Mid-Kent Astronomical Society
The James Irwin Observatory is
Currently Closed
and Due to Reopen

on 20th December 2019

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

See EVENTS page for details


Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury

These take place on Fridays when we do not hold a meeting at Bredhurst (except at Christmas).
Check this page or home page after 19:30 on the day to get final confirmation before travelling, in case clouds prevent us opening.
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury

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 Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury
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.

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.

Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury

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

We welcome back Prof 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 technolog.

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 alomng and discover more and be prepared to be surprised.

Prof 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.

Public Observing Open Evening
James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury

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


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)
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.

The meeting is 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.

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.

All of our regular meetings are held on the second and last Friday of each month, except August and at Christmas, when there are no meetings.
All regular meetings are held at Bredhurst Village Hall unless otherwise stated.
Meetings normally start at 7.45pm for 8pm.
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.

See our website EVENTS page for details of our forthcoming meetings.

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