prof David Rees was asked by JAXA to design and largely build the Mercury Sodium Atmospheric Spectroscopic Instrument (MSASI) for MMO. The Talk will cover the range of measurements and studies to be made by MPO and MMO, extending those possible by NASA’s recent MESSENGER mission and providing new studies that were not feasible with its earlier generation of instruments.

David then went on to describe two other ESA missions that he has been involved with: Aeolus and EarthCARE. He told us about the current plans, the new science that will be possible and the impact of the Aeolus Mission on future weather forecasting on Earth.


10-Feb-2017

Fundraising Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall



27-Jan-2017

Will Hughes: Solving Mysteries on Mars - The Incredible Rover Pioneers
Bredhurst Village Hall

Over the last few decades, our understanding of the planet Mars has been transformed by a series of pioneering robotic missions which have included flybys, orbiters, landers and rovers. Will's talk specifically focused on the different rover missions and will tell the story of how these incredible robotic explorers have enabled us to piece together the complex environmental and geological history of Mars.

However, there are also many unsolved mysteries on the Red Planet, including potentially one of the greatest unanswered questions of all: is there life on Mars? Will's talk reflected on the achievements of past and current missions and discussed how the next generation of rovers many finally help us to determine whether Mars also has a biological history.

13-Jan-2017

Gavin Lacey & Luigi Papagno: Telescope Showcase
Bredhurst Village Hall

This meeting discussed the different types of telescopes, their pros and cons, and which are best for different types of observing. Some basic and some more advanced and latest equipment will be demonstrated, followed by an explanation of how to use a telescope and other equipment to observe different astronomical objects.

Following the break, there will be a Telescope Workshop where MKAS members will help sort out problems and questions you may have with your telescope. So if you have a telescope stored away that you cannot get going or have never known how to use, bring it along and MKAS members will sort it out and get you observing through it, if it is clear.

14-Dec-2016

Astronomy event
Rainham Mark Grammar School

MKAS were supporting the school with some displays and observing for the kids and parents.


09-Dec-2016

Christmas Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

Bring food, drink and relax and chat with fellow members and visitors.
We will supply tea and coffee and some puzzles and show some stunning photos taken by members.

25-Nov-2016

Konrad Malin-Smith: Light and Time; FOLLOWED BY GP20 update
Bredhurst Village Hall

Konrad is one of our favourite speakers. As a retired science school teacher, he is very good at explaining science in very simple ways, usually using models and demonstrations he has developed personally.

Konrad discussed the unique nature of light and its interrelation with the passage of time. Konrad made this topic easy to understand, highly informative, and very entertaining.

This was then followed by an update on the GP20 Telescope project.

11-Nov-2016

Rolf Williams: Go for launch
Bredhurst Village Hall

Rolf Williams presented a collection of the latest videos highlighting the dramatic efforts to make space accessible - after Shuttle, just how reusable and reliable can a rocket be?


28-Oct-2016

Sheridan Williams: The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
Bredhurst Village Hall

Witnessing a Total Solar Eclipse is a must-do 'bucket list' experience, and many astronomers go to distant lands to see them as often as they are able.

In August 2017, there is a Total Solar Eclipse running right the way across the United States. Sheridan, who is a very experienced Eclipse chaser and expert, revealed the dates, times, where to go, what to see, what to take and how to plan your trip.

Click here for his slides (4.8Mb)

14-Oct-2016

Will Joyce: Exploring the Moon; FOLLOWED BY Caroline Beevis: Adventures under the Southern Skies
Bredhurst Village Hall

The Exploration of the Moon during the space age has led to several revolutions in our scientific understanding of its origin and early evolution. Early ideas were rejected as lunar rock samples were analysed, and new ideas were developed after the lunar landing missions.

This exploration continues today using modern laboratory techniques on lunar samples, including lunar meteorites, and modern remote sensing missions, which have once again required the lunar science community to rethink several ideas. The near-future exploration, including the urgent need for more surface landers and sample return missions were addressed, and current research questions were covered.

Caroline Beevis
After Will's talk and the tea break, Caroline Beevis talked about her adventures under the southern skies.
Between 2004 and 2011, Caroline journeyed alone five times to the southern African country of Namibia as 'guest astronomer' at a luxury lodge out in the middle of the Namib Desert. An adventure of a lifetime, featuring: bicycles, kites, giant dunes, geckoes, choir-singing, a guitar, giant (harmless) spiders, small (extremely venomous) scorpions, storms, floods, extreme temperatures, mountains, caves, desert folk-lore, amazing people, incredible (Martian-like) landscapes and.... oh yes, the darkest starlit skies beyond imagination.

Members and visitors were treated to the wonders of the Southern Hemisphere night sky with Caroline's own photographs and tales of desert adventures.

30-Sep-2016

Greg Smye-Rumsby: History of Longitude at the Royal Observatory Greenwich
Bredhurst Village Hall

Before we had tools to allow navigators at sea to measure both latitude and longitude, it was very difficult to cross the great oceans without many hazards. Although latitude was easy to work out from the position of the sun and the time, longitude was more tricky.

Ships would sail to the latitude of their destination, turn toward their destination and follow a line of constant latitude. However, this prevented the ship from taking the most direct route or a route with the most favourable winds and currents, extending the voyage by days or even weeks. This increased the likelihood of short rations, which could lead to poor health or even death for members of the crew due to scurvy or starvation, with resultant risk to the ship.

In 1714, the Board of Longitude was set up and offered a major prize for the person who solved this problem easily. This talk ventured through the role of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich in this amazing quest, and told how the problem was finally solved, and the triumph and tragedies along the way.

10-Sep-2016

Space Spectacular @ Fort Amherst NOT TO BE MISSED
Fort Amherst, Khartoum Road, Chatham ME4 4UB



09-Sep-2016

Peter Bassett: 10 obscure space related sites in the USA you should visit
Bredhurst Village Hall

Ok, so you know about the obvious places to visit, but there are some hidden gems that even the locals don't know about.
Peter Bassett, a founder member of MKAS, and an avid visitor to the US, has searched out and found, or sometimes stumbled on, some very interesting and often obscure space-related places, and this talk revealed his top 10, along with their fascinating stores.


30-Jul-2016

AstroCamp: 30 July to 7 August
Ashdown Forest

Another successful and highly enjoyed AstroCamp in the Ashdown Forest.

Next year's camp is in early August.

29-Jul-2016

Mike Phillips: Community in Space
Bredhurst Village Hall

Long term MKAS member Mike Phillips gave a fascinating talk that illustrated the many different people who have travelled into space and the diverse nature of the countries, backgrounds, religions and cultures for these pioneers.

22-Jul-2016

Observatory Open Evening and Demonstration 8:45pm for 9pm
Meet at Victoria Hotel, Canterbury CT2 8JY



08-Jul-2016

Dr Mike Hewitt: Gravity, Strings and Black Holes
Bredhurst Village Hall

A fascinating talk from Mike about possible connections between black holes and ideas from quantum mechanics, including string theory. These ideas, connecting the worlds of the very large and the very small, are under active investigation by many physicists, because of the problems and paradoxes thrown up in the study of black holes.

In particular Mike presented an idea that he has personally been working on, which replaces black holes with a kind of hologram. Mike made thisdemanding subject accessible to anybody with a general interest in science.


08-Jul-2016

Kent County Show
Kent County Showground, Detling

MKAS had a stall and solar telescope at this three day annual event on 8-10 July.

02-Jul-2016

Moonlight Meadow Fair
Lullingstone Country Park DA4 0JF

MKAS supported the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership with their public event which was held at Lullingstone Country Park, in celebration of National Meadows Day.

Telescopes were kindly provided by several MKAS members including Will Hughes, John Watts, Rob Lines, Bob Tollervey, and Sarah Watson. The skies were fortunately very clear (and with minimal light pollution!), enabling some great solar observing in the early evening, followed by fantastic views of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Alongside the stargazing, MKAS members also took part in moth trapping activities and a bat walk, which yielded some interesting results!

Medway Valley Countryside Partnership have already thanked MKAS for supporting the event and have kindly agreed to make a donation to the GP20 fund. Will Hughes would like to thank all those who attended from MKAS.

24-Jun-2016

Summer Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

What a fabulous night with everyone enjoying a social get together around the BBQs followed by the ever popular water rockets competition. Thanks to all who took part with such a fantastic array of rockets, most of which worked!
Competition Results:
Rocket Design – 1st Fat Max (26 points), 2nd Fire Fly (22 points)
Best Junior Rocket Design – 1st Crazy Rocket (13 points), 2nd Amy (11 points)
Following the judging of the rocket designs we got into the serious stuff of flying them. The prize winners on the night were:
Highest Flight – 1st Fireball XL5.1 Recycled, 2nd Red Devil
Best Parachute Return – 1st FireFly, 2nd FatMax

Prizes presented at the MKAS meeting on 29th July.
If there had been a prize for deepest ground penetrating rocket this would have been won by Red Devil!

10-Jun-2016

Nik Szymanek: Kinetic Skies - Adventures of a travelling astro-imager
Bredhurst Village Hall



27-May-2016
Arthur Fentaman: Planetary & Lunar Imaging (practical) PLUS Prof. David Rees: Cosmological Newsflash
Bredhurst Village Hall

Arthur is a published astrophotographer and active MKAS member. Arthur give us a step by step guide to taking some amazing photographs with middle of the range equipment from light polluted skies in the centre of Chatham.

To see some of his published work you can visit
http://astrophotomag.com/issue28/#/44
and while you are at it, read the rest of the Amateur Astophotography Ezine.

Following Arthur's talk, we had a Cosmological Newsflash from Prof. David Rees, bringing us bang up to date on some of the biggest issues in Astronomy and Cosmology.

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.

In this report he covered some of the latest thinking on one of the very largest mysteries of the cosmos but also discussing some recent and ongoing events within our Solar System that we can all look for with our own telescopes.

David is an active member of MKAS and regularly observes from his back garden in Sussex, under some of the darkest skies in the UK, lucky man! He is also conducting leading edge research on our atmosphere using his sophisticated LIDAR system.


13-May-2016

Annual General Meeting
Bredhurst Village Hall

Documents:
» Agenda for the 2016 AGM
» Minutes of the 2015 AGM
» Treasurer's Report
» MKAS Accounts 2015-2016
» Membership Report 2016


29-Apr-2016

Guy Hurst: Minor Planets, are they really important?
Bredhurst Village Hall

Guy, the Editor of The Astronomer magazine, talked about the history and properties of these fascinating objects.

He then covered the inner asteroids and Near Earth Objects (NEOs), and how these are a threat to everyone on Earth, before moving out to the Kuiper Belt and Giant Kuiper Belt Objects, and the Dawn Mission that is on its way there.

08-Apr-2016

Caroline Beevis: Space Dogs followed by Ian Hargraves: Fundamentals
Bredhurst Village Hall



25-Mar-2016
Family Space Night
Bredhurst Village Hall

An exciting evening of space displays and activities, space video and telescopes.
Suitable for kids and adults, come and learn about Space, Astronomy, and Rockets.


11-Mar-2016

Bob Marriott: William Dawes & William Rutter Dawes
Bredhurst Village Hall



TBC

Bearsted Guides
Maidstone

MKAS helped this group with their Astronomy badge

26-Feb-2016
Fundraising Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall

A fun night was had by all on this very entertaining and stimulating quiz, which raised much needed funds for the GP20 Telescope Project. Thanks to all who entered and had a go, and to the organisers.

12-Feb-2016

Prof David Rees: The Elusive Planet Mercury; PLUS Ian Hargraves: Gravitational Waves
Bredhurst Village Hall

Mercury is by far the most elusive of the planets to observe either by naked-eye or even by telescope.
Owing to its proximity to the Sun, Mercury is also a very difficult planet to visit by spacecraft.
Mariner 10 flew by Mercury three times in the mid-1970s, and showed that Mercury is the most heavily cratered planet in the Solar System. In 2010, NASA's Messenger probe became the first spacecraft to visit Mercury since Mariner.

The talk discussed the main new findings from Messenger regarding Mercury's surface, atmosphere and internal structure.
Prof Rees also talked about the ESA and JAXA's Bepi-Colombo Mission to Mercury, due to be launched in 2016 and how the instruments on the two new spacecraft will contribute further fascinating information about the mysterious planet Mercury.
He worked on one of the instruments that Bepi-Colombo will carrying and he told us all about the wonderful science that is anticipated to be achieved by it in combination with the array of other instruments on board the spacecraft.


After the break, Ian Hargraves gave a short talk on Gravitational Waves

29-Jan-2016
Ian Hargraves: GP20 Update PLUS Exploding Stars and Black Holes
Bredhurst Village Hall

Ian gave two talks:
1) Grubb Parsons 20 Ritchey-Chrtien telescope (GP20)
The story of how MKAS won the GP20 from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, how the carnage company broke it and how MKAS members are loving restoring it.

2) Exploding Stars and Black Holes
The life cycle of stars like our Sun and much more massive; how they go out with a bang and then form a neutron star or pulsar or if massive enough, disappear completely into a black hole!


18-Jan-2016

First Mote Rainbows
Maidstone

MKAS helped this group with their Astronomy badge

15-Jan-2016

Canterbury Scout Group
Canterbury

MKAS helped this scout group with their Astronomy badge

08-Jan-2016

BBC StarGazing Live Special
Bredhurst Village Hall

Two exciting talks, lots of displays, fun activities and telescopes to observe the skies


07-Jan-2016

Oaklands School
Oaklands School, Weedswood Road, Chatham, ME5 0JE

MKAS gave a talk to 60 Year 5 children at this school

11-Dec-2015

Christmas Special
Bredhurst Village Hall

A talk, a quiz and an interesting video featured alongside a well-enjoyed social of food and drink.

08-Dec-2015

Ethelbert Masonic Lodge
Masonic Building, Cecil Park, Herne Bay, CT6 6DL

MKAS was speaking at this Lodge on Astronomy.

27-Nov-2015

Peter Bassett: Palomar
Bredhurst Village Hall

Conceived of almost a hundred years ago, Palomar Observatory is the home of what used to be the largest telescope in the world and has been at the forefront of astronomical research since mid-century. Today, the Observatory operates every clear night and is an iconic facility for scientific advancement, instrument development, and student training.

Peter Basset is one of the society's founder members, told his story of the history and magic of Palomar, and shared his recent trip to and over the Observatory.

13-Nov-2015

Greg Smye-Rumsby: Myths & Illusions
Bredhurst Village Hall

Greg, one of our most popular speakers and long-term friend of MKAS, gave this fascination and revealing talk on the many myths and illusions in Astronomy and Spaceflight, answering the many questions on various myths and conspiracy theories.


30-Oct-2015

Fundamentals Of Astronomy (Everything You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask)
Bredhurst Village Hall

An introduction to astronomy and astronomical observing, including where we are in the Universe, recommendations on telescope usage and purchase, and setting up and using a telescope.

28-Oct-2015

Maidstone Baptist Church
Maidstone Baptist Church, Knightrider Street, Maidstone ME15 6LU

MKAS were promoting Astronomy to young people attending this Church.

09-Oct-2015

Mike Phillips: The Hidden Universe
Bredhurst Village Hall

Due to huge advances in telescope gathering capability and computer power, almost every day we are treated to new and wonderful images of the planets, stars and galaxies. These beautifully coloured images, produced by astronomers and agencies such as NASA and ESA, can often be confusing as to what is 'real' and what is 'false'.

Mike explained why and how we can see previously hidden information about the Universe, what is really real and really false, and what it all means!

25-Sep-2015

Will Hughes: New Horizons - Pluto, the Kuiper Belt and beyond
Bredhurst Village Hall

Will has been following the New Horizon's mission since its launch in January 2006, and until July this year, was eagerly awaiting the first clear images sent back to Earth from Pluto. The dwarf planet Pluto is so far away from the Earth, that even our most powerful telescopes were unable to tell us much about the nature of this distant world.

Will's talk focused on how the initial findings from New Horizons have been both fascinating and puzzling planetary scientists and why this mission could help us better-understand the mysterious Kuiper Belt.

After the tea break, there was a GP20 Project update and fundraising opportunity presented.


12-Sep-2015

William Adams Festival 2015
Gillingham Park, Canterbury Street, Gillingham ME7 5LA (11am-4.30pm)

Will Adams, who was from Gillingham, sailed to the Far East in 1598 and set up the first trading link between Britain and Japan. There is also an astronomy link between Will Adams and MKAS.

Since 2000, there has been a festival each September to celebrate the culture and traditions of Japan through displays and workshops, included story-telling, Taiko drumming, traditional tea ceremonies, martial arts displays, origami, and Tudor musical performances.

MKAS had a stall there to support this event and promote the society.

11-Sep-2015

Will Joyce: Galaxies and Active Galactic Nuclei
Bredhurst Village Hall

Will Joyce was an Astronomer at the Observatory at Herstmonceux.
This educational talk provided an overview of the current understanding of our Galaxy and other normal galaxies. Active galaxies were presented including what we currently know or think we know about them, and how the unified model of their nuclei can be used to explain different classes of observed active galaxies.

After the tea break, a short talk followed on Will Adams, who was from Gillingham, and set up the first trading link between Britain and Japan. There is also an astronomy link between Will Adams and MKAS. This was presented in order to prepare for the Will Adams Festival taking place on the following day.

14-Aug-2015

AstroCamp 2015 (14-17 August)
Wych Cross, East Sussex

The 2015 AstroCamp was held on the long weekend of Friday 14 to Monday 17 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 was held on Saturday 15th, with many more visiting just on this evening.

We're already looking forward to next year's AstroCamp.



08-Aug-2015

Bredgar AstroCamp (8-13 Aug)
Bexon Lane Scout camp, Bredgar, Sittingbourne ME9 8HG



24-Jul-2015

Mike Phillips: Are We Alone - We Are Alone, Arent We?
Bredhurst Village Hall

It is 55 years since the official Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) began. This talk looked at how our desire to not be alone in the universe has fed into popular culture, and how the original assumptions of universal intelligent life requires an update and a rethink. After the break there was a debate thrown open to the audience - for or against?


10-Jul-2015

Callum Potter: Globular Clusters - Galactic Fossils
Bredhurst Village Hall

Callum is the Director of the British Astronomical Association's Deep Sky Section.

Callum looked at the history of observation of globular clusters, and at various astronomical techniques used to determine their properties. Some of which are quite surprising, as we find that stars in globular clusters are amongst the oldest to be found around our galaxy.

In addition to the theory, practical observing and imaging tips, and some suggestions of objects to view were given for observers at all levels of experience.

10-Jul-2015
Kent County Show (10-12 July)
Kent Showground, Detling Hill, ME14 3JF

MKAS had a stall and Solar telescope to promote Astronomy to the many visitors of this major annual event.

26-Jun-2015

Summer Barbecue Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

Our annual summer social and barbecue back by popular demand.

12-Jun-2015

Nik Szymanek: Introduction to Image Processing
Bredhurst Village Hall

Nik Szymanek, the renowned astrophotographer, came back to give us the next in the series of introductory talks on Astrophotography.

He discussed how once you have taken your images, how they are compiled from the raw data. He showed how the images are calibrated and then added together and also how colour images are produced.

An easy to follow and highly educational talk enjoyed by all.

29-May-2015

Nick James: What makes a great comet?
Bredhurst Village Hall

Comets are fascinating objects that have been in deep freeze since the earliest days of our Solar System. They range from faint objects, barely visible in the largest telescopes, to spectacular objects visible in broad daylight. There is still a lot we don't know about these objects but the current Rosetta mission is telling us a great deal.

Nick, who is the Asst Director of the BAA's Comet Section, explained what we know and talked about some of the Great Comets of history.

15-May-2015

Stargazing at Hernhill
Hernhill Village Hall and Playing Fields, Hernhill ME13 9JG (7-10pm)



08-May-2015

LiDAR + Practical Astronomy Projects
Bredhurst Village Hall

A fascinating introduction to Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) and its application in Space Projects was given by Prof David Rees.

Then, the following projects were introduced, and members were invited to take part in them:
- Planetary Group
- Observing the Moon
- Drawing the Moon & Planets
- Finding Venus & Jupiter
- GP20 Telescope

Other MKAS Projects will be introduced later in the year.

24-Apr-2015

Craig Underwood: Small Satellite Technology - Earth and Beyond
Bredhurst Village Hall

The University of Surrey, together with its spin-out company SSTL, is a world leader in the design, construction and operation of micro-satellites. Recent technological advances have made it possible to construct even smaller satellites, at an order of magnitude less cost. These 'nano-satellites' open up many new possibilities for space exploration.

Craig reviewed the history of satellite activities and described the technologies that will revolutionise space exploration in the 21st Century. A thoroughly enjoyable and highly informative talk.


11-Apr-2015

Stargazing at Oare
Oare Gunpowder Works, Oare near Faversham ME13 7UD (7pm-10pm)

An very successful and enjoyable evening for the adults and children that came to our Space Displays and Stargazing.

The two talks by Will Hughes on Moons of the Solar System and Mike Phillips on Journey to the End of the Dinosaurs were very much enjoyed by everyone, and displays were very educational and inspiring.

A number of telescopes were also on hand and the clear skies allowed us to show visitors first The Sun, then Jupiter, Venus and a number of deep sky objects. The International Space Station also came by to take a look!!

10-Apr-2015

BBC StarGazing Live Special
Bredhurst Village Hall

Two exciting talks were the main business of the evening:
Ian Hargraves: Space the Final Frontier
Mike Phillips: One Day in April: Two Giant Steps

Ians talk was a trip through the enormity of space and conveyed the vastness of the Universe as we currently know it. It also featured the numbers game: just how many stars and galaxies are there out there?

Mikes talk looked at two giant steps in the history of spaceflight that both took place on the same day in April, yet 20 years apart. Here we celebrated the flights of Vostok 1 and Space Shuttle Columbia, and the humans who risked their lives to make space history.

Plus there were some exciting displays and telescopes to observe Venus and Jupiter, and a number of deep sky objects, as it was fairly clear.

28-Mar-2015

BBC StarGazing Live Space Spectacular @Medway
Rainham School for Girls (4pm-9:30pm)

What an amazing event we put on including a whole range of educational and exciting stands, talks, children's activities, and our partners from Japan400 Group, Kent University, F1 Telescopes, Astronomy Now and so much more.
There was also rocket launching and Telescopes for viewing the Moon in between the clouds.

DETAILS

27-Mar-2015

Annual General Meeting
Bredhurst Village Hall

The Annual General Meeting was held, and all business was completed successfully.
There were a proposal to make some updates to the Constitution to allow more flexibility on the date of future AGMs and inclusion of Life Members as being part of the 'paid up membership'.
All business of MKAS has been successfully progressed.
The following members were voted on to the Committee (posts to be decided by the new committee at their next meeting):
Arthur Fentaman
Ian Hargraves
Will Hughes
Gavin Lacey
Mike Phillips
Naz Rajan
Bob Tollervey
Sarah Watson

The Minutes of the AGM will be posted here and on the Committee Minutes page soon.

20-Mar-2015

Partial Solar Eclipse
Isle of Grain Coastal Park Beach ME3 0BS (8am-11am)

Although the sheet cloud meant we didn't get a view of the Eclipse, the experience of darkening and the gathering of like-minded people was worth it.

A video of the MKAS Solar Eclipse event at Grain Beach, by Arthur Fentaman:


13-Mar-2015

BBC StarGazing Live Space Spectacular @Bredhurst
Bredhurst Village Hall

Another star-studded and packed event was laid on, including a range of educational and exciting stands, a fun and educational talk, children's activities, a Telescope Workshop for those who needed help with their Telescopes, and some other activities.


07-Mar-2015

BBC StarGazing Live Space Spectacular @Mote Park
Mote Park, Maidstone (1pm-9:30pm)

A very successful event was held at Mote Park in Maidstone on Saturday 7th March, when 4000 people entered the 9.5 hour event to learn and be inspired by the displays, talks, activities, planetarium, and observing that was on offer.
We were lucky with the excellent warm and clear weather, and everyone enjoyed it, including the 90 volunteers from MKAS and it's many partner organisations, which we owe our thanks.

These included Astronomy Roadshow, AstroDome, Astronomy Now magazine, Herstmonceux Observatory Science Centre, University of Kent, F1 Telescopes, David Hinds (Telescopes), UKSEDS (UKs student space society) and others.

Here are some quick Press news items:
ITV News
Kent Online


02-Mar-2015

Brownies
Maidstone (6-7:30pm)

MKAS helped with their Stargazing badge.




27-Feb-2015

Nick Achilleos: New light on Saturn
Bredhurst Village Hall

New colour maps of Saturn's major icy moons demonstrate how much NASA's Cassini mission has changed our view of the Saturn system. Over the past 10 years, data from the dynamic spacecraft duo of Cassini and Huygens has revealed many details of a surprisingly Earth-like world.

Nick, a researcher at UCL, shared the latest results from Cassini of this giant gas planet and its mysterious moons. In particular:
- the mysterious periodic 'signal' which appears in the magnetic and plasma datasets
- the variability of the hot plasma population and how it may 'inflate' the magnetosphere
- the 'magnetic memory' of Saturn's moon Titan

23-Feb-2015

Brownies
Maidstone (6-7:30pm)

MKAS helped with their Stargazing badge.




21-Feb-2015

Day of Astronomy & Stargazing
Dartford Orchard Centre

MKAS were on display promoting Astronomy to the public at Dartford, alongside organisers Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD) , and other Kent Astro societies.

Thanks to those of you who came along and gave your support.


13-Feb-2015

Rodney Buckland: Lunar Mission One
Bredhurst Village Hall

Lunar Mission One is the most inspirational Moon project since the Apollo landings. The Mission will be delivered by Lunar Missions Ltd and is supported by some of the most prominent bodies and institutions in science, education and space, including technical advisors, RAL Space (who were most recently involved in developing instrumentation for the Rosetta Philae Lander).

Rodney, a former NASA engineer and one of the founders of this exciting mission, explained the technology and the science behind this new way of doing space exploration and how you can reserve your place in space.

Click here for details on the project

07-Feb-2015

European AstroFest (6-7 Feb)
Kensington Conference and Events Centre, London

The annual European AstroFest was a big success, and a number of MKAS members went along to hear the talks, and visit the vast array of stalls to buy some interesting kit for themselves.


30-Jan-2015

Matthew MacDonell: The Sounds of Space
Bredhurst Village Hall

A primer on the fascinating world of radio astronomy. A journey from our own atmosphere to the depths of the galaxy we like to call home. Matthew shared how new technology is making radio astronomy accessible to the amateur astronomer and how we can all contribute towards useful science with special emphasis on the radio detection of meteors.

After Matthew's talk, audience members looked at some of the radio equipment that Matthew uses and detected some sporadic meteors.

The hardware Matthew showed can be bought here or better still, from this seller on eBay: SDRTAP

For the radio receiving software and the custom driver for the dongles, use SDRsharp
To pipe the audio out of the radio software SDRsharp and in to the spectrum analysis software use VB-Audio Virtual cable
The spectrum analysis software SpectrumLab can be downloaded from here


09-Jan-2015

Gavin Lacey & Luigi Papagno: Telescopes, Equipment, Observing, Sky Guide
Bredhurst Village Hall

This meeting discussed the different types of telescopes, their pros and cons, and which are best for different types of observing. Some basic and some more advanced and latest equipment were demonstrated, followed by an explanation of how to use a telescope and other equipment to observe different astronomical objects. A short Sky Guide followed to help get everyone up to date on what is available to see over the coming months, including Mercury and Comet Lovejoy.

A Workshop on Member Telescopes was run afterwards.

Click here for F1 Telescopes

13-Dec-2014
Geminids Meteor Watch
The Cock Inn, Luddesdowne



12-Dec-2014
Christmas Special: Could you survive on the Moon?
Bredhurst Village Hall

A fun-packed evening of socialising and an entertaining challenge from Naz Rajan, who led members and visitors through a Moon Survival Challenge developed by NASA.
A great evening for all those present, and a fun way to end another successful year for MKAS.

28-Nov-2014
Will Hughes: A Quest for Aliens + Special Announcement
Bredhurst Village Hall

A very educational and thought-provoking talk was given about the possibilities of life to be found elsewhere in the Solar System and other parts of the Galaxy. This was followed by an interactive session of members' views.

Following the tea break, a Special Announcement was made by Naz Rajan where he launched the new society website, and gave a quick demonstration of each part of the site. This includes a comprehensive section called THE GUIDE, which is aimed at beginners in Astronomy. He then invited feedback on what members and visitors would like to see.

15-Nov-2014
Comets and Curry
Herstmonceux

What a fantastic trip we had to the Herstmonceux Comets and Curry evening even though it was cloudy all night. We had a nice curry and then a presentation on comets and their tails and dust trails that cause meteor showers. This was then followed by a tour around the old professional telescopes that have been restored and got into working order again. Interestingly these scopes were all manufactured by Grubb or Grubb Parsons, the same manufacturer as built our GP20. We all came back fired with enthusiasm to get the GP20 up and running just as fast as funds will allow. All the astronomers at Herstmonceux said how lucky and privileged we are to have the GP20.

14-Nov-2014
Dr David Mannion: The Search for Dark Matter and Dark Energy
Bredhurst Village Hall

A highly entertaining talk through a variety of areas of what past scientists have discovered and onto what is known and yet to be known on this most mysterious aspect of the universe.

31-Oct-2014
Sky Guide: Gavin Lacey and Ian Hargraves
Bredhurst Village Hall

Our in-house Astronomers showed visitors what is available to observe in the Autumn skies, what the main sights can be observed with a small telescope, binoculars, and even the naked eye, and what the main techniques are to help you to find them.

10-Oct-2014
Paul Money: Images of the Universe Volume 4
Bredhurst Village Hall

A collection of stunning and very unusual images were shown and described in Paul's highly informative and entertaining style.
A particular favourite from the collection was The Cats Eye nebula (NGC 6543):

And the views from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Apollo landing sites (this one is Apollo 14):






Past Event Articles

» MKAS Trip to see the Total Solar Eclipse of August 1999



»EVENTS
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»PAST EVENTS


The James Irwin Observatory is
Currently Closed
and Due to Reopen

on 4th January 2019

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
 


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)





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