making astronomy accessible to all

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.
Click here for further details
TBC - Members only Perseid Meteor observing
High Halstow

This event will be held on either the 11th or 12th or 13th of depending on the most favourable weather forecast. An alert will be sent to all Members with a link to the event details and directions.

We intend meeting at 2030hrs as the meteors should become visible from 2100hrs and become more prominent as the night goes on. Saturn and Jupiter will also be visible looking South.

Please bring your own chairs and refreshments. Remember to wear warm clothes and/or bring a blanket.

A go/no go notification will be shown on the website so please check before travelling


Jeremy Phillips - Shooting for the Stars
Virtual Presentation by Zoom

As we are unable to hold our 45th birthday celebration in person at Bredhurst Jeremy has kindly stepped in to repeat the very successful presentation he made to the Streatham Festival.

Jeremy is intoxicated by astrophotography's cocktail of art, science and wonderment. Most of his images are taken from light-polluted Streatham where he has lived for 21 years.

His images range from nebulas (clouds of interstellar dust and gas) to galaxies millions of light years away.

Jeremy charts a journey beginning with the cheapest equipment- your mobile phone and an £80 telescope - showing how you can shoot the moon, capturing its craters and beautiful features, even from a light-polluted urban setting.

The journey progresses to shooting nebulas - beautiful, colourful clouds of gas and interstellar dust, thousands of light years away. Then it ventures deeper into space, revealing how galaxies millions of light years away can be captured.

Jeremy will attempt to demystify astrophotography – a mixture of art, science and technology. Anyone can take beautiful pictures of the moon with a minimum of help. Deep space objects are more challenging and require specialised equipment, but aren't as hard to capture as you might think and this workshop will explain why.

As usual we will have a question and answer session and the MKAS social chit chat social session

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 3” 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.


Greg Smye-Rumsby: Solar Eclipses
Virtual Presentation by Zoom

Popular speaker and long term friend of MKAS, Greg Smye-Rumsby, returns to provide another entertaining presentation, this time on the subject of Solar eclipses. Viewing a total Solar Eclipse is regarded as one of life's most spectacular experiences and should be on everyone's bucket list.

So with total solar eclipses visible in North America in 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2027 - two of which are visible from Europe too - this talk will provide a lot of interesting and useful information and will hopefully inspire us to try to observe one.

Greg Smye-Rumsby

Greg is a highly skilled technical illustrator and is a regular contributor to the UK's leading astronomy magazine, Astronomy Now. He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory and is co-author of 'The 3d-Universe' and inventor of the innovative RolloScope portable telescope.


Will Joyce - The outer planets
Virtual presentation by ZOOM

In this presentation Will summarises our current understanding of the outer planets in our Solar System and their most interesting natural satellites using recent imagery from telescopes and spacecraft. The atmospheres, interiors and local space environments of the gas and ice giant planets will be discussed along with their roles in the evolution of the Solar System. A major surprise of the early Space Age was the discovery that several outer planet moons are, or were, active worlds in their own right, and this talk will also explore some of these fascinating objects.

William Joyce

Bringing astronomy and space to the public is William Joyce’s passion. He has been fascinated by astronomy since the age of six, and enjoys sharing the wonders of the cosmos with the public, amateur and expert astronomers, and schools.

William has spent time as an astrophysicist, a spacecraft engineer, and until recently a planetary scientist. He provides outreach talks and short courses for astronomy societies, the public, schools and special events in the UK, overseas, and on-board cruise ships. He is a Chartered Physicist and a STEM Ambassador.

William is always delighted to share his enthusiasm for astronomy and diverse knowledge and experience with people of all ages and backgrounds who wish to learn more about fascinating areas of modern science, so please do ask him any burning questions you have on anything to do with space.


Rodney Buckland CBE and Prof David Rees - A virtual observing session with the Open University robotic telescope in Tenerife
Virtual presentation by Zoom

As amateur astronomers we are often frustrated by the variable UK weather. If only it would be clear more often and for longer! If only we could live somewhere with clear skies and virtually no light pollution!

Well for tonight we all have that rare opportunity as Rodney Buckland and David Rees explain how we can have free access to the Open University robotic telescope situated under the clear dark skies of Tenerife.

And as a SPECIAL BONUS they have managed to book a slot so we can observe a number of stunning objects in real time. There will also be a back up plan in the unlikely event of technical problems with the telescopes or with UK weather turning up in Tenerife!

Rodney Buckland

Rodney was a digital computing engineer in NASA's Deep Space Network in the late 60s, before becoming an expedition scientist in Antarctica and manager of science mission studies at the European Space Agency.

In recent years, he has been a Research Fellow and part-time Lecturer at The Open University, and is one of the founders of Lunar Mission One. He is currently supervising students carrying out research projects in the Open University’s MSc Space Science and Technology programme.

Prof David Rees

Prof David Rees has designed and built instruments for NASA, ESA, JAXA and other space organisations around the world. He designed and largely built the MSASI instrument that is part of the Bepi-Colombo payload that ESA/JAXA launched successfully toward Mercury in October 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 Salehurst 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 currently working on the Aeolus Calibration / Validation Programme for the Aeolus wind-measuring Lidar Satellite launched by ESA in August 2018.

David is an active member of MKAS and regularly observes using a 16” ODK from his back garden in Salehurst, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.

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


Lorne Whiteway - The not so constant Hubble constant
Bredhurst Village Hall

The Universe is expanding - but how quickly? In this presentation Lorne will describe how our understanding of the rate of expansion has evolved over the last 100 years, and how there is still disagreement over its value. Finally, he will describe what the future holds for the expansion rate.

Dr Lorne Whiteway

Lorne Whiteway studied mathematics first in his native Canada, then at the University of Oxford where he completed his doctorate in 1987. He then moved into the business world, designing and writing computer programs. His interest in astronomy started in 2004, and led to his purchase of an LX90 telescope. In 2010 he started taking distance learning courses in astronomy at the University of Central Lancashire, and in 2013, following an early retirement from business, he began a Master’s course in astrophysics at University College London. Since completing his MSc in 2015 he has worked as a researcher in UCL’s cosmology group.


Steve Tonkin FRAS - Two eyes are better than one!
Virtual presentation by Zoom

Binoculars are an ideal way of observing the night sky. Many beginners start off with binoculars and even if they eventually buy a telescope they will still use binoculars. Indeed, depending on the object being observed, binocular views can surpass the view from telescopes. Using two eyes is very often better than just using one!

In this talk Steve, who has used binoculars as his main observing instruments for decades, will guide us through the different types of binoculars and also the pitfalls to avoid when buying a pair.

This talk will be particularly useful to anyone thinking of buying a pair of binoculars for the first time or for those contemplating upgrading to a larger binocular or even a binocular telescope.

The talk will cover the objects most suited to binocular observation as well as other useful information to help get the best binocular views.

Stephen Tonkin

Steve Tonkin is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has been using binoculars for astronomy since the mid 1960s. He still uses binoculars as his main observing instruments. He runs his website which contains copious advice about choosing and using binoculars with detailed sky maps showing the best objects to observe. The website also has helpful reviews of many binoculars.

Steve is also the author of two books "Binocular Astronomy" and "Discover the Night Sky through Binoculars". Steve writes regularly for the Sky at Night Magazine where he both reviews binoculars and also produces a monthly guide with detailed charts showing the objects that are visible to observers with different size binoculars.

Steve also has a very popular Facebook page

In addition to giving talks about binoculars Steve has a wide range of other interesting astronomy talks.


Christmas Social
To be confirmed

An opportunity to get together, hopefully in person, but if not virtually, to discuss anything and everything. Hopefuly, a fun quiz and maybe a short presentation too. Final details will be confirmed in due course


  Regular Meetings (virtual)

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 7:50pm for 8pm.

All Regular 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. Everyone of all ages and levels of expertise is welcome, including complete beginners.

Following the presentation there will be a short comfort break followed by the main speaker answering your questions.

After the questions have been answered, we then have 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

  Regular Meetings (in-person, at Bredhurst)

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.

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.

These meetings are open to non-members who are welcome to attend and 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.

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.

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.

  Observing 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.

»Regular Meetings 
»Observing Open Evenings 
»Outreach Events 
»Member Events 
»Other Events 


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


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.

James Irwin Observatory

Meet in the Conservatory at:
Victoria Hotel
59 London Road,
Canterbury, Kent
You will then be escorted to the observatory at 8:30pm (Oct-Mar) / 9pm (Apr-Sep)

Click here for details

Mid-Kent Astronomical Society
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