making astronomy accessible to all

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All regular meetings are open to members and visitors, held on the second and last Friday of each month, except August and at Christmas, when there are no meetings. Unless otherwise stated, meetings normally open at 7:50pm for an 8pm start, finishing around 10pm.

Covid precautions:
• Please do not to attend if you have tested positive in the last week or have COVID symptoms
• Please use the hand sanitisers that will be provided
• Please respect other Members' requests regarding social distancing

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DATEDETAILS
08-Mar
DETAILS

Doug Edworthy, FRAS - All you need to know about telescopes!
Bredhurst Village Hall

This presentation will suit novices and experienced telescope users alike and will help those thinking of investing in new equipment or upgrading existing systems..
Doug Edworthy will start by explaining the differences between different types of telescope and examples will be displayed in the hall.
Experienced MKAS members will be on hand to answer questions.
Members with particular telescope problems can bring their 'scopes along to get advice at an informal 'telescope clinic'.

Please register in advance, if you intend to bring your telescope to request assistance, noting the make and model of your equipment.

Please email membersec@midkentastro.org.uk to book your place.
SPEAKER DETAILS
Doug Edworthy

Doug's passion for all things to do with space was triggered as a small child as he listened to the beep-beep sounds of Sputnik 1 on the radio as the 'first man-made moon' circled the globe. By the time he was ten he was into amateur radio short-wave listening, building crystal sets, thermionic valve TRF receivers and, as the technology became available, transistorised superheterodyne receivers.
After college, he worked for ITT Consumer Products and then moved to Millbank Electronics in Uckfield. During his time there Doug became involved in induction loop technology for hearing-aid users and in the writing of British Standard 7594. He later became the 'UK expert' for several related International Electrotechnical Committee standards.
Doug eventually found himself as both a Technical Director and a Shareholder of Millbank and discovered a talent for quality management systems, taking the company through BS 5750:part 1 certification. He also spent time as President of the Institute of Sound & Communications Engineers and was awarded Honorary Fellowship in 2005.
In 1994 Doug set up his own consultancy business in audio electronics and in business management systems and undertook a 5-year OU course which resulted in a Post-Graduate Diploma in Computing.


22-Mar
DETAILS

Tom Field - Spectroscopy
Bredhurst Village Hall

Tom will demystify the science of spectroscopy and explain the art of spectral imaging.

To capture the spectra, there's no steep learning curve; there's no complicated software processing; there's no need for a lot of math or to have a Ph.D. in astrophysics; and there's no need for expensive equipment or dark skies. All it takes is an inexpensive 1.25in grating, and a small telescope (or DSLR). With a few clicks, you get exciting scientific results. And from those results, you can gain a rich understanding of the life cycle of stars.

Join Tom in the meeting to learn more.
SPEAKER DETAILS
Tom Field

Tom Field was a Contributing Editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine for ten years. He’s the founder of Field Tested Systems and the author of the RSpec software (www.rspec-astro.com) which received the S&T “Hot Product” award. A pioneer in amateur astronomical spectroscopy, Tom promises to demystify the field and open the door for you to do easy hands-on science.


10-Apr

Visit to the Library of the Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BQ

The Librarian, Sian Prosser, will be displaying some gems from the RAS collection of books and artefacts and explain their history and significance.
The Tour will begin at 2pm and last 1-2 hours.
Numbers are limited to 15. To book your place please contact the Membership Secretary (membersec@midkentastro.org.uk). The cost will be ??£5 payable in advance via the Membership Secretary.

12-Apr
DETAILS

Jeremy Phillips - Shooting for the stars
Bredhurst Village Hall

Astrophotographer Jeremy Phillips (FRAS) describes himself as "an Earthling locked in a futile battle with clouds and light pollution". Based in south London, he must contend with a severe city sky-glow when capturing deep sky objects from his back garden. However, for a few years now, Prof David Rees and wife Wendy have generously provided Jeremy with a welcome escape route to dark skies above their home in East Sussex. The result is a series of images including nebulas, galaxies, supernovas, comets, moon shots, meteors, and the Milky Way. In this presentation, Jeremy will display all these targets, but settle in more detail on the process of taking Milky Way images, since these require DSLRs or full-frame mirrorless cameras and avoid the need for expensive equipment. With their lower costs, DSLRs make astrophotography accessible to more of us and, after all, if you buy one and discover you don't enjoy astrophotography, you can always use it for other things instead. Jeremy will reveal techniques for successfully combining the Milky Way with landscapes and show how to bring out the hidden wonders within its structure.
SPEAKER DETAILS
Jeremy Phillips

By profession Jeremy works as an executive producer making documentaries and factual programmes for the Discovery TV network. He first got interested in astronomy at 11 years old when his father bought him a second hand 3in refractor telescope. After getting up at 3am, he pointed it at the brightest object in the sky and couldn't believe what he saw. Jeremy said" it actually had rings. This was Saturn of course, and it blew me away. From that moment I was hooked. Through astrophotography I still get the same buzz today."

During the night Jeremy looks at the sky, often travelling several hours to a dark sky location, but by day he enjoys life with his wife and two daughters at his our home in south west London.


26-Apr

Annual General Meeting
Bredhurst Village Hall

This is your chance to discuss how the Society operates and to make suggestions about future activities, to appprove the annual accounts and to elect the Committee for the forthcoming year. Any Member can put themselves forward for election to the Committee. Indeed we would welcome some new blood so please do not be shy in volunteering.

Please send any proposals for changes to society business to secretary@midkentastro.org.uk by no later than 12 April 2024.
The Constitution can be viewed and downloaded from HERE.

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

Please download and review the following documents: [1 of 3 documents are available]
- Agenda for the 2024 AGM
- Minutes of the 2023 AGM (Draft)
- Committee Roles and Responsibilities

The following reports will been sent to members in advance of the AGM:
- Treasurer's Report and Accounts 2023-2024

The following reports will be presented at the AGM:
- Treasurer's Report and Accounts
- Chairman's Report
- Programme Secretary's Report
- Membership Secretary's Report
- GP20 update

10-May
DETAILS

Nik Szymanek - Adventures with Robotic Imaging
Bredhurst Village Hall

With the many recent developments in this field Nik will enlighten us and illustrate his talk with many new images.
SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

Nik Szymanek is an amateur astronomer based in North Essex. He is a keen astrophotographer and is a regular monthly columnist for Astronomy Now magazine and has appeared on the BBC's 'The Sky at Night', 'Inside Out' and 'The Final Frontier' television programmes.

Other interests include lecturing to astronomical, photographic and science societies. In July 2004 he was invited to Berkeley, California, to receive the prestigious Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Amateur Achievement Award for 2004. Nik is the author of three books, ‘Infinity Rising’, 'Shooting Stars' and ‘Shooting Stars II’, all three designed to help people get started in astrophotography.

Recent projects include the installation of a remote robotic telescope in the mountains of southern Spain. Nik is an ‘Ambassador / Tutor’ for the Telescope Live remote imaging platform and has created many image processing tutorials based around the data taken with Telescope Live’s many telescopes.


31-May
DETAILS

Carys Herbert - Hunting Outbursting Young Stars citizen science project
Bredhurst Village Hall

The Hunting Outbursting Young Stars (HOYS) citizen science project collects amateur astronomy data of nearby (<1 kpc), young (<10 Myr) star forming regions to conduct long term multi-filter photometric monitoring. The project aims to obtain one image per filter per region everyday. Since the project launched in 2014, it has gathered around 100 000 images. In this talk, I introduce the citizen science project and offer details on involvement. I will present the science aims and achievements of the project, spotlighting my PhD research into surface spots on young stars.
SPEAKER DETAILS
Carys Herbert

Carys completed an MPhys in Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Kent in 2020. She is working for a PhD at the University under the supervision of Dr Dirk Froebrich. Her thesis working title is “The Evolution of Surface Features of Young Stellar Objects”. https://www.kent.ac.uk/physics-astronomy/people/4086/herbert-carys
Carys is also actively involved in the International Astronomical Youth Camp (https://www.iayc.org/), a voluntary organisation which since 1969 has run annual summer camps for young people around the world. She is currently Vice-President of three organisation.


14-Jun
DETAILS

Ashley King - The Story of the Winchcombe Meteorite Fall
Bredhurst Village Hall

The Winchcombe meteorite is the first 'rock from another world' to be recovered in the UK for 30 years. Guided by videos from the UK's meteor and fireball camera networks, the main mass was found on a driveway in Gloucestershire only 12 hours after landing. Over 500 g of the Winchcombe meteorite are now being curated at the Natural History Museum (NHM), London, and it is both scientifically and culturally priceless; as a fresh carbonaceous chondrite fall it holds vital clues about our origins, while its rapid recovery and analysis is a shining example of international collaboration between scientists, citizen-science projects, and local communities.

Event Image courtesy of NASA
SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Ashley King

Ashley is a?Research Fellow at the Natural History Museum, London, where he investigates the origins of the Solar System and formation of planets through the laboratory analysis of meteorites and samples returned by space missions. He is a member of the sample analysis teams for the Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx missions and the current lead of the UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAll), a collaboration between meteor camera networks that aims to recover freshly fallen meteorites in the UK


28-Jun
DETAILS

Sue Bowler - The Promise of Gravitational Waves
Bredhurst Village Hall

Over the past 5 years, a new type of astronomy has found a surprising number of otherwise undetected black holes and an unexpected range of masses. But why did it take 4 decades to detect gravitational waves? And what does the new detector technology offer for the future?
Image courtesy of Caltech.
SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Sue Bowler, FRAS

Sue is an experienced editor and writer with a 30 year history in science research communication, in astronomy, geophysics, geology and general physical sciences. She currently edits the Royal Astronomical Society’s magazine ‘Astronomy & geophysics’ (A&G) and A&G Forum.


12-Jul
DETAILS

David Bryant - Space rocks and planetary formation
Bredhurst Village Hall

David Bryant is familiar to many for making meteorites available via his website http://www.spacerocksuk.com/. At this meeting David will reveal how space rocks can reveal details about the formation of the planets, including the Earth we live on.
SPEAKER DETAILS
David Bryant

Following a brief career as a Naval Officer, David Bryant trained to be a teacher at Brentwood College of Education, Essex, teaching across all phases in Norfolk for over thirty years. He gained a science degree from the Open University, and used his scientific knowledge and his passion for astronomy to build up an online business trading in space rocks and other space memorabilia. He has written seven books, many magazine articles and has made numerous TV and radio appearances


26-Jul

Speaker / Summer Event TBC
Bredhurst Village Hall



 


Regular Meetings

Regular meetings are held on the second and last Friday of each month, except August and at Christmas, when there are no meetings. Meetings normally start at 7:45pm for 8pm.

These meetings are open to everyone of all ages and levels of expertise, including complete beginners.

In-person meetings held at Bredhurst Village Hall

All Regular meetings are held at Bredhurst Village Hall unless otherwise stated.
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.

There is a small entrance fee for each meeting to cover refreshments and other meeting costs.

Following the presentation there will be a refreshments break giving a chance to talk with other MKAS members and visitors, followed by 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.

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.


Virtual meetings (held occasionally)

Occasionally, we hold virtual meetings where the speaker is not able to visit in person.
All virtual meetings are held on Zoom unless otherwise stated.

These meetings are open to members as part of their annual subscription, and also available to non-members who are welcome to attend, for a fee of £3.

Following the presentation there will be a short comfort break followed by the main speaker answering your questions. This is then followed by a "Chit-Chat" session for all present who wish to stay on, where we have the opportunity to discuss any astronomical topics or ask any questions to those present.

Non-members who wish to attend can make their request by emailing us by no later than noon on the day before the event, at MemberSec@midkentastro.org.uk
 



Observatory Open Evenings

The James Irwin Observatory is
Confirmed CLOSED
It will remain closed until further notice.

On the Fridays when we do not hold our regular meetings at Bredhurst, and depending on the weather, we open our James Irwin Observatory in Canterbury for those who wish to do some observing.

We first meet at the Victoria Hotel from 8pm (Oct-Mar) / 8.30pm (Apr-Sep). Thirty minutes later, you will be escorted to the Observatory. Venue details are found on the left of this page.
 


Outreach Events

MKAS often get asked to hold Astronomy events for various schools, councils, scout groups and other groups. The committee and other supportive members are very actively organising and holding events from small shows or talks to Spectacular Events where several thousand members of the public typically attend.
 


Member Events

We organise various astronomy-related events and trips for our members. These are often subsidised.
 


Other Events

Members may also be interested in other astronomy-related events, run by other groups and societies, that our members are welcome to attend.



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

If you wish further information on MKAS or any of the meetings, events and activities of the Society, please contact us, using the details on the CONTACT page.





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The James Irwin Observatory is
Confirmed CLOSED
It will remain closed until further notice.
 


MEETING VENUES

REGULAR 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.

OBSERVATORY 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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