making astronomy accessible to all

MENU
PAST EVENTS
Recent Events

» Past Events Gallery and Media Articles

List of our past events since November 2014:
DATEDETAILS
10-May
Nik Szymanek - Adventures with Robotic Imaging
Bredhurst Village Hall


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

SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

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

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

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


26-Apr
Annual General Meeting
Bredhurst Village Hall


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

The Constitution can be viewed and downloaded from HERE.

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

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

The following report has been sent to members:
- MKAS Accounts 2023-2024

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

12-Apr
Jeremy Phillips - Shooting for the stars
Bredhurst Village Hall


Astrophotographer Jeremy Phillips (FRAS) describes himself as "an Earthling locked in a futile battle with clouds and light pollution". Based in south London, he must contend with a severe city sky-glow when capturing deep sky objects from his back garden. However, for a few years now, Prof David Rees and wife Wendy have generously provided Jeremy with a welcome escape route to dark skies above their home in East Sussex.

The result is a series of images including nebulae, galaxies, supernovas, comets, moon shots, meteors, and the Milky Way. In this presentation, Jeremy will display all these targets, but settle in more detail on the process of taking Milky Way images, since these require DSLRs or full-frame mirrorless cameras and avoid the need for expensive equipment.

With their lower costs, DSLRs make astrophotography accessible to more of us and, after all, if you buy one and discover you don't enjoy astrophotography, you can always use it for other things instead. Jeremy will reveal techniques for successfully combining the Milky Way with landscapes and show how to bring out the hidden wonders within its structure.
Some of the images taken by Jeremy can be viewed on his website http://jeremyphillipsastro.squarespace.com/

SPEAKER DETAILS
Jeremy Phillips

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

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


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


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

22-Mar
Tom Field - Spectroscopy
Bredhurst Village Hall


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

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

Join Tom in the meeting to learn more.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Tom Field

Tom Field was a Contributing Editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine for ten years. He is the founder of Field Tested Systems and the author of the RSpec software (www.rspec-astro.com) which received the S&T Hot Product award. A pioneer in amateur astronomical spectroscopy, Tom promises to demystify the field and open the door for you to do easy hands-on science.


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


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

Doug's Slides and Notes for his talk can be downloaded HERE

SPEAKER DETAILS
Doug Edworthy

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


23-Feb
Dr. Jeni Millard - To the South Pole
Bredhurst Village Hall


No, not our South Pole - the one that is nearly 400,000km away from Earth, yet just as icy, desolate, and dangerous to explore. In this talk, Dr Jeni Millard will explore our celestial companion, what we've been up to since the days of Apollo, and our modern-day efforts to return to the Moon.

Event image courtesy of Gavin Lacey

SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Jeni Millard

Jeni Millard is an astrophysicist and science communicator and Hon. President of the Barry Astronomical Society. She was awarded her Ph.D. by Cardiff University in 2021. Her thesis was entitled 'The stuff between the stars: on the evolution of the interstellar medium in the real and simulated universe'.
While continuing her research during the pandemic/lockdown she became increasing interested in sharing her passion for astronomy with a wider audience and became writer and host of the popular 'Awesome Astronomy' podcast. She is also Managing Editor of Fifth Star Labs 'Sky Guide' App and is a science presenter for BBC1 Wales 'Weatherman Walking' series.
Other than astronomy, Jeni's interests include films and exploring places in the U.K.


09-Feb
Peter Grimley - The European Southern Observatory: over 60 years at the cutting edge of astronomy
Bredhurst Village Hall


The European Southern Observatory (ESO) was established in 1962 to provide astronomers in Europe with access to the southern skies by operating an observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert, via an agreement with the government of Chile. Its five founding Member States have now grown to sixteen, including the UK, which joined in 2002. Since its inception ESO has been at the forefront of technological and engineering development and it now operates a suite of telescopes on three sites, alongside a number of hosted instruments located at ESO's observatory sites. ESO is currently building the biggest telescope ever constructed - the ELT. In this talk Peter will describe ESO, its history and some of the cutting-edge instruments it now operates, and will highlight just a few of the remarkable discoveries made with those facilities.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Peter Grimley

Peter Grimley is an editorial consultant working with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), through a contract with Design & Data GmbH, and with the US National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab), the International Astronomical Union and the Hubble and Webb communications teams of the European Space Agency. He has a PhD in astronomy from University College Cardiff and held teaching and research posts in University College Dublin, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and St Patrick's College Maynooth. He then spent some years in the Civil Service, before returning to the arena of astronomy in a variety of public engagement roles. Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and arranges a regular series of talks for the Friends of the RAS (www.ras.ac.uk/friends).


26-Jan
Stephen Wilkins - A tale of two telescopes: JWST and Euclid
Bredhurst Village Hall


The culmination of decades of effort by scientists and engineers across the world, JWST launched on Christmas Day 2021 and commenced scientific observations a little less than a year ago. In this time JWST's exquisite sensitivity, resolution, and wavelength coverage has enabled astronomers to explore our Universe as never before. We've now peered through clouds of gas and dust to observe stars and planets forming, analysed the atmospheres of alien planets, and discovered galaxies present when the Universe was only a tiny fraction of its current age.

In 2023 JWST was joined by ESA's Euclid satellite. While smaller, and thus less sensitive, Euclid has a much larger field-of-view ultimately allowing it to survey around 1/3 of the entire sky with Hubble quality imaging. Euclid's capabilities will allow it to map out structures across the Universe allowing us to better understand the mysterious dark matter and dark energy.

In this talk Stephen will introduce both JWST and Euclid and present some of the insights from JWST so far.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Stephen Wilkins

Born and raised in Yorkshire, Stephen completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Durham before gaining his doctorate from the University of Cambridge. Stephen then moved to Oxford where he worked as a research fellow. In 2013 Stephen was appointed a lecturer in astronomy at the University of Sussex and is now a Reader and Head of Astronomy.
Stephen is the Astronomer in Residence at The Observatory Science Centre.


12-Jan
Colin Stuart - A Universe of Infinities
Bredhurst Village Hall


Infinity is a notoriously tricky concept to juggle with. It’s not even really a number and yet it seems to crop up time and again when
astronomers try to understand our universe.
Did the universe start from an infinitely small speck? Can the universe really be infinitely big? Can there be infinitely many universes in an infinitely big multiverse? Find out in this talk.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 the science block of his old school for charity.


08-Dec-2023
The Christmas Social - MEMBERS ONLY - FREE ENTRY
Bredhurst Village Hall


An opportunity to get together for a few fun activities, including (astro)bingo, a raffle and our usual socialising session. Please bring your own pencil for the bingo!

We look forward to seeing you in your party hats to get the festive season underway. There will be free hot sausage rolls and warm mince pies.

24-Nov-2023
Gavin Lacey - Imaging the Moon using high speed planetary cameras
Bredhurst Village Hall


MKAS member Gavin Lacey will explain how to take great pictures of the Moon using high speed cameras. This should encourage everyone, no matter what their level of camera skill, to 'have a go' and take their own images of our nearest neighbour in the night sky.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


17-Nov-2023
Nik Szymanek - Affinity Photo workshop
via Zoom 7.30-9.30 p.m.


Join this special Workshop with Nik Szymanek on the use of this powerful photo-editing software. Learn how to calibrate your astro-images using stacking of, Light, Dark, Flat and Bias frames to improve the raw image. Then follow along with Nik while he uses the power of Affinity to tease out every last detail from those calibrated images. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions / request advice.

The workshop will assume some prior knowledge / use of the Affinity Photo software. To get the full benefit from the Nik's Workshop it is recommended that you have Affinity Photo V1 or V2 installed and running on your PC/Laptop.

There will be no charge for members to attend the workshop, but you must register with the Membership Secretary (membersec@midkentastro.org.uk) by 15th November to receive the Zoom link.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

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

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

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


10-Nov-2023
FAMILY SPACE NIGHT
Bredhurst Village Hall


THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED


If you want some more fun for yourself or your children or grandchildren after the excitement of half term and firework night, then look no further than our Family Space Night!

We are offering a brilliant evening which will include a beginner's guide to the night sky and displays about astronomy and space, We will have some hands on activities for the younger children from age 7 upwards. There will be plenty to occupy adults too!

Come along and learn about Space and Astronomy and, weather permitting, go outside and look at some interesting astronomical sights through a selection of telescopes.

We will have the latest electronically assisted observing telescopes allowing several people to log on and view the objects at the same time, as well as more conventional designs. Steps will be provided to help shorter adults and children reach the eyepieces.

Some highlights to look forward to:
- MEGA RAFFLE with over £500 worth of prizes, including two telescopes, a pair of binoculars, subscriptions to Astronomy Now and the Sky at Night Magazines and many more,
- Hands-on displays about Space and our Solar System
- A talk by Arthur Fentaman FRAS - "Heavens above - a beginner's guide to the night sky".
- The scale of the Solar System
- Moon rock and Meteorites: Look at different meteorites and hold a piece of the Moon!!
- Limited supplies of Lunar, Martian and other meteorites for sale!
- Spectroscopy and the science of light
- Craft activites for youngsters (7+)
- Stargazing outside (weather permitting).

PLUS - PLUS - PLUS
- FREE REFRESHMENTS - tea, coffee,squash and biscuits
- other refreshments on sale

Doors open at 19:30pm.
ENTRY ONLY BY ADVANCE PURCHASE OF TICKETS.. Entrance will cost only £3 for adult visitors and £1 for Members. Under 18s are FREE but they MUST be accompanied by an adult.

REMEMBER! It may well be quite cold outside at this time of year so wrap up warm if you are venturing outside to do some stargazing and to look through the telescopes.

POLITE REQUEST
Whilst it will obviously be dark outside we ask you not to use normal white light torches near the telescopes as they will spoil your night vision and that of others. We will have red lights to guide you to and from the telescopes.

PLEASE NOTE - we are all volunteers and the programme of events may change due to circumstances beyond our control.

Find out more about our GP20 telescope project here



SPEAKER DETAILS
Arthur Fentaman

Arthur is a published astrophotographer and active MKAS member. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2020.


27-Oct-2023
David Southwood, CBE, FRAS - Comets, asteroids and things that fall from the sky
Bredhurst Village Hall


40 years ago, the prospect of Comet Halley's return in 1986 led to the start of a space race towards the small bodies of the solar system. These small bodies, comets, asteroids and meteor showers, are immensely important as they are the likely raw material from which our solar system formed originally. However, also in the early 80s, the geological discovery of a distinct sedimentary layer containing far more Iridium than occurs naturally on Earth led to the notion that it marked the remains of a catastrophic impact of our planet with a celestial body. The impact, dated to 66Myr ago, appeared to wipe out many species, most famously the dinosaurs. Accordingly, small system bodies not only provide evidence of how our planet and its life started but also are a threat to life on our planet. In the 21st C., for both the reasons above, small bodies in our solar system are important targets for space missions. The talk will explore some of the history and what is planned.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.



13-Oct-2023
Doug Edworthy - Internet resources for the amateur astronomer: a review
Bredhurst Village Hall


Doug's talk will cover some of the useful internet resources available to amateur astronomers that he has discovered during his twelve-year amateur astronomy journey from being an interested outsider to someone who knows his way around an equatorial mount.
For Doug's favourite sites Click here

SPEAKER DETAILS
Doug Edworthy

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


29-Sep-2023
Dr. Robert Massey - A Cluttered and noisy sky
Bredhurst Village Hall


65 years ago the Soviet Union placed the first satellite in space. There are now around 5,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO), the region up to 2,000 km above the ground, and their deployment is accelerating. 2019 saw the launch of Starlink, a satellite constellation built and launched by SpaceX, a system that on its own could soon have more than 30,000 spacecraft deployed. With other operators we could soon see up to 300,000 satellites in LEO by the end of this decade.
This is nothing less than a step change in our use of space. And like most paradigm shifts, it will have significant consequences. A key example is how it will affect the science of astronomy and our view of the sky. Some estimates suggest that as many as 1 in 10 'stars' visible could be satellites, and professional and amateur astronomers alike now face significant challenges to our work. As a result our community has mobilised, working at a national, international and global level to tackle a complex problem, and to try to find a balance between the positive results of boosting communications and the impact on the space environment.
Robert will set out the problem, what it means for scientists and the wider public, and what we can do about it.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Robert Massey

Dr Robert Massey is Deputy Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society. Before joining the RAS, his career took him from PhD research in Manchester to teaching in Brighton, and local politics in London alongside a stint as Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. In his spare time he enjoys running, cycling, hiking and cooking, and generally making the most of life in his new family home in Sussex. With a lifelong private and public passion for astronomy, he very much wants to avoid a world where satellites ruin our shared heritage of an unsullied night sky.


08-Sep-2023
Greg Smye-Rumsby - Arrokoth and the Sentinels
Bredhurst Village Hall


The formative years of the Solar System is still poorly understood. As we learn more our comprehension becomes more focused. Missions sent to study distant small worlds fills in much of the detail and the more sophisticated the suite of instruments designed to study them the better our understanding.
And so in 2006 New Horizons was launched, its remit - to study Pluto, its moon Charon and any other smaller moons that might be discovered en route. But it was also clear that other more distant targets should be sought with a view to see these tiny frozen worlds close up. Being essentially extremely old and unaltered, these relics might be the key to how the planets formed.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 a prominently involved in running the very well attended Astrofest Conference and Exhibition held at Kensington Town Hall in February each year.
He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he gives entertaining and informative planetarium shows.
He is co-author of 'The 3d-Universe' and inventor of the innovative RolloScope portable telescope.


28-Jul-2023
MKAS Summer Barbecue
Bredhurst Village Hall


MKAS Members and their families are invited to the Summer Social, where you can take it easy and meet other like-minded astronomers.

Entrance is free to MKAS members and their family.

Bring your own food for the barbecue (or a takeaway if you wish!) and any alcoholic (or other!) drinks you will need. MKAS will provide salads and sauces, plus tea, coffee and squash.

Don't worry about the weather as we will definitely have the BBQs lit and can eat in the Hall if necessary.

14-Jul-2023
A talk prepared by John Fox, presented by Prof. David Rees - E.E. Barnard - an extra-ordinary Astronomer of the mid-late 19th Century
Bredhurst Village Hall


E.E. Barnard is now best remembered for discovery of Barnard's Loop in Orion.
That, by itself, at the time was something of an incredible "mission impossible" achievement!
The talk will review the incredible background and many achievements of Barnard, considering that these were made in the extremely early and primitive days of Astro-Photography, starting around the end of the American Civil War.
Despite the primitive, low-sensitivity emulsions, many amazing images were obtained of a wide range of DSOs. Patience, long observing nights!!!
The talk will also review the major contributions that Barnard made to pressing potential benefactors for the funding and development of the major US telescopes and observatories of the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
These telescopes and their ground-breaking images of the time, paved the way for understanding the diversity of galaxies and the true age and immense scale of the Universe.

SPEAKER DETAILS
John Fox

John is Chairman of Wealden Astronomers and is a STEM Ambassador doing astronomy outreach and the stargazing evenings at the OSC. He also used to be a volunteer driver on the Volk's Electric Railway in Brighton?" his great, great uncle was Magnus Volk who built the railway in 1883!
John has spent over 53 years in the professional photographic arena and has practical experience in all formats of film equipment up to and including 5in x 4in plate cameras.
He won 'Photographer of the Year' in the 1983, 'Southern Press Radio and Television' Awards and has also won three 'Ilford' awards during his 32 years as a press photographer working both in Sussex and Manchester. Outside of his press photography adventures John has also photographed over 1,400 weddings during his long career.
John switched to digital in 2003 and has embraced the freedom of shooting and editing digital imagery. Now semi-retired, John has taken the opportunity to pursue his passion for astrophotography, panorama and 360 VR along with his love of all things video including SFX editing techniques.

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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.

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


30-Jun-2023
Tony Roberts - Astronomical oddities
Bredhurst Village Hall

Tony will give an informative, yet light-hearted talk about the weird, strange and mistaken ideas that can be found throughout the history of the study of astronomy.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Tony Roberts

Tony’s interest in astronomy started in childhood in the late 1960s. He remembers the delicious dark skies of the Winter of Discontent and the power cuts! Croydon was never darker! He joined Croydon AS in 1977 and was a small part of the team that opened the Norman Fisher Obs’ at Kenley in 1979. Eventually becoming Chairman in 1985-87 and currently on his second term which started in 2016.
With a passion for sharing the science and wonder of the night sky Tony is involved in various outreach programmes at Croydon and elsewhere and operates as a STEM Ambassador. He was elected FRAS in 1984.
In astronomy his main interests are observing comets, variable stars and Saturn and the history of astronomy. Outside of astronomy Tony is a Churchwarden, occasional motorcyclist and lapsed pilot with 23 types on logbook.


09-Jun-2023
Will Hughes - A Quest for Aliens
Bredhurst Village Hall


Have you ever found yourself staring up at the night sky and wondering "Does life really exist elsewhere beyond Earth?". Well, we have absolutely no idea at the moment! However, we could be tantalisingly close to addressing this question within the context of our own Solar System.

Will's talk will examine the current space missions which are attempting to collect the evidence we need to determine the presence of life on key candidates such as Mars, Europa and Titan. He will also explore the potential for discovering life beyond our own Solar System, including the mind-boggling statistical chances of the Earth being the only planet where life exists.

Be prepared for a talk filled with some very weird scientific facts, numerous (cheesy) Sci-Fi references and even a few psychological conundrums!

SPEAKER DETAILS
Will Hughes

Will has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.



26-May-2023
Steve Cookson - The search for dark matter continues
Bredhurst Village Hall


Over the last 2 years, Steve has worked with Professor Xavier Hernandez, from the National University of Mexico (UNAM), to investigate whether there are indications of Dark Matter to be found in widely separated Binary Star systems as well as in other more commonly known areas such as galaxies. Their first co-authored scientific paper was published in the 'Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society' in 2022 and they are continuing to collaborate on further areas of interest.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Stephen Cookson

Steve is an IT professional, active member of Crawley Astronomical Society and a keen amateur imager with an interest in Dark Matter. Over the last 2 years, Steve has worked with Professor Xavier Hernandez, from the National University of Mexico (UNAM).


12-May-2023
Dr. Rodney Buckland - Exoclock - opportunities for all
Bredhurst Village Hall


Between 2025 and 2028, the UK will lead two very significant Space Missions (Ariel and Twinkle) to investigate the atmospheres and other crucial properties of Exoplanets, of which more than 4000 have already been discovered.

One of the principle targets is to identify exoplanets that might have atmospheric composition similar to that of planets within our own Solar System, or even traces of molecules such as O2 or CH4 that are thought to indicate the presence of life forms. The instrumentation carried by these spacecraft is designed to enable these molecules to be detected, if present.

Exoclock, a programme also led from the UK is an international pro-am collaboration aimed at measuring the most accurate ephemerides of the transits of as many as possible of the candidate exoplanet targets as accurately as possible, prior to the launch of the Ariel and Twinkle Missions. Several hundred observers, distributed globally, have contributed to Exoclock, using mainly modest telescopes of 15 to 40 cm aperture. The programme and its ongoing results will be described, including ways that amateurs can provide valuable additional observations for the programme.

Within the Exoclock Programme, several additional studies have been performed, for example to characterise how modern CMOS cameras, such as the advanced QHY range, can be best adapted and calibrated for enhancing Exoclock observations.

https://www.exoclock.space/project

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


28-Apr-2023
Annual General Meeting
Bredhurst Village Hall


An evening of business followed by fun!

The MKAS AGM will take place first - See below for full details.
The AGM will be followed by:
• Sky Guide - What to see in the month ahead
• MKAS App - the relaunch!
• Social time - catch up with your friends with tea/coffee and cake (no charge - one night only!)
• PLUS: the MKAS Raffle

There will be no admission charge.


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

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

Please download and review the following documents:
- Agenda for the 2023 AGM
- Minutes of the 2022 AGM
- Committee Roles and Responsibilities
- The Constitution can be viewed and downloaded from HERE.
No proposals for changes to society business were received by the deadline of 14 April 2023.

The following report has been sent to members by MKAS Alert email:
- Treasurer's Report and Accounts 2022-2023

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

14-Apr-2023
Dr. Jeni Millard - The Hidden Universe
ZOOM ONLY


Did you know that more than 99% of the Universe is invisible to the human eye? In this talk, we will explore the electromagnetic spectrum, chronologically following the discovery of different wavelengths of light and how they are used to uncover secrets of the cosmos.

This Zoom meeting will be available to all members and visitors on a complementary basis.
If you are a visitor and need the link to join, please contact
membersec@midkentastro.org.uk


SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Jeni Millard

Jeni Millard is an astrophysicist and science communicator and Hon. President of the Barry Astronomical Society. She was awarded her Ph.D. by Cardiff University in 2021. Her thesis was entitled 'The stuff between the stars: on the evolution of the interstellar medium in the real and simulated universe'.
While continuing her research during the pandemic/lockdown she became increasing interested in sharing her passion for astronomy with a wider audience and became writer and host of the popular 'Awesome Astronomy' podcast. She is also Managing Editor of Fifth Star Labs 'Sky Guide' App and is a science presenter for BBC1 Wales 'Weatherman Walking' series.
Other than astronomy, Jeni's interests include films and exploring places in the U.K.


31-Mar-2023
Prof. Jan-Peter Muller - Mapping the surfaces of Mars and the Moon from orbit and from the surface: a status report
Bredhurst Village Hall


Based on over 30 years experience of working on projects arising from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory's collaboration with the NASA & ESA Lunar and Martian missions, Prof. Muller will illustrate how the techniques for mapping the surface of these bodies from orbit have developed over the years. Prof. Muller will also describe highlights of what we have learned from these imaging studies, along with many anecdotes from his work with many International Colleagues.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Prof Jan-Peter Muller

Jan-Peter Muller received a BSc. degree in Physics with honours from Sheffield University in 1976, an MSc. in Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics from Imperial College London in 1977 and a PhD. in Planetary Meteorology from University College London in 1982, during which time he spent 1979 as a NASA Intern in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory working with the Voyager Imaging Science Team.
Prof. Muller is Emeritus Professor at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in the Dept. of Space and Climate Physics, University College London. He is a Co-Investigator on the ESA Mars Express HRSC and ESA Harmony Thermal-IR multi-angle mission launching in the late 2020s.

Prof. Muller's research interests include imaging sensor technology development for comparative planetology and exploration especially for Cubesats, the development and application of deep learning to applications such as cloud detection, cloud-top wind-field mapping, very high resolution surface albedo mapping and super-resolution restoration. He has been an active leader in the field of automated mapping of Earth, Moon, Mars and Jupiter and image interpretation for the last 20 years. This has included the development of advanced algorithms for automated 3D surface and solid earth deformation measurement and automated extraction of global environmental information.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/mssl/people/prof-jan-peter-muller.


10-Mar-2023
MKAS Telescope Clinic
Bredhurst Village Hall


This meeting will give MKAS members and visitors the chance to address problems that have arisen during set-up and testing of their new (and perhaps older) telescopes. They will be able to ask for telescope tips and solutions to problems from experienced MKAS Astronomers with hands-on experience with their type of telescopes.

The meeting will start with a short presentation giving an overview of the different equipment types readily available to amateur astronomers, both in terms of telescopes and appropriate mounts. This will help those thinking of buying their first telescope or prior to upgrading their existing equipment to identify the 'kit' most appropriate to meeting their needs.

The rest of the evening will be devoted to a practical session, dedicated to solving particular problems, or demonstrating how to set up equipment.

Members are invited to bring their telescopes along to the event, while proficient MKAS members will give advice on specific problems.

Other MKAS Members and all visitors would be expected to benefit from listening in on the advice given.

In order to plan the evening most efficiently, members intending to bring "problem telescopes" are invited to describe their equipment in advance and to outline their specific problems ahead of the meeting.

Weather permitting, it would be hoped that successful operation of some of the telescopes could be demonstrated outside, following the talks and demonstrations.

Please email your questions / problems in advance to: progsec@midkentastro.org.uk.

24-Feb-2023
Greg Smye-Rumsby - Space art
Bredhurst Village Hall


The earliest humans became aware of their place in the universe recording the strange happenings that occured in the night sky around them. Today artists are employed to reveal the inner workings of a rocket engine or the weird phenomena found within the heart of a super-massive black hole. This talk is designed to reveal the many ways art has been used to express ideas where the written word might fall short.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 a prominently involved in running the very well attended Astrofest Conference and Exhibition held at Kensington Town Hall in February each year.
He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he gives entertaining and informative planetarium shows.
He is co-author of 'The 3d-Universe' and inventor of the innovative RolloScope portable telescope.


10-Feb-2023
Prof. David Rees - Spectroscopy for amateur astronomers
Bredhurst Village Hall


The spectroscopy exhibit at our Family Space Nights has always proved popular. Studying the spectra of light from stars and galaxies can tell astronomers a huge amount about the universe. Not only what elements are present but also the rate at which galaxies are receding.

Spectroscopy also helps identify the origin of meteorites from the Moon, Mars and Vesta.

In this talk David explains how amateurs can also learn about light and use relatively inexpensive equipment to study the spectra of stars.

David will explain the background and give a demonstration of a spectrograph based on the StarAnalyzer 200 and ZWO camera.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.

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


27-Jan-2023
Prof. Jonathan Tennyson - Water in the Universe
Bredhurst Village Hall


Prof. Tennyson, former Head of Department at Physics and Astronomy at UCL and a global expert on Atomic and Molecular Physics, is currently Editor in Chief of the new Journal "RAS Techniques and Instruments". In his talk, he will describe the many facets and some unexpected wonders associated with "Water in the Universe".

Water is the third most common molecule in the universe and is thus important in many ways. It is not only essential for life as we know it, but it is also a major absorber of sunlight in the Earth’s atmosphere. Prof. Tennyson will discuss it's importance throughout the universe, including its now being identified in the atmospheres of exoplanets, as well as how it plays a major role in the “greenhouse effect” and “Climate Change” on Earth.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Prof Jonathan Tennyson

Jonathan Tennyson is Massey Professor of Physics and Head of department at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London. Chief Scientist Quantemol Ltd (a UCL 'spin-off' company). He is also Editor in Chief of the Royal Astronomical Society's journal RASTechniques and Instruments,
His main research interests cover a range of topics on the theory of small molecules. In particular he computes spectra of these molecules (his current favourite is water) and collides electrons (and occasionally positrons) with them. He is also interested in the astrophysical, atmospheric, plasma-related and other consequences of these processes.
Portrait courtesy of the Royal Astronomical Society


13-Jan-2023
Peter Bassett - The Use of Image Intensifiers in Astrophotography
Bredhurst Village Hall


A personal history in exploring the potential usefulness of various Image Intensifying devices. How do they work? How much do they cost? Plus a consideration of the advantages of real-time recording of meteors and satellites.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


09-Dec-2022
The Christmas Social - MEMBERS ONLY - FREE ENTRY and FREE RAFFLE
Bredhurst Village Hall


An opportunity to get together for a few fun activities, including (astro)bingo, a free raffle and our usual socialising session. Please bring your own pencil for the bingo!

So we look forward to seeing you in your party hats to get the festive season underway. There will be free hot sausage rolls and warm mince pies plus a limited quantity of Chilli (for a donation). If you want to reserve a portion of chilli email chairman@midkentastro.org by no later than 2100 hrs Wednesday 7th.

Please bring your own cold buffet food and nibbles to share with others and any drinks you want. We will have our normal array of refreshments on hand.

25-Nov-2022
Will Joyce - Many Moons: The Satellites of the Outer Planets
Bredhurst Village Hall


A diverse collection of moons orbit each of the giant planets. Several are planet-sized worlds in their own right with complex histories and processes. Some are volcanic, some cryovolcanic, one is rather Earth-like in an alien way, some harbour subsurface oceans and a few could be potentially inhabited by alien life. A range of geological processes operate among these worlds which has taught scientists much about planetary geology and also increased understanding of our own planet. This discussion will review and explore key aspects of a range of these outer moons.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


11-Nov-2022
Greg Smye-Rumsby - Key Events in the Astronomical World - A Personal View
Bredhurst Village Hall


One of our favourite speakers, Greg Smye-Rumsby will return to give MKAS a new talk: His personal view of major astronomical events.
We can all expect another highly entertaining and informative presentation from Greg.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 a prominently involved in running the very well attended Astrofest Conference and Exhibition held at Kensington Town Hall in February each year.
He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he gives entertaining and informative planetarium shows.
He is co-author of 'The 3d-Universe' and inventor of the innovative RolloScope portable telescope.


28-Oct-2022
Family Space Night 7.30-10pm S.T.E.M event
Bredhurst Village Hall


If you are looking for something to keep the kids interested before they go back to school and also something to amaze yourself then look no further than -- SPACE!

We are offering an exciting evening with a beginner's guide to the night sky and displays about astronomy and space with some hands on activities for the younger children from age 7 upwards. There will be plenty to occupy the adults too!

Come along and learn about Space and Astronomy and, weather permitting, go outside and look at some interesting astronomical sights through a selection of telescopes.
We will have red lights to guide you to and from the telescopes. We will also have step ladders to allow children to look through the eyepieces. We may also have electronically assisted viewing of deep space objects.

Some highlights to look forward to:
- Hands-on displays about Space and our Solar System
- A talk by Arthur Fentaman FRAS - "Heavens above - a beginners guide to the night sky".
- The scale of the Solar System
- Moon rock and Meteorites: Look at different meteorites and hold a piece of the Moon!!
BUY a piece of the Moon, Mars and other meteorites - LIMITED SAMPLES AVAILABLE.
- Spectroscopy and the science of light
- Craft activites for youngsters
- Stargazing outside (weather permitting)
- The latest news on our Giant GP20 Telescope project

PLUS - PLUS - PLUS
- FREE REFRESHMENTS - tea, coffee,squash and biscuits
- MEGA RAFFLE - with over £200 worth of prizes including a TELESCOPE donated by Telescope House. Magazine subscriptions and other astronomy related prizes plus normal prizes to be won.

Doors open at 7:30pm. Entrance only £3 for adult visitors and £1 for Members. Under 18s are FREE but MUST be accompanied by an adult.

Find out more about our GP20 telescope project here

REMEMBER! It may well be quite cold outside at this time of year so wrap up warm if you are venturing outside to do some stargazing and to look through the telescopes.

POLITE REQUEST
Whilst it will obviously be dark outside we ask you not to use normal white light torches near the telescopes as they will spoil your night vision and that of others. We will have red lights to guide you to and from the telescopes.

PLEASE NOTE - we are all volunteers and the programme of events may change due to circumstances beyond our control.

14-Oct-2022
MKAS Tribute to Peter Parish and Chris Sherwood. James Webb SPace Telescope update.
Bredhurst Village Hall


Tonight we will be paying tribute to two much loved and respected former Members - Peter Parish and Chris Sherwood who passed away in 2020 and 2021 respectively. We are delighted that their family members will be attending. We will be sharing photos, videos and anecdotes to celebrate their contribution to MKAS.

We will be showcasing the new Peter Parish Meteorite collection and the new Chris Sherwood Galaxy Quest board, both commissioned in celebration of these popular former Members.

There will also be a short presentation on the latest scientific findings from the James Webb Space telescope. We hope to observe in the field afterwards if the weather permits.

We hope as many Members as possible will attend to make this a social occasion, even if they did not know Peter or Chris personally. This will be a chance to meet and chat to other Members and enjoy some nibbles and refreshments.

There will be no admission charge for Members.

30-Sep-2022
Will Joyce - The Outer Planets
Bredhurst Village Hall


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

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


09-Sep-2022
An MKAS Member Image Showcase
Bredhurst Village Hall

This will be an evening when MKAS members who have been imaging are given the opportunity to present the results of hours of effort and discuss the methods used to achieve their stunning pictures.

A diverse range of images will be shown from our nearest neighbour, the Moon, to the Milky Way, various galaxies and distant stars, using a range of telescopes and cameras.

The evening promises to be an exciting one in which novice 'astro-imagers' can learn how to achieve spectacular results, while others can just marvel at the beauty of the heavens above.

29-Jul-2022
Prof David Rees - Sprites, Elves and Gnomes
Bredhurst Village Hall


At some point, we have all stared with a combination of awe and dread at the impressive audible and visual spectacle of a powerful thunderstorm.

Blinded by the overwhelming visual spectacle, we are unaware of the powerful processes in the Earth's upper atmosphere unleashed by these storms called "Transient Luminous Events".

The talk will describe the many fascinating discoveries of the past 30 years

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.

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


08-Jul-2022
Prof Ian Morison - Our Island Universe - the Milky Way Galaxy and its place in Time and Space
Virtual presentation by ZOOM


'Our Island Universe': the Milky Way Galaxy and its place in Time and Space.
Up until the 1920's, many astronomers thought that our Milky Way Galaxy was the Universe - hence the title. The talk shows how, over time, we have learned of its size and composition and how it is just one of myriads of galaxies spread across a Universe that is billions of years old.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


24-Jun-2022
Prof David Southwood CBE - The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of Mars Exploration
Bredhurst Village Hall


Mars has a dreadful reputation for bad luck and failed space missions. Sometimes that is because it is a difficult place to land and when there has been success the challenges only add to the sense of triumph. However, often just bad luck seems to intervene.

The speaker became first involved in working on Mars exploration with the Russians in the 1980s. Several failures in a way gave rise to one of the great successes of Mars exploration, the European Space Agency Mars Express orbiter that rewrote Mars history. By this time the speaker was the Science Director at ESA. However, even that mission was marred by the loss of the British lander, Beagle2.

Subsequently, the Americans have a string of successes and advances, ESA successfully is operating the Mars Trace Gas Orbiter, and new players have emerged like the UAE and China. Then the collaboration between Europe and Russia to launch a Mars rover has been stopped for evident geopolitical reasons. The talk will follow the ups and downs of exploring the Red Planet from early days up to now.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.



10-Jun-2022
Roy Easto - The Dynamic Universe
Bredhurst Village Hall


As we look out at the Universe we largely see a static universe at various times in the past. Astronomers put this information to understand the processes at work. In the "Dynamic Universe" we look at many of the processes from within the Solar System to the evolution of the Universe itself

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


27-May-2022
Stuart Clark - The Science of Parallel Universes
Bredhurst Village Hall


Do we live alone in the ONLY Universe or are we just part of a myriad of many "Universes" but just unable to prove it? If other universes exist, how would we know? What interactions would we look for and how would these other universes reveal themsleves to us. Could we communicate with life in other universes? Would we want to?

In this presentation Stuart will take us through the science behind such ideas. Hopefully our brains will survive the experience.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 Lemaetre, 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.



13-May-2022
Nik Syzmanek - New Adventures with Robotic Imaging
Bredhurst Village Hall


Popular presenter Nik Syzmanek returns to Bredhurst with his latest talk which is suitable for everyone and contains lots of interesting and beautiful images.The talk will cover remote imaging from Nik's home, his private observatory in Spain and the use of the Telescope Live resources in Chile, Spain and Australia.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

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

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

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


29-Apr-2022
Annual General Meeting
VIRTUAL via Zoom


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

Please send any proposals for changes to society business to secretary@midkentastro.org.uk by no later than 13 April 2022.
The Constitution can be viewed and downloaded from HERE.

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

Please download and review the following documents:
- Agenda for the 2022 AGM
- Minutes of the 2021 AGM
- Committee Roles and Responsibilities

The following reports have been sent to members in advance of the AGM:
- Treasurer's Report and Accounts 2021-2022
- Treasurer's Report and Accounts 2020-2021

The following reports will be presented at the AGM:
- Programme Secretary's Report
- Membership Secretary's Report
- Chairman's Report

08-Apr-2022
Dr Julian Onions A Universe from scratch
Bredhurst Village Hall


Astronomy is mostly a visual and non-experimental science. We can only look at what is out there but can't brings stars and galaxies into the lab. However we can build them inside computers and attempt to simulate them. In this talk, we will see how simulations can show us how the universe evolves and what we can do with them, and what areas we are still struggling to make models of.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


25-Mar-2022
David Bryant - Meteorites of the Solar System
VIRTUAL PRESENTATION BY Zoom


We are sad to announce that this event will be by Zoom rather than in person at Bredhurst Village Hall.

We are delighted to welcome David Bryant, a leading authority on meteorites. David's presentation considers the ways that new meteorite discoveries, spectroscopy and oxygen isotope investigations have informed our understanding of the origins of the main meteorite groups and the formation of the Solar System. David will be showing a good selection of planetary meteorites including some HEDs (from Vesta) other achondrites, lunars & martians, as well as some irons, pallasites and stones.

These will be available for purchase with prices ranging from planetaries at ?£20 and going up to ?£200 for something more spectacular! So please take advantage and buy a piece of history - some meteorites could be as old as our solar system! See images below.

David will also have a selection of his books available and some space jewellery to purchase.







SPEAKER DETAILS
David Bryant

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


11-Mar-2022
Prof Rene Breton - Cosmic fireworks
BACK TO BREDHURST VILLAGE HALL - hybrid trial meeting


We are returning to Bredhurst for this meeting which will be our first hybrid test meeting with Members in the hall. Please check the Covid guidance which will be sent out shortly BEFORE attending to ensure everyone stays safe and well.

Our Universe evolves on such a long timescale compared to the human lifespan that it is easy to think that nothing changes in a noticeable way. However, this picture is far from being true: the sky is populated with thousands of transient and explosive events such as supernovae, black hole outbursts and colliding neutron stars. In this talk I will explore the new horizons offered by time-domain astrophysics and the extreme nature of the events that spark in the sky.


Following the main talk and break, we will have a Special Launch event for the new MKAS App.

Since the MKAS website was launched back in 2014, it has proved to be a very popular site, not just with members and visitors to our events, but also from people across the world, who often comment about how useful the information it contains is.

But have you ever wished there was a quicker way to get to the key information you need as a member?...
- Have you wanted to quickly find out who the speaker was for the next talk?
- Or quickly be able to check the current status of an Observing event or Observatory open evening?
- Maybe you wanted to find the venue address for our meetings, back in the days when we used to meet at Bredhurst?
- Been struggling to find that last Alert email message that contained the link to the meeting you are wanting to join?
- Lost your MKAS Membership card, now you are ready to come back to Bredhurst Village Hall?
- Can't remember when your membership is due for renewal?

All of this information will now be available instantly to you, when you use the new MKAS App being launched on Friday.
Come along to Bredhurst, or join by Zoom, to hear a presentation by the App developer, Naz Rajan, who will tell us about the MKAS App, and how to get it.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Prof Rene Breton

Rene Breton received his PhD in Physics from McGill University, Canada, in 2009. He is a Professor of Astrophysics at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at The University of Manchester and he currently holds a prestigious European Research Council Starter Grant. His main research interests revolve around the study of pulsars, which he uses to attempt to understand matter under extreme density, gravity and magnetic fields. Some of his past work enabled us to test 'geodetic spin precession' - a phenomenon predicted to exist in General Relativity - for the first time in the strong gravity environment. Rene also has a keen interest for science communication. He co-funded Pulsar Hunters, a citizen science project seeking help from volunteers to find new pulsars.




25-Feb-2022
Paul Money - Why are there no green stars?
Virtual presentation by Zoom


Paul makes a welcome return for an unusual and interesting presentation as to why there are no green stars. When we look up we see mainly white stars although one or two appear to show hints of colour.

When we take photographs of the night sky we see a variety of different coloured stars - but none are green. Why is this? Is it that our eyes or our equipment are not sensitive enough, or is it that there are actually no green stars to see? If the latter then why should that be the case? Well in this talk Paul provides the answers.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Paul Money

Paul L Money FRAS, FBIS, is an astronomer based in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England. He is well known for his extensive talks and is the reviews editor of the BBC Sky at Night magazine. He broadcasts occasionally on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and Lincoln City Radio. He was awarded the 'Eric Zucker' award for 2002/2003 for contributions to Astronomy by the Federation of Astronomical Societies. In October 2012 he was also awarded the Sir Arthur Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012 by the British Rocketry Oral History Project for his active promotion of astronomy and space to the public. From 2004 until 2013 he was one of the three Astronomers on the Omega Holidays Northern Lights Flights and was also a Solar Eclipse Astronomer for their 2006 Turkey Solar Eclipse Trip and their 2009 China Solar Eclipse trip. In 2008 he was the Solar Eclipse expert and part of the expedition team for Poseidon Arctic Voyages on board the Russian Nuclear powered Ice Breaker 'Yamal' for the 2 August 2008 Solar Eclipse, viewed from the Arctic ice near the Franz Joseph Lands Islands. He has published a night sky guide called Nightscenes since 2000 and more recently has become a novelist with a Ghost Mysteries series and several Sci Fi works in the pipeline.


11-Feb-2022
Prof David Rees - Variable Stars - there are more than you realise.
Virtual Presentation by Zoom


This talk will discuss the very wide variety of variable stars in the cosmos. The apparent brightness of stars fluctuates for very many reasons as will be discussed in the talk. Most of the very bright stars easily visible in the night sky are actually variable. The concept of variable stars now has to encompass everything from exoplanet transits to novae and supernovae. It also has to include Pulsars, Blazars and the dramatic events around Black Holes and Active Galactic Nuclei, including the generation of Gravitational Waves.

Note: The tribute night to Peter Parish and Chris Sherwood, due to have occurred on this date has been postponed.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.

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


28-Jan-2022
Colin Stuart - Time in Einstein's Universe
Virtual presentation by Zoom


Colin Stuart makes another welcome return to MKAS with his talk Time in Einstein's Universe.

It can be wasted and killed. Spent and saved. Kept and lost. Time is one of life's most perplexing mysteries. In the century since Einstein turned our ideas about time upside down, we know more about it than we ever have, but big questions remain. Can you go back and kill Hitler? What happens to time inside a black hole? Does time even really exist? Find out our latest thinking in this journey through Einstein's universe, during which you'll meet the greatest time traveller in human history and take part in a real time travel experiment.

This is bound to be a fascinating talk.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 the science block of his old school for charity.


14-Jan-2022
Harry Cliff - The Standard Model and possible new physics.
Virtual presentation by Zoom


The Universe is believed to be infinite and whilst astrophysicists think they understand the laws of physics as they apply on the grand scale there are still huge gaps in our understanding. Similarly particle physicists have a Standard Model to explain how physics works at the macro level. There are still gaps in that model and there is still no "single theory of everything" to explain how the Universe works in its entirety from the very small to the very large.

In the early 1900's the only fundamental particle thought to exist was the atom but experiments by Rutherford proved this was not the case and thus started the search for more sub atomic particles. Over the years particle physicists built up what it called the Standard Model of Elementary Particles. As a result of various calculations and predictions they theorised about particles that might exist and using the Large Hadron Collider in Cern they eventually discovered the Higgs Boson particle in 2012. So the Standard Model appeared to be in good shape.

However, in April 2021 Fermilab in the USA announced that they had verified an earlier experiment from 2001 that revealed unexpected and unexplained results that suggest that the Standard Model as it stands might not be correct. Further work is needed but the anomaly suggests it is possible that other unknown particles or forces might exist.

In this talk Harry will tell us in simple terms about the Standard Model, how it has evolved over the years and what further research is being conducted. Are we at the dawn of new particles being discovered and maybe even on the way to discovering new physics?

SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Harry Cliff

Dr Harry Cliff is a particle physicist at the University of Cambridge working on the LHCb experiment, a huge particle detector buried 100 metres underground at CERN near Geneva. He is a member of an international team of around 1400 physicists, engineers and computer scientists who are using LHCb to study the basic building blocks of our universe, in search of answers to some of the biggest questions in modern physics.
Harry spends a lot of time trying to share his love of physics with the public. He has just finished his first popular science book, How To Make An Apple Pie From Scratch, which will be published in August 2021. From 2012 to 2018 he held a joint post between Cambridge and the Science Museum in London, where he curated two major exhibitions: Collider (2013) and The Sun (2018). Harry particularly enjoys talking about science in person and he has given a large number of public talks, including at TED and the Royal Institution, alongside appearances on television, radio and podcasts.


10-Dec-2021
Christmas Social - MEMBERS ONLY
Virtual presentation by Zoom


An opportunity to get together for a Fun Quiz, a Raffle and a couple of presentations, plus our usual chit-chat session.

Thanks to the generosity of a few Members, the raffle, using a random number generator to select the winners, will have vouchers totalling £170 as prizes. Plus there will be the chance to win a free Adult Membership.

We will have two presentations, one by Ian Hargraves on the James Webb Space Telescope and one by David Rees on Comets.

So we look forward to seeing you in your party hats with drinks and nibbles to get the festive season underway.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.


26-Nov-2021
Steve Tonkin FRAS - Two eyes are better than one!
Virtual presentation by Zoom


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

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

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

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

SPEAKER DETAILS
Stephen Tonkin

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

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

Steve also has a very popular Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BinocularSky

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




12-Nov-2021
Lorne Whiteway - The not so constant Hubble constant
Virtual Presentation by Zoom


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

SPEAKER DETAILS
Dr Lorne Whiteway

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




29-Oct-2021
Howard Parkin - SETI - Looking for extra terrestrial life
Virtual Presentation by Zoom


"It's life Jim, but not as we know it" is a phrase well known to many of us. What is the likelihood of finding extra terrestial life, let alone intelligent life. In this presentation Howard will talk about the SETI project which is attempting to do just that.

Howard will use the Drake equation to illustrate current discoveries of over 4,000 ExSolar planets from the Kepler, TESS, WASP and other projects to ascertain the likelihood of life existing elsewhere in the Universe.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Howard Parkin

Howard has been an astronomer most of his life, inspired by the "Space race" back in the 60s he has been an avid astronomer and space enthusiast ever since.
Howard is a fully trained teacher and has taught astronomy to adult education classes since 1985. He is a member of the BAA and was a founder member and chairman of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society. He obtained a BSc in Astronomy and related subjects in 1996 and has been an accomplished speaker to throughout the Isle of Man, the UK, and South Africa.


08-Oct-2021
MEMBERS ONLY EVENT - Rodney Buckland and Prof David Rees - A virtual observing session with the Open University robotic telescope in Tenerife
Virtual presentation by Zoom


Due to conditions imposed by the Open University this event is currently listed as an MKAS Members only event. If this changes we will amend the listing accordingly.

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

Well for tonight we all have that rare opportunity as Rodney Buckland and David Rees operate the OU 24 inch robotic PIRATE telescope and also explain how we can have free access to the Open University COAST 17 inch robotic telescope situated under the clear dark skies of Tenerife.

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

For almost half a century, the OU has been developing the latest digital technology to enhance the learning experience of students. The inauguration of the new remotely controlled and robotic telescopes, COAST and PIRATE will provide students with an interest in astronomy and space sciences the opportunity to operate professional telescopes as part of their studies, from their laptops, PCs, and smartphones.

The robotic telescopes, based at the Observatorio del Teide on the island of Tenerife, are part of a £5.4 million initiative to develop the OpenSTEM Labs. 50% funded by HEFCE, the OpenSTEM Labs offer an â€"Internet of Laboratory Thingsâ€, which is accessible to distance learning students at all hours.

In this meeting David and Rodney will, weather permitting, use the telescopes to provide a real-time robotic viewing of selected objects. David and Rodney will choose from the provisional list of targets shown below. These have been selected as they should be easy to locate and it will be possible to quickly move from one object to another without excessive telescope slewing which is time consuming.

The plan is to spend 3- 4 minutes on as many of them as possible with explanations as to their astronomical significance. David and Rodney will attempt to capture some objects in advance in case of adverse weather conditions or technical problems on the night, but the intention is to observe in real time.

Later, during the discussion session we will also learn how we can sign up to use the OU COAST telescope ourselves in future – which is becoming a more attractive proposition given our poor UK weather!

Provisional list of Targets
1 Saturn Planet
2 Jupiter Planet
3 M30 Globular Cluster
4 C55 Planetary Nebula
5 M2 Globular Cluster
6 M47 Globular Cluster
7 NGC6709 Open Cluster
8 NGC6633 Open Cluster
9 M16 Eagle Nebula
10 M31 Andromeda Galaxy
11 C14 Perseus Double Cluster
12 M33 Triangulum Galaxy

SPEAKER DETAILS
Rodney Buckland

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

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

Prof David Rees

Prof David Rees has designed and built instruments for NASA, ESA, JAXA and other space organisations around the world. He designed and largely built the MSASI instrument that is part of the Bepi-Colombo payload that ESA/JAXA launched successfully toward Mercury in October 2018.

David was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.

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


24-Sep-2021
Greg Smye-Rumsby: Solar Eclipses
Virtual Presentation by Zoom


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

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

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 a prominently involved in running the very well attended Astrofest Conference and Exhibition held at Kensington Town Hall in February each year.
He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he gives entertaining and informative planetarium shows.
He is co-author of 'The 3d-Universe' and inventor of the innovative RolloScope portable telescope.


10-Sep-2021
Jeremy Phillips - Shooting for the Stars
Virtual Presentation by Zoom


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

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

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

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

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

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

SPEAKER DETAILS
Jeremy Phillips

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

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


12-Aug-2021
Members only Perseid Meteor observing
High Halstow

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

We intend meeting at 2030hrs as the meteors should become visible from 2100hrs and become more prominent as the night goes on. Saturn and Jupiter will also be visible looking South if you wish to bring along your own telescope.

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

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

Please note the following essential information

Whilst observing sessions are meant to be relaxed and enjoyable we still expect Members to exercise common sense and to take into account the needs of others who attend and those who might live nearby. As a general guide we expect Members to:
1. Arrive and depart venues in a quiet and orderly fashion, especially if there are residents living nearby,
2. Check in with the observing coordinators on arrival
3. Be quiet during sessions when in the vicinity of domestic premises
4. ONLY USE RED LIGHT TORCHES until the end of the session when equipment is dismantled and packed away
5. Avoid or minimise disturbance from car headlights
6. Maintain a sensible working distance from other observers and ensure that any equipment, cables, carry cases and other property does not cause obstructions or safety hazards to other attendees.
7. AVOID USING LASER POINTERS, unless attached to a telescope as a finder device and, even then, such devices must not be pointed at other people, towards other premises and/or across areas of the sky where other Members may be imaging.
8. Leave quietly and promptly at the end of each session

SPEAKER DETAILS
Arthur Fentaman

Arthur is a published astrophotographer and active MKAS member. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2020.

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 â€"frustrated astro-photographer!†He is also a member of the BAA, the SPA , the Webb Deep Sky Society and the Flamsteed Society. Graham was delighted, honoured and very surprised to be nominated and then elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2021

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




30-Jul-2021
Prof Ian Morison - Wonders of the Southern Skies
Virtual presentation by Zoom


Ian Morison makes a welcome return to give us a talk about the wonders of the Southern skies which will be accompanied by some of his own wonderful images. Of course, Ian will also be explaining the astronomical significance of the images.

A number of astronomers, including the late great Sir Patrick Moore, regard the Southern skies as being superior to those of the Northern hemisphere. So with Ian's relaxed and authoritive presenting style and some fantastic pictures this will be an enjoyable evening.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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-2021
Dr Stuart Clark - Beneath the Night: How the Stars have shaped the history of humankind
Virtual presentation via ZOOM


From Stone Age to space age, people have looked up at the stars and been inspired by their beauty, their patterns and their majesty. Beneath the Night is a history of humanity, told through our relationship with the night sky.

From prehistoric cave art and Ancient Egyptian zodiacs to the modern era of satellites and space exploration, Stuart Clark explores a fascination shared across the world and throughout millennia. It is one that has shaped our scientific understanding; helped us navigate the terrestrial world; provided inspiration for our poets, artists and philosophers; and it has given us a place to project our hopes and fears.

In the stars, we can see our past – and, ultimately, our fate. This is the awe-inspiring story of the universe and our place within it.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 Lemaetre, 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-2021
David Southwood CBE - Magnetic Saturn
Virtual presentation via ZOOM


Few will disagree that Saturn is one of the most spectacular planets in our solar system. Nearly everyone remarks "Wow" when they see it for the first time through a telescope and even seasoned observers still find it a majestic sight.

As well as its spectacular ring system it also displays magnificent aurorae although these are only observable from a satellite above the poles.In this talk David will tell us about the magnetic nature of Saturn. The unseen feature and the source of the aurorae and provide other mysteries.

Magnetic fields may be invisible but they are extremely important in ordering the environment of planets (and stars, indeed very many astronomical objects). The exploration of the solar system by spacecraft has routinely showed up surprises about planetary magnetic fields. Saturn was no exception. Its field is generated by a dynamo in the interior of the planet. However, the field has a property that was thought impossible before its discovery, the internal planetary magnetic field is symmetric about the planet’s rotation axis. A dynamo field should not be axisymmetric. Einstein once said the dynamo problem was one of the hardest in physics; it is probable he was right. However, the exterior magnetic surroundings of Saturn also generated lots of surprises. Geysers on the small moon, Enceladus, just outside the rings were discovered initially by the magnetic effect of the material being injected into space continuously from the interior of the moon. It turns out the material liberated by the geysers populates much of the enormous planetary magnetosphere around Saturn.

Moreover, although the magnetic field itself may be invisible, yet that field controls some very visible phenomena like the aurora. The aurorae at Saturn are generated by dynamic interactions between the magnetosphere and the fast rotating planetary atmosphere. We’ll go over some of the great discoveries about Saturn magnetism by the Cassini space mission, some of what we now understand and some of the puzzles that remain.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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-2021
Prof David Rees - The Artemis project and water on the Moon and Mars
Virtual presentation via ZOOM


In this talk David will update us on the NASA Artemis project designed to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.

David will explain the role of ESA and the exciting opportunities for the UK Space Industry and he will also update us on the 2020 discovery of water on the Moon and Mars.

During the next several years, a number of key elements in our â€"future in space†will become daily news items: Artemis, Orion, the Space Launch System and the Lunar Gateway are each key elements of the Artemis programme. Artemis is an ambitious series of missions to get us back to the Moon; to enable permanent inhabitation of a Lunar Base; and to provide the essential stepping stones for getting us to Mars. NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther from Earth than we’ve ever gone before.

Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry a 4-person crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel and provide safe re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere from deep space. Orion will be launched on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System. The Space Launch System will be the most powerful rocket system yet designed and built.

The Lunar Gateway is a modest space station in a highly-elliptical orbit about the moon. Artemis and the Lunar Gateway will be developed, serviced, and utilized with an international collaboration led by NASA with Europe, Japan and Canada and commercial partners. Core Gateway components will be launched into lunar orbit on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket as early as May 2024. The first components launched for the moon will cover habitation and power with others following in 2026. Astronauts will then travel to the moon in the Orion spaceship to dock with the Gateway. Two Astronauts will transfer from the space station to the lunar surface in a SpaceX Starship and remain there for up to a week. It will serve as the staging point for both robotic and crewed exploration of the lunar South Pole. The Gateway is the proposed staging point for NASA's Deep Space Transport concept for onward travel to Mars.

The Artemis I Mission, anticipated to be November 2021, will send an unmanned Orion Spacecraft beyond the Moon and return to evaluate all of the many complex systems not yet tested in space, but which are essential for our future in Space. The talk will describe and explain each of these key features and the essential steps to our return to the Moon and our further travel onward to Mars.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.

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


28-May-2021
Jane Green: Look Up, Live It, Love It
Virtual presentation via ZOOM


This is likely to be a hugely inspirational talk

A Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Jane is a natural, eloquent and captivating speaker who possesses that rare ability to communicate the complexities of astronomy in a warm and easy to understand way. She makes the ‘ungraspable’ graspable so why not join her for a revelatory voyage into the Universe?

In this talk, with the aid of stunning audio visuals, Jane deconstructs the seemingly complex, de-mystifies meaningless phrases and reveals the darkest wonders of the cosmos to ultimately share what inspires her and her audiences most †perspective, majesty and beauty on the grandest scale of all. This powerful and insightful journey begins and ends with ‘nothing’. What could possibly fill the ‘space’ in between? Find out as Jane inspires you to look up, live it and love it.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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-2021
Nik Syzmanek - Meteorological photography
Virtual presentation via ZOOM

Renowned astrophotographer Nik Syzmanek returns for another exciting talk with wonderful inspiring images -but this time with a slight twist.

Don't worry if you feel you are not geared up to doing astrophotography yourself - you can always marvel at the pictures and who knows, maybe, following Nick's talk you you will find it easier than you originally thought.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

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

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

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


30-Apr-2021
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-2021
Damian Peach - High Resolution Astrophotography - imaging the planets with amateur telescopes
Virtual presentation via ZOOM


We are delighted and very fortunate to have one of the world's leading amateur lunar and planetary imagers with us to explain how to capture great pictures of the planets.

Even if you do not think you have the necessary equipment or skills you can still marvel at the exceptional images that Damian has captured over the years.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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-2021
Dr Megan Argo - When galaxies collide
Virtual presentation via ZOOM


Once upon a time we thought the Universe was static and unchanging. These days of course, we know differently. The whole Universe is in motion and, from time to time, galaxies pass too close to each other and gravity takes over; the results are often spectacular. Join us for a tour of the universe as we look at what galaxies are made of, take a bird’s-eye view of our own Milky Way, then look at what happens when gravity becomes irresistible, and ending with a sneak preview of our own galaxy’s distant future

SPEAKER DETAILS
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-2021
Prof David Rees - a very late change of plan
Virtual presentation by Zoom

Very unfortunately, due to illness, Will Joyce is unable to give the planned presentation tonight but our very own Prof David Rees has kindly stepped in at the very last minute.

David will be giving a presentation on the various research projects he has been involved with since 1955 concentrating on the more recent projects such as the Exoclock Project. We are indebted to David for stepping in at very short notice and we will try to re-arrange Will Joyce's presentation to another night. We wish him a speedy recovery.

26-Feb-2021
Prof Ian Morison - dark matter,dark energy and ---
Virtual presentation by ZOOM


In this talk Ian provides information on the vast majority of the Universe which is unseen. So how do we know about it and why is it that so far we have found no direct way of observing it?

Hopefully Ian will also explain about gravitational lensing and micro lensing and how this is helping us study atmospheres around exoplanets.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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-2021
Jonathan Tate - Near Earth Objects and the risks to humanity.
Virtual presentation by ZOOM


Approximately 65 million years ago a large celestial object struck the Earth and caused a mass extinction event wiping out the dinosaurs. In more recent times a large object fell to Earth in Chelyabinsk causing widespread damage and many casualties.

We know the Earth bears the scars of many such impacts but when will the next one occur and how severe will it be? Can we detect incoming objects and, if so, what can be done to protect us from the effects of an impact? In the talk Jonathan explains the work of the Spaceguard Centre UK, based in Wales, in finding and tracking the many near earth objects.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 â€"Jaytateâ€.



29-Jan-2021
Colin Stuart - How to weigh the Universe and Planet X
Virtual presentation by ZOOM


Colin makes a welcome return to MKAS. In this talk Colin explains how we calculate the weight of all the matter in the Universe and also why we think there is another undiscovered planet (Planet X) in our own Solar system.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 the science block of his old school for charity.


08-Jan-2021
Dr: Julian Onions - The Far Side of the Moon - is it full of Aliens?
Virtual presentation by ZOOM


Following his hugely popular talk last year Julian returns with what will be another fascinationg presentation.

The Moon is a shy body, it only ever shows one side of itself to the Earth. Before the space age, we had no idea what was on the far side of the Moon. This has led to a number of conspiracy theories that it is a haven for aliens. In this talk, we'll chart the progress of how we got to see what was on the far side of the Moon, and what we found there. Tin foil hats are optional!

We will hopefully also find out more about the proposed NASA Artemis misions.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


In this last meeting before Christmas we will have a mix of science and fun. Enjoy your mince pies and your favourite tipple virtually alongside other Members whilst we listen to a presentation by David Rees. David will tell us about spectroscopy and how we as amateur observers can use light spectra to identify star types.

After David's presentation Graham Finch will run a short fun trust based quiz. No prizes - just a bit of fun for you to pit your wits against other Members.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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 â€"frustrated astro-photographer!†He is also a member of the BAA, the SPA , the Webb Deep Sky Society and the Flamsteed Society. Graham was delighted, honoured and very surprised to be nominated and then elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2021

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 will present a review of the advancements of observational astronomy through the ages, from 382 BC - 2020 AD. Ian's talk will cover the major players, their ideas and discoveries, together with the advances in observational equipment from the Ancient Greeks to NASA, ESA, JAXA and the leading international universities.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


In this presentation Bob will tell us about the Cape York iron meteorite found in 1818. Estimated to be just over 58 tonnes in weight the remnants form the largest meteorite in any museum collection in the world. Its transportation was a massive feat of engineering but there is also a dark tale behind its journey. This will surely be a fascinating talk.

Joining instructions will be sent to Members nearer the time.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


In the early 80s, David was one of the first scientists involved in thinking about a joint European-US space mission to Saturn and its largest moon, Titan. Once NASA and ESA agreed to do such a mission, he built one of the 11 instruments for the US mother ship, Cassini and then found himself Science Director at the European Space Agency and in charge of the team landing the ESA Huygens probe on Titan in January 2005. Once retired from ESA, he has returned to work with data form Cassini and in 2017, he was present with the rest of the Cassini world-wide team when Cassini was deliberately crashed into Saturn’s atmosphere. He will recount some of his many stories from an epic 35-year space mission.



SPEAKER DETAILS
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

This and other topics Members wish to raise will be discussed at a Zoom meeting. Will Hughes who was planning to give a full presentation on this topic to one of our Bredhurst meetings will be sharing his thoughts.We are sure other Members will have their own ideas. Some of the areas that can be discussed include:

Is there alien life elsewhere, what form might it take and where might it be discovered? What are the implications of finding it for us and for the alien life itself? Do we care whether we find it or not? Is it worth the cost of research?

Of course. this will also be an opportunity for Members to discuss other topics.

Joining instructions will be sent to Members shortly.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.



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

Following on from the success of our recent virtual meetings we have decided to hold a social meeting so Members can chat to each other via Zoom.

This will be hosted by our Chairman Ian Hargraves but the discussions will be very much decided upon by those that attend. Please join us and share your observing experiences and if you have had problems with your astronomical equipoment feel free to ask for advice.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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

During the past 40 years, there have been some 11 space missions to comets, led by Europeans, US, Japanese and Russians, including the spectacular ESA â€"Rosetta†Mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. These missions have provided a wealth of data on the previously mysterious chemistry and physical make-up of comets, visitors from the far reaches of our Solar System – the Oort Cloud.

The past 20 years has been quite short of spectacular â€"visual†comets – although on most nights – a 10†– 16†telescope can easily find at least one comet that is worth imaging with a high-performance camera. Indeed the 4 such comets of the past 4 months have provided a very welcome distraction from â€"Lock-Downâ€!!

Also, of note are cometary visitors from other distant solar systems. Only two such â€"comets†have yet been observed. There are very significant implications resulting from the numbers of such extra-solar-system visitors throughout the history of our Solar System.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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 returns for another entertaining and highly informative presentation.The Sun is many things: beauty, beacon, battery, belligerent. It’s the biggest thing for light-years around and yet we actually know relatively little about it.
That’s changing thanks to an armada of new spacecraft recently lofted into the solar system to scrutinise the Sun in unprecedented detail. In a talk packed full of jaw-dropping images and videos, Colin Stuart is your guide on a journey deep into the heart of our nearest star

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 the science block of his old school for charity.


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

We are delighted to announce that we will be holding our first virtual meeting since the start of the Covid19 outbreak. Details of how to access the talk will be sent to all Members in the regular email newsletter. After the talk there will be a separate discussion and question and answer session via a Zoom meeting.

In this talk Julian describes what galaxies are, how they formed, how they are classified and what we understand about their lives. The talk will be illustrated with many superb photographs so even if you aren't wowed by the cosmology you can be wowed by the photos.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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

There will be a short EGM to adopt a new Constitution. Details of this have been circulated to Members.

The new draft Constitution is downloaded HERE
The current Constitution is HERE

Only Members will be allowed to vote on this matter.

28-Feb-2020
The Big Fun Quiz
Bredhurst Village Hall


The hugely successful MKAS quiz returns for its fourth year. The quiz covers both general knowledge and astronomy subjects. All proceeds go to the GP20 project.

Mid-Kent Astronomical Society Quiz Night

Friday 28th February 2020
7.30 for 8.00pm Start
Bredhurst Village Hall


Teams: minimum 6, maximum 8 Players
£6 Per Person (payable on the night)
(Includes Ploughman's supper.)
(Please bring your own drinks and glasses)

!!!!General Knowledge Questions!!!!
(and just a few astronomical ones)

Prizes for Winning Team & Tail-end Charlies
All proceeds to go to GP20 Telescope Fund

Closing date for entries: Saturday 22nd February
All Welcome


For further details and to book a table please contact:
r.tollervey@blueyonder.co.uk or 07568 058246


14-Feb-2020
Rodney Buckland - One Galaxy, 7.8 billion earths
Bredhurst Village Hall


We welcome back Rodney Buckland from the Open University for his new talk about an exciting area of astronomical research. What once seemed impossible is now becoming a reality thanks to new and more sensitive technology.

Fifty years ago, the '1969 Science Paper of the Year' asked whether our Solar System is unique - did it take something special like two stars colliding to have planets form?

Today, we have found over 4,000 confirmed planets around other stars, with yet more candidates, and we can confidently predict that the number of planets in our Galaxy is greater than the 100 billion or more stars in it.

How many of these planets are earthlike? How can we go about finding them? What opportunities are there for amateur astronomers to contribute to the advancing wavefront of Exoplanet Research?

Come along and discover more and be prepared to be surprised.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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

After about a billion years, the densest regions of the Universe had become truly massive. Collections of thousands and millions of stars grouped together to form the first galaxies, and then these galaxies collided and merged to form larger galaxies. These regions evolved into the huge super-clusters of Galaxies which we see today.

The way in which the galaxies has grouped together tells us a lot about the contents of the Universe. Primarily, it helps to tell us how much of the Universe is made of "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy", which affect the way galaxies interact on the largest scales. Simulations of the Universe run on large super-computers let us compare the virtual Universe with reality. The results of one such simulation, the "Via Lactea" project (Via Lactea is latin for "Milky Way"), are shown below. Only the Dark Matter is shown. At the centre of each bright region of Dark Matter, a galaxy would form, clustering together over time to form a galaxy similar to our own.

After the first generation of stars had exploded, the next generation contained some of the heavier elements present in the Universe at that time. These in turn formed even heavier elements, and when they exploded created some of the heaviest elements we see today, such as uranium and plutonium.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


After what seems to be an eternity of wet, cloudy and generally awful weather for astronomy in the UK who hasn't dreamt of moving to the ideal location from which to carry out visual observing and astrophotography?

Well our very own Peter Bassett and his wife Amanda have done just that by buying land in Arizona, USA. The site is one of the driest, least light polluted areas around and has fantastic unobstructed panoramic views.

In this talk Peter will show some wonderful images and discuss observing and astrophotography from a desert site including constellations, satellites, the Milky Way and the rarely observed phenomenon of the Zodiacal light.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


A chance for Members and their guests to relax,chat and enjoy each other's company at our annual Christmas Social. Free entry plus a free raffle ticket for each Member on arrival with an array of prizes to be won. Free refreshments as usual but also bring along your own wine or beer (or perhaps something stronger) if you wish and aren't driving.

We are planning to provide a chilli but quantities will be limited so please also bring your own festive food to share.Sausage rolls and any other savoury items and mince pies may be warmed up in the kitchen.

Simon and Arthur will provide an enjoyable video to watch to go alongside the usual eating, drinking and chat. If it is clear outside we will also be doing some observing.

29-Nov-2019
Dr Brendan Owens: The state of Solar physics in the 21st century
Bredhurst Village Hall


Much has changed in our understanding of the Sun since we first started observing it back in the 17th century. The cause of sunspots, first observed by Gallileo in 1660 and the incredible impact of the Carrington event in 1859, which were perplexing at the time are now readily understood.

Our understanding of the internal processes within the Sun, the solar wind, coronal mass eruptions and the effect of the Sun on our planet has evolved considerably with the development of new technology.

In this talk Brendan Owens, who specialises in solar physics will provide a fascinating insight into the current state of solar physics and our understanding of our nearest star.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


A rare transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun will be visible from the UK on Monday 11 November 2019, only three days after our meeting. Mercury will start to move across the face of the Sun around 12:30 pm and will continue to move across the Sun throughout the afternoon, eventually leaving the disc after sunset, as seen from the UK.

In this talk David will explain why these transit events are so rare.

He will provide valuable information as to how, weather permitting, we can safely observe the transit ourselves.

This can be done by one of two methods:-

Using a special solar filter mounted safely to a telescope to greatly reduce the Sun’s apparent brightness;

Using a small telescope to safely project an image of the sun onto a white screen.

As ever, including solar eclipses, NEVER look directly at the Sun with any form of binoculars or telescope to avoid very serious eye injury!

The next transit of Mercury will not take place until 13th November 2032.

Make the most of this opportunity to find out more and hopefully see the 2019 transit yourself.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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


This talk will be of great interest to anybody who enjoys seeing beautiful astronomy images and particularly to those interested in trying astroimaging themselves but not knowing where to start.

Robert will provide a beginners' guide on how to obtain stunning images of deep sky objects. Robert will exlain what equipment is needed and how to set it up and then show the main techniques needed to acquire and process the data.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


There can hardly be an astronomer that has not heard of Charles Messier or his catalogue of â€"Messier Objectsâ€. But what of Charles Messier himself?

In this presentation Graham will provide an insight into the life of Charles Messier explaining how he came to be interested in astronomy and why he ended up becoming famous for observing and cataloguing these objects.

Graham will also explain why these objects are ideal for the amateur astronomer to observe and he will refer to easily accessible resources to assist.

Was Charles Messier lucky or unlucky in his personal and professional life? Well hopefully you will be able to decide.

In the talk, which will include photographs and short videos, Graham will discuss the astronomical significance of some of these beautiful objects and bring to the fore the contributions of other astronomers whose work was badly overlooked at the time.

Everyone attending the talk will receive a FREEBIE courtesy of Astronomy Now magazine.

Hopefully, following the talk, we will observe some Messier objects with a variety of equipment, if the weather permits!

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 â€"frustrated astro-photographer!†He is also a member of the BAA, the SPA , the Webb Deep Sky Society and the Flamsteed Society. Graham was delighted, honoured and very surprised to be nominated and then elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2021

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


For over a 100 years astronomers, including those at Jodrell Bank Observatory, have been testing Einstein's Theories of Relativity to the limit - so far without fail. Recently a further proof of his predictions came with the detection of gravitational waves and gamma rays from the merging of two neutron stars. But, at some limit, his classical theories must fall down as in the heart of a black hole.

Ian, who worked at Jodrell Bank for many years will explain in simple terms how scientists have tested Einstein's predictions over the years and discuss how things might move forward in the light of recent groundbreaking experiments around the detection of gravitational waves and the first ever photograph of a black hole.

This will be an extremely interesting and easy to follow presentation from a distinguished professional astronomer and author, who spent many years working at Jodrell Bank and who still "works" there in an ambassadorial and educational role.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


We have received a number of requests about how to choose and set up a telescope. This talk will provide a basic introduction into the different types of telescopes available, the essential accessories that are needed and how to set up and use a telescope.

This talk will be helpful to newcomers to astronomy and especially to those contemplating buying their own telescope.

A selection of telescopes and accessories will be available in the hall for first hand examination and if the weather permits we will be using them to observe after the talk.

If you already have a telescope and are having trouble using it let us know the problem and then bring it along and we will try to help you.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 â€"frustrated astro-photographer!†He is also a member of the BAA, the SPA , the Webb Deep Sky Society and the Flamsteed Society. Graham was delighted, honoured and very surprised to be nominated and then elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2021

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


The MKAS Social Evening around the BBQ where you can take it easy and meet other like-minded astronomers and water rocket enthusiasts.

Entrance is free to MKAS members and their friends. All you need to bring with you is your food for the BBQ and some buns plus any alcoholic drinks that you may like. MKAS will provide tea, coffee and squash.

Don’t worry about the weather as we will definitely have the BBQs lit.

If you would like to take part in the Water Rockets competition then please make sure that you bring your rocket with you all ready to launch we will supply the Dihydrogen Monoxide rocket fuel (aka H2O aka water).

WATER ROCKETS:
Rules for the water rocket competition are few but the rockets must be made from a plastic fizzy drinks bottle (normally 2 litre size is best) and must have the standard 21mm internal diameter neck with lip that the top normally screws down onto. Furthermore the placing of cannon balls in the nose cone is definitely not allowed (you know who you are!).

It is advisable to attach some fins at the neck end to stabilise the rocket in flight. These need to be kept well clear of the neck as the launcher needs to locate just behind the lip on the neck of the bottle.

If you are really clever you could fit your rocket out with a re-entry parachute that deploys once the rocket has reached maximum altitude and starts its return to Earth.

Don’t forget to decorate your rocket as well!

Small prizes will be awarded for: Highest flight, longest flight, best parachute return to Earth and most attractive rocket. So get building your rockets as the countdown to blastoff has already begun!

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


In his second talk celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing David will cover many aspects of the mission and explain how its success subsequently paved the way for even more ambitious space exploration. The talk will include videos and will be fascinating for both those too young to remember the event and for those of us around at the time who want to be reminded of this incredible feat of human achievement.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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


This talk will go through some of the challenges facing both the engineers and the astronauts as they attempted to fulfil John F Kennedy's stated ambition of "achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. "

Despite Kennedy's stated ambition the USA space programme was not in good shape and there were to be many technical challenges and disasters on the way. Amazing to think that today's mobile phones have more computing power than was avaialble to the lunar astonauts at that time.

And as for the astonauts' return journey it was a once only chance!

In this talk David explains the background to the space programme, the competition with the Russians in the Cold War and how the iconic mission may have failed with disasterous consequences.

After the meeting we hope to observe the Moon if conditions allow.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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


Mid-Kent Astronomical Society
at the Kent County Show

Mid-Kent Astronomical Society is delighted to be supporting the 90th Anniversary of the Kent County Show at the Detling Showground.

Please come along and say â€"Hello!â€

For this show we have produced a special timeline which covers the major scientific discoveries during the 90 years since the Show first started.

These range from Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (E=mc2) through to his General Theory of Relativity (Gravitational Waves and Black Holes), through to the latest detection of the first Gravitational Waves in 2015 and imaging of a Black Hole Event Horizon this year.

MKAS will be there all weekend in the Heritage Tent just inside Entrance 4. We will be happy to try to answer your astronomy questions and provide advice about selecting and using equipment.

Weather permitting we will have special solar telescopes available to look safely at the Sun.

As well as all of the other stalls and events on offer at the County Show there is normally a fantastic Spitfire acrobatic display around lunchtime. The show is open 8am until 6pm each day!

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'.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


As an Atmospheric Physicsist, I was interested to hear the barrage of information coming out on the topic of Climate Change, especially the way it was tied in to anthropogenic causes. I occasionally came across the web sites of more sceptical observers and wondered how they could continue in the face of the evidence presented against them.

So I downloaded some of their arguments with a view to debunking them: I was an atmospheric physicist so this should be easy, right? Only I found I had trouble finding the 'basic' flaws in their arguments. So I tried presenting their arguments to fellow scientists and to my students on the basis 'we all know this stuff is wrong, so what is the basic flaw'? Surprisingly few wanted to take on this challenge. So over the years of presenting this I find myself still with no killer 'skeptic-bashing' argument.

The temperature record is fairly (though not entirely) clear, but most of the predictions leading on from this are based on numerical models, and I know as a modeller myself how complex these can be and how easy to get the answer you want or expect by the right combination of input and algorithm. So I end up being able to say: yes the climate is changing, but it has always changed. Is it caused by man? Well, maybe, but there are a lot more uncertainties than the 'establishment view' would have you believe. There is a bandwagon effect in science that we must beware of. That is not to say we should ignore the warnings we get about climate change: we should be a bit more wary about some of the conclusions we draw though.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


Having been guest astronomer in the Namib Desert on several occasions, I got to know the Southern Hemisphere skies fairly well. I learned much about what sorts of night-sky objects were of most interest to the many visitors to the lodge, as well as discovering some 'star lore' from local Namibians.

Here we take a brief tour of the most southerly constellations and deep-sky objects of beauty and interest, including the history of constellation names and exotic deep sky objects, both from the perspective of indigenous peoples across the Southern oceans as well as the historical explorations of the Southern World by the early Northern Hemisphere nautical explorers. Modern day images from some of world’s best telescopes, as well as some of my own humble photos will reveal some of the most beautiful objects to see in the Southern skies.

So if you've never been to the Southern Hemisphere, or maybe if you visited there a long time ago or more recently, come along and find out about what I consider to be the most beautiful and inspiring area of the entire night sky. After the tea-break there will also be a short, five-minute fun 'Generation Game'-style free-for-all quiz!

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


The Cassini mission to Saturn ended on 15 September 2017 when the spacecraft entered the planet's atmosphere. Launched in 1997 as part of the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission, the spacecraft had been in orbit about the ringed planet since 2004 sending back a wealth of data about the planet, its moons and its vast ring system.

The talk will highlight some of the discoveries made by Cassini in its 13-year tour of the ringed planet. These include observations of giant storms on Saturn, changing weather and surface features on Saturn's largest moon Titan, the discovery of plumes of ice particles emanating from a source of liquid water beneath the moon Enceladus, as well as the discovery of several new moons.

The presence of a spacecraft in orbit for more than a decade has given scientists the opportunity to study how the system has changed over time. The last part of the talk will focus on Cassini's discoveries about the planet's ring system and the mission's Grand Finale.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 the science block of his old school 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 â€"slip the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God’â€and why?
Warning: this talk contains no physics (or dogma)!

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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?

SPEAKER DETAILS
Will Hughes

Will has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.



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!!

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

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

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

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


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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.



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
 Membership Report 2017-2018
 Committee Roles and Responsibilities
 MKAS Constitution (Revd2016)

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

30-Mar-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?!

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 a prominently involved in running the very well attended Astrofest Conference and Exhibition held at Kensington Town Hall in February each year.
He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he gives entertaining and informative planetarium shows.
He 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 the science block of his old school 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 Tromso? 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

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 Â


This is the annual major festival event at the former home of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

Click here for details
http://www.the-observatory.org/astronomy_festival_2017


11-Aug-2017
Solarsphere Astronomy & Music Festival
Builth Wells, Powys, Wales LD2 3RD


The festival season kicks off with this exciting event in Wales.

Click here for details
http://www.solarsphere.events


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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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!

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 a prominently involved in running the very well attended Astrofest Conference and Exhibition held at Kensington Town Hall in February each year.
He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he gives entertaining and informative planetarium shows.
He 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

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

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

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


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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 Tromso? 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Will Hughes

Will has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.


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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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


General knowledge quiz, with teams of 6 to 8 £5 per person, payable on the night (includes Ploughman's dinner)
Bring your own drinks and glasses
Prizes awarded to winning team, runners up and wooden spoon
All proceeds go to the GP20 Telescope fund

Closing Date for entries is Saturday 28th January
For further details and to book a table, please contact Bob Tollervey at
rt.toller@blueyonder.co.uk or 07568 058246


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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Will Hughes

Will has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.



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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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?

SPEAKER DETAILS
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)

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 a prominently involved in running the very well attended Astrofest Conference and Exhibition held at Kensington Town Hall in February each year.
He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he gives entertaining and informative planetarium shows.
He 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


MKAS will hold another Space Spectacular, this time at the historical site of Fort Amherst in Chatham.

Tickets are on sale at www.fortamherst.com.

If you would like to help out at this event, please let us know.

Click for more details


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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


We are opening the Observatory, no matter what the weather, for all members and the public, to show the Celestron 14 inch telescope in operation, and hopefully do some observing of planets, galaxies and nebulae, if clouds permit.

We will also have other telescopes outside the Observatory domed building, and if you have a telescope you would like help with to set up or use, then bring it along and we will show you how, and get you using it.

Be in the Conservatory of the Victoria Hotel at 8:45pm for an escort to the Observatory at 9pm.
No booking is necessary. Just turn up!

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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 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. 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.

Nik will bring copies of his book 'Shooting Stars' for sale and autograph.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

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

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

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


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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Arthur Fentaman

Arthur is a published astrophotographer and active MKAS member. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2020.

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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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, ïServices to Astronomyï 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


This coming November will mark 59 years since a little dog named Laika (meaning 'barker'), the first living being to orbit the Earth, was blasted into Space aboard her Russian rocket. Caroline Beevis will give a fascinating talk on the true story of Laika and her fellow canine cosmonauts.

This will be followed by a Fundamentals talk from Ian Hargraves, which will provide essential guidance for new and experienced observers alike

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


Two lesser known yet remarkable gentlemen who left a lasting legacy to astronomy.

William Dawes was an officer of the British Marines, an astronomer, engineer, botanist, surveyor, explorer, abolitionist and colonial administrator. Hi son, William Rutter Dawes, was a clergyman who has a crater on the Moon and another on Mars named after him, and a gap within the C Ring of Saturn. An optical phenomenon, the Dawes limit, is named for him.

Find out how this happened and their fascinating stories.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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-Chrétien 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!

SPEAKER DETAILS
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

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 a prominently involved in running the very well attended Astrofest Conference and Exhibition held at Kensington Town Hall in February each year.
He is also on the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory where he gives entertaining and informative planetarium shows.
He 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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!

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Will Hughes

Will has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.



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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


Would anybody like us to organise a Local AstroCamp?
If there is sufficient interest, we will organise this event.

Suggested dates are from Sat 8 to Thu 13 August
More details on their website

24-Jul-2015
Mike Phillips: Are We Alone - We Are Alone, Aren’t 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?

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Nik Szymanek

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

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

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


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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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)


A entertaining evening filled with Space Displays and Stargazing, for adults and children, whatever the weather.
• Two exciting talks for everyone to enjoy
• A selection of entertaining displays
• Opportunity for scintillating Stargazing*
See the poster

Directions from Medway:
The Village Hall is next door to the Primary School in The Forstall, and not where the postcode might take you. See map and the following directions.

Take the M2 to its end onto the Thanet Way. Take first small turning on left off Thanet Way. This doubles back over Thanet Way, follow signs to Staple Street. In the centre of Staple Street, take turning on left down Church Hill. (If you reach a pub on the right in Staple Street you have just missed Church Hill).

Carry on along Church Hill for quite a way, past a village green on the right and on down a hill that bears to the left and then right. The Community Centre is on the right side of the road, beside the HernHill CofE Primary School at 5118'43.1"N 057'50.6"E. If you get to Forstall you have just missed the venue.

NOTE:
This event will happen instead of the usual Public Observing Open evening at Canterbury. Anyone wishing to do any observing with us on that evening should visit Hernhill, which is nearby.

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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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 was for many years 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 16inch ODK from his back garden in Sussex, 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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!!

SPEAKER DETAILS
Will Hughes

Will has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.


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

Ian’s 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?

Mike’s 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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Will Hughes

Will has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.



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 (UK’s 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

SPEAKER DETAILS
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

SPEAKER DETAILS
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


SPEAKER DETAILS
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

This is possibly the best meteor shower of the year with a ZHR (zenithal hourly rate) of 120.
This means that with the radiant overhead you could see 120 meteors per hour.
With the radiant in Gemini which will be in the eastern sky we should be able to see upwards of 50 bright meteors per hour at the peak.
We will be situated in a field next to the Inn, so please dress appropriately, warm clothing, hat, gloves, waterproof boots etc, and bring a chair if you can, preferably reclining.

The Inn will be open for food, drinks both hot and cold and of course for toilet facilities.

THIS EVENT IS FOR OVER 18s ONLY

The Cock Inn
Henley Street, Luddesdowne, Kent DA13 0XB
http://www.cockluddesdowne.com/

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.

SPEAKER DETAILS
Will Hughes

Will has been part of MKAS for over 10 years, having previously served on the committee as the Vice Chairman and Social Media Officer. Will's keen interest in astronomy started from a young age and he has closely followed many of the key robotic exploration missions over the last 20 years, providing several talks to MKAS members in the past.

Will has worked in the further and higher education sector for over a decade and is currently employed as a lecturer at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he manages and teaches on a range of animal-related degree programmes. Will also works at a national level running training programmes for the Mammal Society.



15-Nov-2014
Comets and Curry
Herstmonceux

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Past Event Articles

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



»EVENTS
»Regular Meetings
»Observatory Open Evenings
»Outreach Events
»Member Events
»Other Events

»PAST EVENTS


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


MEETING VENUES

REGULAR MEETINGS:
Bredhurst Village Hall

Hurstwood Road,
Bredhurst, Gillingham,
Kent ME7 3JZ
(Close to J4 off the M2)
There is a car park on site.
Starts 7:40pm 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)





WHY NOT JOIN THE
MID-KENT ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY TODAY?
Click here for details






Mid-Kent Astronomical Society
Website by and © Delta Consultancy Services
HOME | EVENTS | ABOUT US | TELESCOPES | PROJECTS | RESOURCES | THE GUIDE | CONTACT |