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19-Jul
DETAILS

Prof David Rees - The Eagle has landed - celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing
The High School Canterbury 1900hrs -2200hrs

“Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has Landed.”

These immortal words announced the landing of Apollo 11’s lunar module in the Sea of Tranquillity on 20th July 1969.

Come along and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this fantastic achievement by three brave astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. This event will be suitable for ages 5 upwards. The talks and the exhibition will be fully accessible although unfortunately only the more able bodied will be able to climb the steep stairs to the top floor of the observatory where the large telescope is housed. We will have a smaller ground based telescope available to look through.

This is your opportunity to learn some of the background to the Space Race to put a man on the Moon, the Apollo 11 mission and the follow-on missions, up to the last manned mission to the Moon, Apollo 17.

Mid-Kent Astronomical Society (MKAS) www.midkentastro.org.uk and Canterbury Academy, in association with The STEM Hub (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) will be commemorating this fantastic achievement on Friday 19 July 2019 at the Canterbury Academy, Knight Avenue, Canterbury CT2 8QA. Doors open at 7:00pm with the exhibition and observatory open until 10pm.

Space scientist, Prof. David Rees, will be giving two identical presentations starting at 7:30pm and 9:00pm (circa 45mins each), on the lead up to this historic event and the follow-on Lunar missions. You will be able to select one of the available presentation times when booking your FREE ticket.

Prof. Rees will also talk about the MSASI instrument, (Mercury Sodium Atmospheric Spectroscopic Imager, mounted on the JAXA Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter spacecraft) that is currently heading to Mercury along with ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter in the BepiColumbo Mission, launched October 2018. A “flight spare” of the MSASI Instrument will be on display, on the night.

Superb high-resolution images of the Lunar Surface, Lunar Lander and Astronauts were taken by modified Hasselblad Cameras.

A selection of these excellent photographs will also be shown. A close-to-identical Hasselblad 500EL camera, as used by the Astronauts will also be on display. Throughout the evening, you will also be able to visit the James Irwin Observatory (opened in 1991 by the Apollo 15 Lunar Module pilot and Moon walker, James Benson “Jim” Irwin). Weather permitting, you may be able to view Jupiter and its Galilean Moons and possibly Saturn with its spectacular rings, through its 14” aperture, computer controlled telescope. Sadly the Moon will not rise until much later.

There will also be an opportunity to touch a piece of the Moon; be astonished by the scale of our Solar System; learn how we know so much about stars that we will probably never get to in our lifetimes; and have an opportunity to make a crater. These all form part of the fantastic MKAS astronomy display. Other features may be added at short notice.

While looking around, keep an eye open for the MKAS Space Timeline that covers the developments since 1900 that have led to some of mankind’s greatest advancements in our exploration and understanding of space.

Anecdotal comment from Prof. David Rees:The Ascent Stage nearly never took off from the Lunar surface due to a broken switch. Come and find out how they overcame that potential catastrophe.

IMPORTANT NOTE - This is an all ticket event. Tickets are FREE but LIMITED so hurry!
For the 7:30pm presentation get tickets here

For the 9:00pm presentation, get your tickets here

Prof David Rees

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

David is Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics at Utah State University, USA. He has a network of contacts that include some of the biggest names in astrophysics and therefore he is up to date on all the latest theories and research.

David is also conducting leading edge research on our atmosphere using his sophisticated LIDAR system. He uses LiDAR systems from Salehurst in Sussex to undertake cutting-edge research into the Earth's atmosphere and the wind, also atmospheric particulates like dust from the Sahara.
David is currently working on the Aeolus Calibration / Validation Programme for the Aeolus wind-measuring Lidar Satellite launched by ESA in August 2018.

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

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


26-Jul
DETAILS

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.

Prof David Rees

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

David is Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics at Utah State University, USA. He has a network of contacts that include some of the biggest names in astrophysics and therefore he is up to date on all the latest theories and research.

David is also conducting leading edge research on our atmosphere using his sophisticated LIDAR system. He uses LiDAR systems from Salehurst in Sussex to undertake cutting-edge research into the Earth's atmosphere and the wind, also atmospheric particulates like dust from the Sahara.
David is currently working on the Aeolus Calibration / Validation Programme for the Aeolus wind-measuring Lidar Satellite launched by ESA in August 2018.

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

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


13-Sep
DETAILS

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.



Graham Finch

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

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

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

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




27-Sep
DETAILS

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.

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 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.


11-Oct
DETAILS

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 “Messier Objects”. But what of Charles Messier himself?

In the first part of his 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 second part of his 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.

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


Graham Finch

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

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

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

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




25-Oct
DETAILS

Arthur Fentaman & Rob Lines: A simple guide to lunar, planetary and 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.

Arthur and Robert will provide a beginners' guide on how to obtain stunning images of the moon, the planets and deep sky objects. They will explain what equipment is needed and the different techniques needed to acquire and process the data and how to reduce the effects of light pollution.

Robert and Arthur have produced some excellent images and Arthur has had several lunar and planetary images published in Astronomy Now magazine



Arthur Fentaman

Arthur is a published astrophotographer and active MKAS member.

To see some of his published work you can visit
http://astrophotomag.com/issue28/#/44
and while you are at it, read the rest of the Amateur Astophotography Ezine.


08-Nov
DETAILS

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.


Prof David Rees

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

David is Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics at Utah State University, USA. He has a network of contacts that include some of the biggest names in astrophysics and therefore he is up to date on all the latest theories and research.

David is also conducting leading edge research on our atmosphere using his sophisticated LIDAR system. He uses LiDAR systems from Salehurst in Sussex to undertake cutting-edge research into the Earth's atmosphere and the wind, also atmospheric particulates like dust from the Sahara.
David is currently working on the Aeolus Calibration / Validation Programme for the Aeolus wind-measuring Lidar Satellite launched by ESA in August 2018.

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

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


29-Nov
DETAILS

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.


Dr Brendan Owens

Dr Brendan Owens MSc is the Astronomy Programmes Officer 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.


13-Dec
DETAILS

Christmas Social
Bredhurst Village Hall



10-Jan-2020
DETAILS

Roy Easto: Merging Neutron Stars
Bredhurst Village Hall

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 takes a look at what happened and what we have learned.

Roy Easto

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


 


  Public Meetings

Public 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 Public 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 for free on their first visit. Everyone of all ages and levels of expertise is welcome, including complete beginners. There is a small entrance fee for each meeting to cover costs for tea and coffee.

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

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


  Observing Open Evenings

The James Irwin Observatory is
Currently Closed
and Due to Reopen

on 26th July 2019

Check here after 19:30 on the day to get final confirmation before travelling in case clouds prevent us opening.

See below for details

On the Fridays when we do not hold our public 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.





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The James Irwin Observatory is
Currently Closed
and Due to Reopen

on 26th July 2019

Check here after 19:30 on the day to get final confirmation before travelling in case clouds prevent us opening.

See below for details
 


MEETING VENUES

PUBLIC MEETINGS:
Bredhurst Village Hall

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

OBSERVING EVENINGS:
James Irwin Observatory

Meet in the Conservatory at:
Victoria Hotel
59 London Road,
Canterbury, Kent
CT2 8JY
You will then be escorted to the observatory at 8:30pm (Oct-Mar) / 9pm (Apr-Sep)





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