making astronomy accessible to all

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

Covid precautions:
• Please do not to attend if you have tested positive in the last week or have COVID symptoms
• We strongly recommend the wearing of masks when not seated wherever practical, please
• Please use the hand sanitisers that will be provided
• Please respect other Members' requests regarding social distancing
We will also be maximising the ventilation in the hall for your added protection.

Click here for further details

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.

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 LemaÃ?tre, 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

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.


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

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.


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.

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.


Prof Ian Morison - Our Island Universe - the Milky Way Galaxy and its place in Time and Space
Bredhurst Village Hall

'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.

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

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.


Greg Smye-Rumsby - The Craig telescope
Bredhurst Village Hall

In this presentation Greg will tell us the fascinating story of the Craig telescope which at the time was the world's largest refracting telescope. It was the brain child of one man, the Reverend Mr. John Craig and it stood in 1852 in Wandsworth Common, approximately 50 miles from Bredhurst!

Whilst some would consider it "an expensive failure", we now have a much better understanding of this strange and cumbersome instrument and why it never fulfilled its promise despite employing the minds of some of the greatest engineers of the day.

With Greg's engaging presenting style this will be a fascinating talk combining both history and astronomy.

Greg Smye-Rumsby

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

Jane Green FRAS - The MKAS Celebration Lecture
Bredhurst Village Hall

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."


Will Joyce - The outer planets
Virtual presentation by ZOOM

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

William Joyce

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

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

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


MKAS Tribute to Peter Parish and Chris Sherwood
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.

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 of talks and displays about astronomy and space with some hands on activities for the younger children from age 5 upwards. There will be plenty to occupy the adults too!

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

Some highlights to look forward to:
- Hands-on displays about Space and our Solar System
- Talks on the Planets and Space
- The scale of the Solar System
- Moon rock and Meteorites: Look at different meteorites and hold a piece of the Moon!!
- Apollo 11 and rockets
- Information about hardware going to Mercury
- Spectroscopy and the science of light
- Galaxy making, drawing and space games
- Stargazing outside (weather permitting)
- The latest news on our Giant GP20 Telescope project

- FREE REFRESHMENTS - tea, coffee,squash and biscuits
- TELESCOPE WORKSHOP - if you have a telescope and are struggling to use it, bring it along and we will help you
- RAFFLE - with astronomy related and normal prizes to be won

Doors open at 7:30pm. Entrance only £1

All funds raised will go to the GP20 Telescope project - find out more 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.

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.
We will also have step ladders to allow shorter adults and children to look through the eyepieces.


Regular Meetings (virtual)

Regular meetings are held on the second and last Friday of each month, except August and at Christmas, when there are no meetings. Meetings normally start at 7:50pm for 8pm.

All Regular meetings are held on Zoom unless otherwise stated.

These meetings are open to members as part of their annual subscription, and also available to non-members who are welcome to attend, for a fee of £3. Everyone of all ages and levels of expertise is welcome, including complete beginners.

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

After the questions have been answered, we then have a "Chit-Chat" session for all present who wish to stay on, where we have the opportunity to discuss any astronomical topics or ask any questions to those present.

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

Regular Meetings (in-person, at Bredhurst)

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

All Regular meetings are held at Bredhurst Village Hall unless otherwise stated.
Bredhurst Village Hall : Hurstwood Road, Bredhurst, Gillingham, Kent ME7 3JZ
Bredhurst is close to J4 off the M2. There is a car park on site.

These meetings are open to non-members who are welcome to attend and everyone of all ages and levels of expertise is welcome, including complete beginners. There is a small entrance fee for each meeting to cover costs for tea and coffee.

Following the presentation there will be a tea break giving a chance to talk with other MKAS members and then an observing session in the field behind the hall (weather permitting) and a telescope workshop in the hall, so if you are having problems with your telescope (or just want to show it off) bring it along.

Please dress appropriately for the weather, and be ready for observing, if it is clear. Remember that it can get very cold, especially in winter, so bring several layers or your warmest winter coat, as you feel appropriate.

Observatory Open Evenings

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

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

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

Outreach Events

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

Member Events

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

Other Events

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

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

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

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


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


Bredhurst Village Hall

Hurstwood Road,
Bredhurst, Gillingham,
Kent ME7 3JZ
(Close to J4 off the M2)
There is a car park on site.
Starts 7:45pm for 8pm.

James Irwin Observatory

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

Click here for details

Mid-Kent Astronomical Society
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