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List of our past events since November 2014:
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30-Jul

Prof Ian Morison - Wonders of the Southern Skies
Virtual presentation by Zoom



Prof Ian Morison

Ian Morison joined the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory as a research student in 1965 before becoming a staff member in 1970. Initially working on data acquisition systems for the observatory's own instruments including the Lovell and Mk II radio telescopes, he went on to play a key role in the development of MERLIN, an array of radio telescopes with a resolution in the radio spectrum comparable to that of the Hubble Space Telescope in the optical.

On 1 August 2007 Ian was appointed as the 35th Gresham Professor of Astronomy, a position previously held by Christopher Wren. In this role he delivered a series of 25 public lectures on astronomy and astrophysics. The four-year period of Gresham Professorship came to an end in August 2011.

Ian is a founding member and now patron of Macclesfield Astronomical Society, a former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy and patron of Ewell Astronomical Society.




Ian now writes his own very interersting and helpful Astronomy Digest which can be found at http://www.ianmorison.com/

Previously Ian has written several books:-
Astronomy (2004, w. Margaret Penston)
Pocket Guide to Stars and Planets (2005 w. Margaret Penston)
Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology (2008)
An Amateur's Guide to Observing and Imaging the Heavens
A Journey through the Universe: Gresham Lectures on Astronomy (2014)
The Art of Astrophotography (2017)

His easy to follow style of writing reflects his relaxed and entertaining style of spoken presentations.

Main belt asteroid 15727 Ianmorison was named after Morison.


09-Jul

Dr Stuart Clark - Beneath the Night: How the Stars have shaped the history of humankind
Virtual presentation via ZOOM



Dr Stuart Clark

Stuart Clark is a widely read astronomy journalist. His career is devoted to presenting the complex world of astronomy to the general public. Stuart holds a first class honours degree and a PhD in astrophysics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a former Vice Chair of the Association of British Science Writers. On 9 August 2000, UK daily newspaper The Independent placed him alongside Stephen Hawking and the Astronomer Royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees, as one of the ‘stars’ of British astrophysics teaching.

Currently he divides his time between writing books and, in his capacity of cosmology consultant, writing articles for New Scientist. He is a consultant and writes for the European Space Agency where he was Senior Editor for Space Science for some time. Over the years Stuart has written for amongst others: BBC Sky at Night, BBC Focus, The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Daily Express, Astronomy Now, Sky and Telescope and Astronomy. He has written text for an issue of stamps for the Royal Mail. He writes an online blog for the Guardian called Across the Universe, read all around the world.

His latest books, published by Birlinn Polygon, are novels set around the times of greatest change in mankind's understanding of the Universe. The first book in the trilogy, The Sky's Dark Labyrinth, tells the stories of the lives and work of Galileo and Kepler against the backdrop of the extraordinary times in which they lived. Published in 2011, there is one fictitious character but almost everything written about the other men and women is based solidly in truth. Stuart spent five years reading letters and documents from the time. The second part is The Sensorium of God, published in 2012. It relates the life, times and work of Isaac Newton and his contemporaries in The Royal Society: Christopher Wren, Edmond Halley, Robert Hooke and others. Again one of the characters is fictitious to carry a story arc, but almost everything else in the book is true, drawn from letters and documents created by the men and their contemporaries. The trilogy's third book, The Day without Yesterday was published in 2013. For this account he leapt forward into the twentieth century to set the scene for the achievements of Albert Einstein and a Belgian priest, Georges Lemaître, who found so much more in Einstein's work. Lots of other scientists play their part and Stuart has found so many records of this particular era that no fictional character was needed to propel the story.

Stuart has two new book projects in the pipeline, returning for a while to non-fiction.

Stuart's book The Big Questions: The Universe, published in 2010 by Quercus, has now been translated into several other languages and is still easily obtainable in the UK. The Sun Kings, published by Princeton in 2007, is another of his current books and was written for the general reader. This book recounts the true story of a phenomenally powerful solar explosion that hit the Earth in 1859 and paints the picture of the Victorians who witnessed the awesome event. The Sun Kings was shortlisted by the Royal Society for their 2008 general science book prize and has been translated into Italian, Greek, Chinese, and for the Brazilian market, Portuguese.

Voyager, a big picture book published by Callisto exclusively for Waterstones for Xmas 2010, sold out and was reprinted for Xmas 2012. Earlier huge picture books such as Galaxy, a companion volume to Deep Space, both from Quercus, also take the reader from the furthest reaches of space and time to the beauty of the nearby celestial objects. Upon publication Deep Space was chosen by UK supermarket giant, Sainsbury, as their non-fiction book of the month. Some copies are still available on amazon.co.uk.

Until 2001, Stuart was the Director of Public Astronomy Education at the University of Hertfordshire. There he taught undergraduates, postgraduates and the general public, whilst researching star formation, planetary habitability and the origins of life. In a paper published by Science in 1998, he helped develop the current paradigm that the left-handed amino acids necessary for the origin of life on Earth were synthesized in star-forming regions spread throughout the Galaxy. In 2001, Stuart decided to increase his part-time writing to a full-time occupation. He remains a Visiting Fellow promoting the University and contributing to observatory open nights. Having crossed from mainstream science into science journalism, he now spends his working life translating astronomy, space research and physics into comprehensible language for the general public.

Thirteen other books written by Stuart Clark have been published to date, selling more than 250,000 worldwide and three of which he subsequently updated for second editions. Universe in Focus: The Story of the Hubble Telescope (Barnes and Noble, 1997) sold more than 100,000 copies. One of his children's books, Journey to the Stars (Oxford University Press, 2000), has sold more than 50,000 copies and was OUP's lead title for the 2001 Bologna Book Fair. These books have been translated into eight languages so far - German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Swedish and Danish. Stuart has made contributions to six other published books.

Stuart has written for BBC science programmes and co-wrote the script for a DVD about the Hubble telescope. He contributed to, as well as performing in, a National Geographic programme Storm Worlds. His other numerous television and radio contributions in person include Radio 4's Material World, Radio 3's The Essay, BBC's Tomorrow's World and Nine O'clock News, and Channel 4's Big Breakfast. Promoting his novels, The Sun Kings and Storm Worlds he has been interviewed on radio stations around the globe. He has made individual podcasts and a series of 12 based on The Big Questions: The Universe. Stuart has been the accompanying astronomer on a cruise ship and on an eclipse tour to China. He frequently lectures to the public up and down the UK and, increasingly, across the world.

In his sparse spare time his joint passions are cooking and playing rock guitar, but not at the same time.



25-Jun

David Southwood CBE - Magnetic Saturn
Virtual presentation via ZOOM



Prof David Southwood CBE

David was formerly the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency (2001-2011) and President of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) 2012-2014. He received a CBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Before going to ESA, he was a space scientist at Imperial College, London. At ESA, he oversaw building and launching spacecraft to Venus, Mars and the Moon as well as the Rosetta probe with lander Philae to comet Churymuov-Gerasimenko, in addition to several major space telescopes. He led the team that landed a European probe on Saturn’s largest moon Titan in 2005. An instrument he built at Imperial operated in orbit around the planet Saturn aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft from 2004-2017. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and won the 2011 Sir Arthur C. Clarke award for space achievement. He was chairman of the Steering Board of the UK Space Agency 2016-2019. He is currently a senior research investigator at Imperial College.



11-Jun

Prof David Rees - The Artemis project and water on the Moon and Mars
Virtual presentation via ZOOM



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.


28-May

Jane Green: Look Up, Live It, Love It
Virtual presentation via ZOOM



Jane Green

An elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS), Jane is now a sought-after presenter, motivational speaker, successful author, science writer, broadcaster, STEM ambassador and registered school speaker.

Having also co-presented with the late Sir Patrick Moore CBE FRS, celebrities and media professionals, Jane was invited to be the Inaugural Speaker for the Sir Patrick Moore Memorial Lecture at Holmewood House School, the school where Sir Patrick himself taught for eight years.

She has been featured in, and writes for, various astronomy publications, including the UK's BBC Sky at Night magazine and the USA's Sky & Telescope publication, and has scripted a live television/theatre interview with the second man on the moon, US astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin.

Her book, the Haynes Astronomy Manual, is an international bestseller and has been translated into several languages. A new edition has recently been released.
She weaves her special magic for select clients at corporate team-building events or before theatre audiences numbering 2000+. All have been enraptured.​

Her passion is making astronomy your passion. Her love for life will change your life.

"Jane has taken up the challenge of doing for a new
generation what Sir Patrick did for us all those years ago."
(DR BRIAN MAY)


14-May
Nik Syzmanek - Meteorological photography
Virtual presentation via ZOOM



Nik Szymanek

Nik Szymanek is an amateur astronomer based in Essex. He is a keen astrophotographer and regularly travels to dark sky observatory locations abroad, such as La Palma, Hawaii, Spain and Tenerife. These sites are perfect for deep sky astrophotography and Nik has also liaised with observatory staff to produce public-relations pictures taken with the professional telescopes at those locations. Back in the UK, Nik 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. Nik is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire's Centre for Astrophysics Research and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. In July 2004 he was invited to Berkeley, California, to receive the prestigious Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Amateur Achievement Award for 2004.

Recent projects include the installation of a remote robotic telescope in the mountains of southern Spain. Nik is the author of 'Shooting Stars' a book designed to help people get started in astrophotography. He has also written a book including many great images called 'Infinity Rising'


30-Apr

Annual General Meeting 7.45-10pm
Virtual presentation via ZOOM

» Agenda for the 2021 AGM
» Minutes of the 2019 AGM
» Minutes of the 2020 EGM
» Chairman Report 2019-2021 (given verbally at the meeting)
» Programme Secretary Report
» Treasurer Report 2019-2021 (given verbally at the meeting)
» MKAS Accounts 2019-2020
» MKAS Unaudited Accounts 2020-2021
» MKAS Proposed Constitution 2021
» MKAS Constitution 2020 - Found on this page
» Librarian & Archivist Report
» Committee Roles and Responsibilities

09-Apr

Damian Peach - High Resolution Astrophotography - imaging the planets with amateur telescopes
Virtual presentation via ZOOM



Damian Peach

Damian A. Peach FRAS is a British amateur astronomer, astrophotographer, lecturer and author. Best known for his photographs of a wide variety of astronomical objects. His career in the field spans nearly thirty years.

Peach's passion for Astronomy first began in 1988 inspired by books in his school library. Later he joined the British Astronomical Association (BAA) in 1996 and since then has contributed large amounts of observations to the various observing sections and also written and co-authored many papers in the organizations journal. He was awarded the organizations prestigious Merlin Medal in 2006. The same year he was also awarded the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO) Walter H. Haas award for his contributions.

Peach has provided astronomical images for magazines and books throughout his career. His images have featured in Astronomy Magazine, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy Now & The Sky at Night. He has also authored articles on astrophotography for these magazines. Peach has also been a co-author on several professional scientific papers on planetary astronomy, especially regarding work on Mars and Jupiter. He was one of only a few amateur astronomers to have work featured as part of the national Explorers of the Universe exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007. His work has also appeared at the Edinburgh Science Festival, and The Royal Greenwich Observatory.

Peach's work has also been used by NASA and ESA to illustrate what ground based telescopes can achieve in photographing the planets, and the support they can provide to professional space probe missions.

In 2011 Peach was crowned overall winner of the Royal Greenwich Observatory astrophotographer of the year competition, and was a prize winning finalist in 2012 - 2018. He also won 1st place in the National Science Foundation's Comet ISON photo competition for his image of the comet which was used by the media throughout the world during the comet's close approach to the Sun.

Peach has also appeared on BBC television in the UK. He first appeared on the BBC's All Night Star Party program in 2003 where he imaged Mars live for the program from the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma. Following that he made many appearances as a guest on the BBC's Sky at Night astronomy program hosted by Sir Patrick Moore. He has also appeared on BBC news and The Discovery Channel. Peach has also conducted many public talks to both amateur and professional organizations over the past 20 years. In 2015 he was made Honorary president of Adur Astronomical Society in the UK.

In 2017 he formed part of a small team of observers who used the famous Pic du Midi Observatory 1.06m telescope to obtain some of the most detailed ever ground based images of Jupiter and Saturn. The same year asteroid 27632 was re-named Damianpeach by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for his contributions to amateur astronomy. In 2018 he was elected to the board of the Aster Academy scientific committee and also awarded the Astronomical Legaue's prestigious Peltier award again for his contributions to astronomy.


26-Mar

Dr Megan Argo - When galaxies collide
Virtual presentation via ZOOM



Dr Megan Argo

Megan Argo, is a professional astrophysicist and freelance science communicator. Megan is a lecturer in astronomy at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston studying galaxies in the nearby universe with radio telescopes and she gives public lectures and schools workshops all over the Country.

Megan has worked as a scientist in the UK, Australia and the Netherlands, and been lucky enough to observe with some of the best radio telescopes around the world, in Europe, India, the USA and Australia. Megan’s passion for sharing the wonders of the universe with children of all ages has taken me from northern Scotland to outback Western Australia, via rural India, the mountains of Columbia, and cosmopolitan South Africa.

Megan is a Fellow and Vice President (A) of the Royal Astronomical Society, serving a second term on the organising committee for The International Astronomical Union (IAU) Communicating Astronomy with the Public, a member of the Institute of Physics, president of Shropshire Astronomical Society, and an honorary member of Macclesfield Astronomical Society.



12-Mar
Prof David Rees - a very late change of plan
Virtual presentation by Zoom



26-Feb

Prof Ian Morison - dark matter,dark energy and ---
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Prof Ian Morison

Ian Morison joined the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory as a research student in 1965 before becoming a staff member in 1970. Initially working on data acquisition systems for the observatory's own instruments including the Lovell and Mk II radio telescopes, he went on to play a key role in the development of MERLIN, an array of radio telescopes with a resolution in the radio spectrum comparable to that of the Hubble Space Telescope in the optical.

On 1 August 2007 Ian was appointed as the 35th Gresham Professor of Astronomy, a position previously held by Christopher Wren. In this role he delivered a series of 25 public lectures on astronomy and astrophysics. The four-year period of Gresham Professorship came to an end in August 2011.

Ian is a founding member and now patron of Macclesfield Astronomical Society, a former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy and patron of Ewell Astronomical Society.




Ian now writes his own very interersting and helpful Astronomy Digest which can be found at http://www.ianmorison.com/

Previously Ian has written several books:-
Astronomy (2004, w. Margaret Penston)
Pocket Guide to Stars and Planets (2005 w. Margaret Penston)
Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology (2008)
An Amateur's Guide to Observing and Imaging the Heavens
A Journey through the Universe: Gresham Lectures on Astronomy (2014)
The Art of Astrophotography (2017)

His easy to follow style of writing reflects his relaxed and entertaining style of spoken presentations.

Main belt asteroid 15727 Ianmorison was named after Morison.


12-Feb

Jonathan Tate - Near Earth Objects and the risks to humanity.
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Jonathan Tate

For 26 years Jonathan Tate was a serving Army Officer, specialising in surface to air missile systems. In June 1996 Tate submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defence and the British National Space Centre proposing the establishment of a British National Spaceguard Centre to study the NEO hazard. Scientists worldwide lent their support. The Ministry of Defence dismissed the proposal. Later the Department of Trade and Industry established a Task Force to investigate the threat. The subsequent report validated the hazard, and made significant recommendations for action. Implementation of these recommendations did not happen.

In January 1997 Tate established Spaceguard UK, which became the largest independent Spaceguard organisation in the world. Thanks to the efforts of the members the subject of Spaceguard has been publicly debated in both Houses of Parliament, and Tate has been a regular contributor on television and radio, also in professional and popular journals

Tate is a member of the Board of Directors of the international Spaceguard Foundation, a consultant to the International Astronomical Union Working Group on Near Earth Objects, an associate of COSPAR, the vice-president of the Space Development Council and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is the Director of the Spaceguard Centre in mid-Wales and took over the role of National Near Earth Objects Information Centre in October 2013.

In 2013 Tate was awarded the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement in Planetary Science.

In recognition of his work Asteroid 15116, discovered by the Spacewatch programme in 2000. has been named “Jaytate”.



29-Jan

Colin Stuart - How to weigh the Universe and Planet X
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Colin Stuart

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

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

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


08-Jan

Dr: Julian Onions - The Far Side of the Moon - is it full of Aliens?
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Julian Onions

Julian is a post doctoral researcher and astrophysist at Nottingham University. He works with computer simulations of large fractions of the universe to understand trends in galaxy formation and evolution. Investigating the tools that help us form and analyse such simulations such as halo finders, tree builders and semi-analytic models. He also does a number of outreach activities, giving talks to astronomy societies and other interested groups such as rotary and U3A, as well as working with schools and scouts/guide groups. He also helps with the teaching of undergraduates in some of the astronomy courses.


11-Dec-2020

Spectroscopy for amateur observers and virtual quiz social
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



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.

Graham Finch

Graham Finch is a longstanding member of MKAS and a Committee member. He has helped with many MKAS outreach events and often brings equipment along to enable people to view the night sky after our meetings. He also helped MKAS to raise a considerable sum of money for the GP20 project.

His interest in astronomy was first inspired by Eric Jones, a Maths teacher, at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School Rochester. Eric organised regular lunchtime lectures in astronomy and also allowed Graham to borrow the school’s 3 inch refractor. It was whilst working in the school library that Graham also came across some of the many astronomy books written by Sir Patrick Moore.

Graham is a keen amateur astronomer and is interested in all aspects of astronomy. He currently describes himself as a “frustrated astro-photographer!” He is also a member of the BAA, the SPA , the Webb Deep Sky Society and the Flamsteed Society.

He says he is an evenly balanced sort of guy – he has a chip on each shoulder!




27-Nov-2020
Ian Hargraves - Eyes on the Sky
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.


13-Nov-2020

Bob Mizon MBE - The Cape York Meteorite and a Little Known Story
Virtual Presentation by ZOOM



Bob Mizon MBE




30-Oct-2020

Roy Easto: Merging Neutron Stars
Virtual Presentation by ZOOM

140 million years ago, in a galaxy far away two neutron stars spiralled into an inevitable collision releasing a burst of gamma rays and gravitational waves that spread inexorably outwards. They reached Earth on the 17th August 2017 when they shook the astronomical community. This talk looked at what happened and what we have learned.

Roy Easto

Roy is an Amateur Astronomer from the Croydon Astronomical Society with a great interest in theoretical physics and cosmology. In the past an avid observer and occasional eclipse chaser. Now concentrates on computer simulations in Astronomy.


25-Sep-2020

Prof David Southwood CBE - Odyssey to Saturn and Titan: Cassini/Huygens
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Prof David Southwood CBE

David was formerly the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency (2001-2011) and President of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) 2012-2014. He received a CBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Before going to ESA, he was a space scientist at Imperial College, London. At ESA, he oversaw building and launching spacecraft to Venus, Mars and the Moon as well as the Rosetta probe with lander Philae to comet Churymuov-Gerasimenko, in addition to several major space telescopes. He led the team that landed a European probe on Saturn’s largest moon Titan in 2005. An instrument he built at Imperial operated in orbit around the planet Saturn aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft from 2004-2017. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and won the 2011 Sir Arthur C. Clarke award for space achievement. He was chairman of the Steering Board of the UK Space Agency 2016-2019. He is currently a senior research investigator at Imperial College.



11-Sep-2020
Zoom discussion - Alien life - what form, where and who cares?
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.

Will Hughes

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

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


31-Jul-2020
MKAS VIRTUAL SOCIAL MEETING
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.


10-Jul-2020
Prof David Rees - Recent Small Comets
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



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.


26-Jun-2020
Colin Stuart - Rebel Star: The Sun
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Colin Stuart

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

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

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


12-Jun-2020
Julian Onions - Galaxies one gigayear at a time
Virtual presentation by ZOOM



Julian Onions

Julian is a post doctoral researcher and astrophysist at Nottingham University. He works with computer simulations of large fractions of the universe to understand trends in galaxy formation and evolution. Investigating the tools that help us form and analyse such simulations such as halo finders, tree builders and semi-analytic models. He also does a number of outreach activities, giving talks to astronomy societies and other interested groups such as rotary and U3A, as well as working with schools and scouts/guide groups. He also helps with the teaching of undergraduates in some of the astronomy courses.


27-Mar-2020
Extraordinary General Meeting
Via Internet Connection



28-Feb-2020

The Big Fun Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall



14-Feb-2020

Rodney Buckland - One Galaxy, 7.8 billion earths
Bredhurst Village Hall



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.


31-Jan-2020
Romain Meyer - Galaxies in the First Billion Years
Bredhurst Village Hall



Romain Meyer

Romain is a PHD student in Astrophysiscs working at University College London. Using a wide range of observational probes and facilities from the optical and infrared to the millimeter
domain, Romain aims to understand the properties of the first galaxies and black holes in the first billion
years of the Universe, their impact on cosmic hydrogen reionisation and the early enrichment of the
circumgalactic/intergalactic medium.

Romain has published several scientific papers and talked at international conferences in Chile, France and Italy, as well as here in the UK.


10-Jan-2020

Peter Bassett - Astrophotography from a desert
Bredhurst Village Hall



Peter Bassett

Peter has studied Spaceflight & Astronomy from the age of five after seeing the Apollo 8 mission live on TV orbiting the moon for the first time in 1968. After a tour of the USA in 1992, he was inspired to set up a planetarium business teaching the subject up to A level. Peter also gives public lectures around the country including 'Are we Alone?' & 'Satellite Spotting from your garden'. He has performed in over 2000 different venues.


13-Dec-2019

Members and invited guests only - Christmas Social
Bredhurst Village Hall



29-Nov-2019

Dr Brendan Owens: The state of Solar physics in the 21st century
Bredhurst Village Hall



Dr Brendan Owens

Dr Brendan Owens MSc is the Senior Manager for Public Astronomy at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. As one of the astronomers at the Observatory, he presents planetarium shows, develops and presents schools' workshops, looks after the operation of the largest lensed telescope in the UK and also frequently talks about science fact versus science fiction. He holds a B.Sc. in Physics and Astronomy and an M.Sc. in Science Communication both from Dublin City University and has worked on projects regarding Solar Physics.


08-Nov-2019

Prof David Rees: Transit of Mercury
Bredhurst Village Hall



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.


25-Oct-2019

Robert Lines: The Dark Arts - an introduction to deep sky imaging
Bredhurst Village Hall



Robert Lines

Robert is a keen amateur astronomer and an active member of MKAS. He explains "I had a passion for chemistry from an early age and after graduating from Queen Mary, London University and spending some time at various Scandinavian Universities found a career as an industrial chemist. Being of a scientific bent, astronomy has always been an interest but I only acquired a ‘scope when I reached 58. Having an interest in photography, I quickly progressed from purely visual observing to astro imaging and persevered with the steep learning curve. Although imaging both solar system and deep sky objects can be a challenge given the UK weather it does make for a very satisfying hobby when successful."




11-Oct-2019

Graham Finch: An idiot's guide to Messier and some of the most beautiful objects in the night sky
Bredhurst Village Hall



Graham Finch

Graham Finch is a longstanding member of MKAS and a Committee member. He has helped with many MKAS outreach events and often brings equipment along to enable people to view the night sky after our meetings. He also helped MKAS to raise a considerable sum of money for the GP20 project.

His interest in astronomy was first inspired by Eric Jones, a Maths teacher, at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School Rochester. Eric organised regular lunchtime lectures in astronomy and also allowed Graham to borrow the school’s 3 inch refractor. It was whilst working in the school library that Graham also came across some of the many astronomy books written by Sir Patrick Moore.

Graham is a keen amateur astronomer and is interested in all aspects of astronomy. He currently describes himself as a “frustrated astro-photographer!” He is also a member of the BAA, the SPA , the Webb Deep Sky Society and the Flamsteed Society.

He says he is an evenly balanced sort of guy – he has a chip on each shoulder!




27-Sep-2019

Prof Ian Morison: Proving Einstein right
Bredhurst Village Hall



Prof Ian Morison

Ian Morison joined the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory as a research student in 1965 before becoming a staff member in 1970. Initially working on data acquisition systems for the observatory's own instruments including the Lovell and Mk II radio telescopes, he went on to play a key role in the development of MERLIN, an array of radio telescopes with a resolution in the radio spectrum comparable to that of the Hubble Space Telescope in the optical.

On 1 August 2007 Ian was appointed as the 35th Gresham Professor of Astronomy, a position previously held by Christopher Wren. In this role he delivered a series of 25 public lectures on astronomy and astrophysics. The four-year period of Gresham Professorship came to an end in August 2011.

Ian is a founding member and now patron of Macclesfield Astronomical Society, a former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy and patron of Ewell Astronomical Society.




Ian now writes his own very interersting and helpful Astronomy Digest which can be found at http://www.ianmorison.com/

Previously Ian has written several books:-
Astronomy (2004, w. Margaret Penston)
Pocket Guide to Stars and Planets (2005 w. Margaret Penston)
Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology (2008)
An Amateur's Guide to Observing and Imaging the Heavens
A Journey through the Universe: Gresham Lectures on Astronomy (2014)
The Art of Astrophotography (2017)

His easy to follow style of writing reflects his relaxed and entertaining style of spoken presentations.

Main belt asteroid 15727 Ianmorison was named after Morison.


13-Sep-2019

Graham Finch: So you want to buy a telescope!
Bredhurst Village Hall



Graham Finch

Graham Finch is a longstanding member of MKAS and a Committee member. He has helped with many MKAS outreach events and often brings equipment along to enable people to view the night sky after our meetings. He also helped MKAS to raise a considerable sum of money for the GP20 project.

His interest in astronomy was first inspired by Eric Jones, a Maths teacher, at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School Rochester. Eric organised regular lunchtime lectures in astronomy and also allowed Graham to borrow the school’s 3 inch refractor. It was whilst working in the school library that Graham also came across some of the many astronomy books written by Sir Patrick Moore.

Graham is a keen amateur astronomer and is interested in all aspects of astronomy. He currently describes himself as a “frustrated astro-photographer!” He is also a member of the BAA, the SPA , the Webb Deep Sky Society and the Flamsteed Society.

He says he is an evenly balanced sort of guy – he has a chip on each shoulder!




18-Aug-2019

Summer BBQ Social
Bredhurst Village Hall



27-Jul-2019

AstroCamp
Ashdown Forest, 27 Jul - 5 Aug

Another successful and highly enjoyed AstroCamp in the Ashdown Forest.

Next year's camp is in August.

26-Jul-2019

Prof David Rees: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission (Part 2)
Bredhurst Village Hall



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.


12-Jul-2019

Prof David Rees: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission (Part 1) How we nearly didn't land on the Moon!
Bredhurst Village Hall



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.


05-Jul-2019

90th Kent County Show 5th-7th July
Detling Showgound



28-Jun-2019

Prof Craig Underwood: Cleaning up Space
Bredhurst Village Hall

Over the last 60 years, many hundreds of satellites have been launched, resulting in many thousands of pieces of 'space debris' orbiting the Earth. If this debris is not removed, future access to space is at risk.
The University of Surrey has been at the forefront of developing and demonstrating some of the technologies that could enable this to happen. This lecture described the issues involved, and showed the results of recent Surrey missions: 'InflateSail' and 'RemoveDebris'.

Prof Craig Underwood

Prof Craig Underwood was Deputy Director of the Surrey Space Centre from 2007 to 2014.
He currently heads the Environments and Instrumentation Group developing the concepts, instruments and techniques to investigate the Earth and other planetary environments from space. Craig is author or co-author of some 200 scientific papers and teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on Spacecraft Engineering, Communications Payloads and Remote Sensing at the University of Surrey.


14-Jun-2019

Prof Alan Aylward: A sceptics' view of climate change
Bredhurst Village Hall



Prof Alan Aylward

Having read Natural Sciences at Cambridge Alan went 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, went 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 he retired. 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.


31-May-2019

Caroline Beevis: A Tour of The Southern Skies: Southern Hemisphere Constellations & Stars, Star Clusters and Local Star Lore
Bredhurst Village Hall



Caroline Beevis

Caroline's interest in the stars has taken her to such far-flung places as Namibia, where she was guest astronomer at a luxury lodge in the heart of the Namib Desert - you can see some of her Namibia photos here
... and closer to home, Chichester, where she has been involved with the South Downs Planetarium for over ten years. When Caroline is not stargazing, she is teaching guitar to children or riding her motorbike!


10-May-2019

Dr Carl Murray: Cassini at Saturn - The End of an Era
Bredhurst Village Hall



Prof Carl Murray

Carl is a Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. He is a planetary scientist who is interested in the motion of all objects in the solar system, from dust to planets, and he has co-authored the standard textbook on the subject, 'Solar System Dynamics'.

In 1990 he was selected as a member of the camera team for the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and he worked on the project until the demise of the spacecraft in September 2017. Carl is particularly interested in the dynamics of Saturn's rings and their gravitational interaction with small moons.

He is also an Associate Scientist on the camera team for ESA’s forthcoming JUICE mission to Jupiter and Ganymede.

In his career he has held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, a SERC Advanced Fellowship and a PPARC Senior Research Fellowship. After obtaining his BSc and PhD from Queen Mary he worked as a postdoc at Cornell University between 1980 and 1982 before returning to a postdoc position at Queen Mary where he has remained ever since.



26-Apr-2019

Family Space Night 7.30-10pm
Bredhurst Village Hall

Another successful Family Space Night, with over 100 people attending, including lots of kids who had an amazing time.

12-Apr-2019

Annual General Meeting
Bredhurst Village Hall

Our AGM marked the end of another successful year

29-Mar-2019

Prof Tim Horbury: Parker Solar Probe - flying through the Sun's atmosphere
Bredhurst Village Hall

In August 2018, the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft was launched on a mission to explore conditions close to the Sun. It will eventually reach just 4 million miles from the solar surface, just one twentieth of the Sun-Earth distance, dipping into the top of the Sun's hot atmosphere, the corona.
By the time of this talk, Probe will have already reached almost twice as close to the Sun as ever before, well within Mercury's orbit.
Tim introduced the science behind the mission, some of the engineering challenges and discussed some of the earliest data.

Prof Tim Horbury

Tim Horbury is a Professor of Physics at Imperial College London, where he studies processes such as turbulence and shocks in the solar wind. He also has an interest in space instrumentation and is Principal Investigator of the magnetometer instrument on the ESA Solar Orbiter mission, and a science team member of the Parker Solar Probe mission.


08-Mar-2019

Prof David Rees: Going to Mercury
Bredhurst Village Hall

Prof Rees has designed and largely built the MSASI instrument of the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, one of two spacecraft launched successfully by ESA in October 2018. They are now on their 6-year journey to Mercury as the Bepi-Columbo Mission, run jointly by ESA and JAXA.
David talked about our background knowledge of Mercury, the objectives of the MSASI Instrument and the Bepi-Columbo Mission and the new science that will be possible on arrival at Mercury in December 2024

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.


22-Feb-2019

Fundraising Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall

A very entertaining and popular evening, raising much needed funds for the GP-20 Telescope project.

08-Feb-2019

William Joyce: Observing the Moon
Bredhurst Village Hall

This talk will visited and described diverse features on the Moon's surface which are observable from Earth, and give information on their origin and context in lunar evolution.

Starting with a global view of 'highlands' and 'seas' (maria), through to large-scale features like impact basin and large craters, and down to many types of regional-scale features.

Valleys ('rilles'), lava rivers and tubes, volcanoes, different types of lava flows, 'wrinkle ridges', crater chains, collapse pits, and a mysterious 'swirl', all add to the experience of looking at the lunar surface in detail, and seeing beyond the craters and dramatic mountains to reveal our Moon as a geological complex world in its own right.

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.






25-Jan-2019

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

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

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

Colin Stuart

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

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

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


11-Jan-2019

Christine Brockley-Blatt: Building an Instrument for the Solar Orbiter
Bredhurst Village Hall

Planned for launch in 2020 and flying closer to the Sun than Mercury, Solar Orbiter will carry a comprehensive complement of remote sensing and in situ instrumentation. Four of the spacecraft's ten instruments have UK involvement, providing a unique opportunity for the UK solar, heliosphere and plasma communities.

This talk presented the overall mission goals, provided an update on the current status of the mission and summarised the process of building the Solar Wind Analyser space instrument for the mission.

Christine Brockley-Blatt

Chris Brockley-Blatt is a Senior Project Manager at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL) and the project manager for the Solar Wind Analyser instrument.

She is a STEM ambassador, a Chartered Engineer and an Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


14-Dec-2018

Christmas Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

A very social affair with food, drink and videos and a chat

30-Nov-2018

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)!

Bernard Winchester

Bernard is a retired lecturer, and still likes to speak on a variety of subjects. He has been interested in astronomy (and a member of the Croydon Astronomical Society) for over fifty years.


09-Nov-2018

Nick James: Modern Meteor Astronomy
Bredhurst Village Hall

Nick gave a fascinating presentation where he covered the use of high sensitivity cameras and software to automate meteor detection and measurement.

Nick James

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

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

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


26-Oct-2018

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.

Bob Oseman

Bob is a Life member of MKAS, and is currently retired, after a long and varied career at the Ministry of Civil Aviation as a Drawing Office Assistant, the Post Office Engineering Department (now BT), the Chief Signaling Engineer’s Department of London Transport, the Ministry of Defence headquarters on acquisition of strategic communication systems and as an information scientist for the MOD, and finally the Royal Navy as Information Officer to the Department of Nuclear Science and Technology.

Bob has an MSc from London City University and has several published papers and publications.

He is a very much loved member of MKAS with a great enthusiasm for understanding and communicating how things work in simple terms, which is always fascinating and enjoyable to listen to.


12-Oct-2018

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.

Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.


28-Sep-2018

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.

Prof Alan Aylward

Having read Natural Sciences at Cambridge Alan went 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, went 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 he retired. 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.


14-Sep-2018

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.

Rebecca Whentringhame

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


01-Sep-2018

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

MKAS had a stall at this event.

04-Aug-2018

AstroCamp
Ashdown Forest

Another successful and highly enjoyed AstroCamp in the Ashdown Forest.

Next year's camp is in August.

27-Jul-2018

Summer BBQ Social
Bredhurst Village Hall

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

13-Jul-2018

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?

Will Hughes

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

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


29-Jun-2018

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!!

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.


08-Jun-2018

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.

Nik Szymanek

Nik Szymanek is an amateur astronomer based in Essex. He is a keen astrophotographer and regularly travels to dark sky observatory locations abroad, such as La Palma, Hawaii, Spain and Tenerife. These sites are perfect for deep sky astrophotography and Nik has also liaised with observatory staff to produce public-relations pictures taken with the professional telescopes at those locations. Back in the UK, Nik 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. Nik is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire's Centre for Astrophysics Research and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. In July 2004 he was invited to Berkeley, California, to receive the prestigious Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Amateur Achievement Award for 2004.

Recent projects include the installation of a remote robotic telescope in the mountains of southern Spain. Nik is the author of 'Shooting Stars' a book designed to help people get started in astrophotography. He has also written a book including many great images called 'Infinity Rising'


25-May-2018

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.

Peter Bassett

Peter has studied Spaceflight & Astronomy from the age of five after seeing the Apollo 8 mission live on TV orbiting the moon for the first time in 1968. After a tour of the USA in 1992, he was inspired to set up a planetarium business teaching the subject up to A level. Peter also gives public lectures around the country including 'Are we Alone?' & 'Satellite Spotting from your garden'. He has performed in over 2000 different venues.


11-May-2018

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.

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.






27-Apr-2018

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.

Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.

Will Hughes

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

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


13-Apr-2018

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

30-Mar-2018

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?!

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.



09-Mar-2018
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.

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.


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 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.

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.


09-Feb-2018

Fundraising Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall

General knowledge quiz to raise funds for the GP20 Telescope project

26-Jan-2018

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-2018

Visit to National Space Centre
Leicester

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

12-Jan-2018

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.

Bob Oseman

Bob is a Life member of MKAS, and is currently retired, after a long and varied career at the Ministry of Civil Aviation as a Drawing Office Assistant, the Post Office Engineering Department (now BT), the Chief Signaling Engineer’s Department of London Transport, the Ministry of Defence headquarters on acquisition of strategic communication systems and as an information scientist for the MOD, and finally the Royal Navy as Information Officer to the Department of Nuclear Science and Technology.

Bob has an MSc from London City University and has several published papers and publications.

He is a very much loved member of MKAS with a great enthusiasm for understanding and communicating how things work in simple terms, which is always fascinating and enjoyable to listen to.


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.

Colin Stuart

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

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

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


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.

Prof Alan Aylward

Having read Natural Sciences at Cambridge Alan went 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, went 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 he retired. 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.


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.

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



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

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.


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.

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.



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.

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.


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!

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.


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.

Nik Szymanek

Nik Szymanek is an amateur astronomer based in Essex. He is a keen astrophotographer and regularly travels to dark sky observatory locations abroad, such as La Palma, Hawaii, Spain and Tenerife. These sites are perfect for deep sky astrophotography and Nik has also liaised with observatory staff to produce public-relations pictures taken with the professional telescopes at those locations. Back in the UK, Nik 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. Nik is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire's Centre for Astrophysics Research and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. In July 2004 he was invited to Berkeley, California, to receive the prestigious Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Amateur Achievement Award for 2004.

Recent projects include the installation of a remote robotic telescope in the mountains of southern Spain. Nik is the author of 'Shooting Stars' a book designed to help people get started in astrophotography. He has also written a book including many great images called 'Infinity Rising'


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.

Dr Robin Catchpole

Currently works at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University.
Retired as Senior Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in September 2003.
Joined the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) in 1962. After obtaining a BSc at University College London, he was posted to the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, S Africa (now the South African Astronomical Observatory) and spent the next 24 years, working first in Pretoria and then Cape Town.
Obtained his doctorate at the University of Cape Town. In 1991 he returned to the RGO in Cambridge, until it closed in 1998, when he moved to Greenwich as Senior Astronomer.
Has authored and co-authored over 120 research papers and articles and used a number of telescopes around the world including the Hubble Space Telescope. Research interests include, the composition of stars, exploding stars, the structure of our Galaxy and galaxies with black holes at their centres.
Has given numerous popular lectures and radio and TV interviews.
Originated the design of the 33 ton bronze truncated cone at the new Astronomy Centre in Greenwich, completed and opened by the Queen, in 2007.
Is currently part of the team intending to build the Solar Pyramid, which will be the largest sundial in the world.
In 1981 Robin married the sculptor Gill Wiles (1940-2014)


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.

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



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.

Will Hughes

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

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

Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.


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.

Mike Foulkes

Mike is the director of the British Astronomical Association’s (BAA) Saturn, Uranus and Neptune Section. He is also on the committee of the BAA's Jupiter Section.

He has been interested in astronomy since a young age. He is an active observer; particularly of the Moon and planets. He also has been to a number of Total Eclipses of the Sun.

For many years, he has given various talks to amateur astronomical societies and also participates in the BAA Back to Basics courses, which are aimed at beginners in amateur astronomy.

He works in the spacecraft industry.


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.

Naz Rajan

Naz has been a member of MKAS since 1979, and is currently a Life member and committee member.

He has a passion for Spaceflight, and witnessed three Shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral, including the first and last launches of the Shuttle, all from close by viewing sites amongst other astronauts and their families.



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.

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.


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.

Will Hughes

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

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


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.

Gavin Lacey

Gavin has had an interest in astronomy from the age of 12 and owned his first telescope at the age of 15. He started learning the night sky as a purely visual observer using a small stars and planets book.

Some years later and Gavin is still very much a visual observer but has now moved on to imaging the planets, Sun and Moon whilst still attempting deep sky astrophotography when possible, with amazing results.


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.

Konrad Malin-Smith

Konrad, a life member and past chairman of the Croydon Astronomical Society, has given hundreds of talks to astronomical societies for over 20 years, including the Mid-Kent Astronomical Society.

As a retired science school teacher, he is very good at explaining complex science in very simple ways, usually using models and demonstrations he has developed personally.

Konrad is an Eclipse chaser, having gone to many exotic and not-so-exotic places around the world to see the splendour of Total Solar Eclipses. Konrad has an asteroid (minor planet) named after him, 10381 Malinsmith. It was discovered on 3rd September 1996 by Brian G.W. Manning at Stakenbridge.



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?

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.



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)

Sheridan Williams

Sheridan is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and ex-Director of the Computing Section of the British Astronomical Association. He was a founder contributor to Britain's longest running personal computing magazine 'Personal Computer World' and was a Senior Lecturer in computer science and mathematics at Hendon College, and chairman of the Elliott 803 computer users group in the early 1970s. Prior to that he worked as a 'Rocket Scientist' with the Ministry of Defence using analogue computers. After running his own very successful computer network company for 20 years he retired. He now works as a volunteer for the National Museum of Computing (http://www.tnmoc.org) at Bletchley Park. Sheridan also provides computer support to the partially sighted members of the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind). He is also the secretary of the Open University Astronomy Club. Sheridan is the 'astronomy tour guide' for various tour companies such as Ancient World Tours and Astro-Trails and takes groups to remote places to witness astronomical events such as eclipses, transits, aurorae, meteor showers and observatories. This has taken him to places as diverse as Siberia, the Atacama Desert in Peru, Madagascar, the Gobi desert in China, Libya, Tahiti, Morocco, Sulawesi and many other places. Sheridan has seen 15 total solar eclipses. In the 1990s Sheridan was a modestly successful car rally, sprint and racing driver competing in the latter events in a Ferrari.

Built own telescope in 1966 (200mm Newtonian). Volunteer guide at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park's Code-breaking centre and home of Colossus (the world's first programmable computer). Publications include a book on UK Total Solar Eclipses, Bradt Guides to the 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2009 total eclipses; plus a combined 2012/2013 eclipses and Venus transit guide. Appearances on TV and radio, including presenting Sky TV's total eclipse programme from Cornwall in 1999. Writes regular features for the local paper. Lectures widely to astronomical societies, and other interest groups. Also interested in computer processing techniques applied to digital astronomical images.



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.

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.





Caroline Beevis

Caroline's interest in the stars has taken her to such far-flung places as Namibia, where she was guest astronomer at a luxury lodge in the heart of the Namib Desert - you can see some of her Namibia photos here
... and closer to home, Chichester, where she has been involved with the South Downs Planetarium for over ten years. When Caroline is not stargazing, she is teaching guitar to children or riding her motorbike!


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.

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.


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.

Peter Bassett

Peter has studied Spaceflight & Astronomy from the age of five after seeing the Apollo 8 mission live on TV orbiting the moon for the first time in 1968. After a tour of the USA in 1992, he was inspired to set up a planetarium business teaching the subject up to A level. Peter also gives public lectures around the country including 'Are we Alone?' & 'Satellite Spotting from your garden'. He has performed in over 2000 different venues.


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.

Mike Phillips

Mike has been a member of MKAS since 1979 and has been on and off committee since 1981 holding many of the posts. He is a former University Lecturer in earth science, though admits to having just a layman's interest in cosmology, and does not do calculations on the backs of envelopes! His other interests are in planetary geology, learning how to take digital astronomy images, variable stars and space exploration.


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.

Dr Mike Hewitt

Originally from Aylesbury, Mike has lived in Kent for many years.

He studied Mathematics at Oxford University and Particle Physics at the University of Kent, and currently teaches Computing at Canterbury Christ Church University. Mike's research interests include string theory as a theory of gravity and quantum computing.

He lives with his partner and son near Canterbury.


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



Nik Szymanek

Nik Szymanek is an amateur astronomer based in Essex. He is a keen astrophotographer and regularly travels to dark sky observatory locations abroad, such as La Palma, Hawaii, Spain and Tenerife. These sites are perfect for deep sky astrophotography and Nik has also liaised with observatory staff to produce public-relations pictures taken with the professional telescopes at those locations. Back in the UK, Nik 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. Nik is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire's Centre for Astrophysics Research and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. In July 2004 he was invited to Berkeley, California, to receive the prestigious Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Amateur Achievement Award for 2004.

Recent projects include the installation of a remote robotic telescope in the mountains of southern Spain. Nik is the author of 'Shooting Stars' a book designed to help people get started in astrophotography. He has also written a book including many great images called 'Infinity Rising'


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.

Arthur Fentaman

Arthur is a published astrophotographer and active MKAS member.

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.

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.


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.

Guy Hurst

Guy Hurst has been an active observer of the night skies since 1971, specialising in novae and supernovae. From 1975 to this day he has been editor of The Astronomer an international monthly magazine. He is also a former president of the British Astronomical Association from whom he received their top award, the 'Walter Goodacre Medal'.

He set up the UK Nova/Supernova Patrol in 1976 which now has some of the most successful discoverers of these objects in the world.

In 2005 he also received the international award, �Services to Astronomy� from the professional group, the Royal Astronomical Society for promotion of the subject to audiences of all ages.

For over 15 years he has also run adult education courses for astronomy in five counties and 18 centres, this in addition to giving talks to various groups and astronomical societies throughout the UK.


08-Apr-2016

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



Caroline Beevis

Caroline's interest in the stars has taken her to such far-flung places as Namibia, where she was guest astronomer at a luxury lodge in the heart of the Namib Desert - you can see some of her Namibia photos here
... and closer to home, Chichester, where she has been involved with the South Downs Planetarium for over ten years. When Caroline is not stargazing, she is teaching guitar to children or riding her motorbike!

Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.


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



Bob Marriott

Bob Marriott has pursued astronomy since he was a very young child. He joined the British Astronomical Association in 1968, and was appointed Curator of Instruments in 1991 and Director of the Instruments and Imaging Section in 2003. He writes and lectures on the history of astronomy and the history and development of instruments.

Bob is Director of the Instruments and Imaging Section of the British Astronomical Association, and Editor at the Oxford University Press


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

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.

Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.


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!

Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.


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

Ian Hargraves

Ian has been observing for more than 30 years and has his own observatory equipped with an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that he uses for both visual observing and astro-photography. Ian has given many presentations including beginner's astronomy talks and introductions to astro-imaging.

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.


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.

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.


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.

Peter Bassett

Peter has studied Spaceflight & Astronomy from the age of five after seeing the Apollo 8 mission live on TV orbiting the moon for the first time in 1968. After a tour of the USA in 1992, he was inspired to set up a planetarium business teaching the subject up to A level. Peter also gives public lectures around the country including 'Are we Alone?' & 'Satellite Spotting from your garden'. He has performed in over 2000 different venues.


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.

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.


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.

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.


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!

Mike Phillips

Mike has been a member of MKAS since 1979 and has been on and off committee since 1981 holding many of the posts. He is a former University Lecturer in earth science, though admits to having just a layman's interest in cosmology, and does not do calculations on the backs of envelopes! His other interests are in planetary geology, learning how to take digital astronomy images, variable stars and space exploration.


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.

Will Hughes

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

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


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.

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.






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?

Mike Phillips

Mike has been a member of MKAS since 1979 and has been on and off committee since 1981 holding many of the posts. He is a former University Lecturer in earth science, though admits to having just a layman's interest in cosmology, and does not do calculations on the backs of envelopes! His other interests are in planetary geology, learning how to take digital astronomy images, variable stars and space exploration.


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.

Callum Potter

Callum Potter is Director of the Deep Sky Section of the British Astronomical Association and a regular contributor to Astronomy Now magazine. Principally a visual observer of the deep sky, Callum is particularly interested in observing galaxies, globular clusters and planetary nebulae.


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.

Nik Szymanek

Nik Szymanek is an amateur astronomer based in Essex. He is a keen astrophotographer and regularly travels to dark sky observatory locations abroad, such as La Palma, Hawaii, Spain and Tenerife. These sites are perfect for deep sky astrophotography and Nik has also liaised with observatory staff to produce public-relations pictures taken with the professional telescopes at those locations. Back in the UK, Nik 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. Nik is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire's Centre for Astrophysics Research and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. In July 2004 he was invited to Berkeley, California, to receive the prestigious Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Amateur Achievement Award for 2004.

Recent projects include the installation of a remote robotic telescope in the mountains of southern Spain. Nik is the author of 'Shooting Stars' a book designed to help people get started in astrophotography. He has also written a book including many great images called 'Infinity Rising'


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

Prof Craig Underwood

Prof Craig Underwood was Deputy Director of the Surrey Space Centre from 2007 to 2014.
He currently heads the Environments and Instrumentation Group developing the concepts, instruments and techniques to investigate the Earth and other planetary environments from space. Craig is author or co-author of some 200 scientific papers and teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on Spacecraft Engineering, Communications Payloads and Remote Sensing at the University of Surrey.


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!!

Will Hughes

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

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

Mike Phillips

Mike has been a member of MKAS since 1979 and has been on and off committee since 1981 holding many of the posts. He is a former University Lecturer in earth science, though admits to having just a layman's interest in cosmology, and does not do calculations on the backs of envelopes! His other interests are in planetary geology, learning how to take digital astronomy images, variable stars and space exploration.


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.

Mike Phillips

Mike has been a member of MKAS since 1979 and has been on and off committee since 1981 holding many of the posts. He is a former University Lecturer in earth science, though admits to having just a layman's interest in cosmology, and does not do calculations on the backs of envelopes! His other interests are in planetary geology, learning how to take digital astronomy images, variable stars and space exploration.


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.

Will Hughes

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

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


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

Dr Nick Achilleos

Nick works with the Atmospheric Physics Laboratory within UCL's Department of Physics and Astronomy, which is also part of the UCL Centre for Planetary Sciences. His current research interests broadly cover the magnetospheres and ionospheres of giant planets (Jupiter and Saturn) and how these systems are coupled together. Previously, Nick have been a mission planner for the team who manage the magnetometer instrument onboard the Cassini spacecraft, currently orbiting the planet Saturn.



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

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.


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


Matthew MacDonell

A keen amateur radio astronomer and speaker for the Amateur Radio Group of Sussex, which is a showcase for radio and radio astronomy centred at the Herstmonceux observatory and science centre in East Sussex. Matthew is also a keen visual amateur astronomer himself.


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.

Will Hughes

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

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


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



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The James Irwin Observatory is
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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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