making astronomy accessible to all

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

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.

Howard Parkin

Howard has been an astronomer most of his life, inspired by the “Space race” back in the 60’s 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.


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.

Dr Lorne Whiteway

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


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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Tonkin

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

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

Steve also has a very popular Facebook page

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


Christmas Social
To be confirmed

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

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?

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.

Colin Stuart - Time in Einstein's Universe
Bredhurst Village Hall

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.

Colin Stuart

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

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

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


Paul Money - Why are there no green stars?
Virtual presentation by Zoom with possible hybrid meeting at Bredhurst Village Hall

Paul makes a welcome return for an unusual and interesting presentation as to why there are no green stars

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.


  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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