2018-19 Season Speakers :
6th June 2019 Greg Smye-Rumsby (tbc) : Uranus – a story of Planetary Catastrophe
Come to our meeting and experience one of the greatest popularisers of astronomical science the world has ever seen!
4th July 2019 Steve Cunnington : Observational Cosmology: The next generation of telescopes
Originally from Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, Steve is am currently a PhD Student who started at the Institute of Cosmology & Gravitation in October 2016 working with David Bacon and Alkistis Pourtsidou. He is exploring cross-correlations between radio and optical telescopes and how we can use these to probe large-scale cosmic structure and test theories of gravity. In particular he is hoping these cross-correlations can help maximise what we learn about dark energy from upcoming telescope surveys such as LSST and SKA. Steve graduated from the University of Southampton in 2016 with a BSc degree in Physics. His research is funded by the University of Portsmouth.
In October 2019 Steve will be starting his first post-doctoral position at Queen Mary University of London working on large-scale cosmic structure research with MeerKAT radio telescope data.
Talk abstract: Whilst we have been studying the night sky for millennia, it is arguably only in the last several decades that we have had instruments with sufficient sensitivity to probe beyond our own galaxy and study our Universe in any detail. In this respect the topic of cosmology is one which is very young and hence developing fast. Steve will give a brief overview of some of our most exciting discoveries in the field of cosmology and the evidence for these. He will then look to the future and introduce some of the large global collaborations such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), the Euclid Consortium and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) expected to begin in the 2020's. These are all expected to provide unprecedented amounts of sensitivity and means there is increasing excitement for the future of cosmology.
5th Sept 2019 Ian Whiteley : The Royal Greenwich Observatory at Herstmonceux
Ian has thoroughly researched the RGO’s history, especially its time at Herstmonceux and will be using unique video interviews with RGO staff to illustrate his talk.
5th Dec 2019 : Dr. Jan Drozd : A Pale Blue Dot – Earth from an Alien’s Perspective
Dr Jan Drozd is a retired biological (microbiology and biochemistry) scientist who has worked in academia, industry and government. He was once the recipient of a Royal Society European Research Fellowship. He is a member of Wadhurst Astronomy Society and is interested in many aspects of astronomy. He has written several articles for Popular Astronomy, the magazine of the Society for Popular Astronomy.
In this Decembers' meeting, Jan considers how intelligent and advanced aliens who study exoplanets, in a similar way that we do, might piece together the history of the Earth’s formation, the evolution of life and its impact on the environment on this “pale blue dot” we call home.
Many of us will be familiar with the opening mission statement from the original Star Trek TV series:
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
We are so used to looking outwards from our planet, that it is interesting to consider how curious and dispassionate aliens, from a more scientifically advanced civilisation than ours, with a similar mission statement to the above, might piece together the history of the Earth’s formation, the evolution of life and its impact on the environment on this “pale blue dot” we call home.
2nd May 2019 Pete Williamson : Remote Telescopes for Education, Research and imaging
The talk will include information about Public Access Observatories, The Faulkes Professional Observatories for Education and learning and public access to Hubble and Juno for image processing and research.
As well as the producer of stunning astro-images, Pete is also a broadcaster and managed to inveigle our Chairman (twice) onto his Astro Radio show at last September's Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival.
4th April 2019 Bob Mizon : Seven Moons - 7 bizarre satellites of the solar system
Bob Mizon (rhymes with Horizon) is a graduate in modern languages, but is much better known as an astronomer. Bob is best known in the scientific and environmental community as the co-ordinator of the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies, which aims to turn back the tide of light pollution that has seriously affected our view of the stars over the last fifty years. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1985, and has been associated with the Wessex Astronomical Society in various offices for many years.
In 2010 Bob was awarded the MBE for his work in astronomy and environmental education.
The April meeting : Some of the satellites in our solar system are more than just balls of cratered rock. Bob explores some of the more bizarre moons in our corner of the universe.
7th March 2019 (At the Earlier start time of 7.30pm) Telescope Fest
Instead of a talk at our March meeting, we're having a repeat of last years successful practical evening when members (and non-members) can bring their equipment to discuss their problems – and find solutions - with more experienced fellow members.
We hope to have an equipment supplier on hand with tempting gadgets to buy and support from professional astronomers and researchers.
Don't worry that your equipment problem is too trivial to bring up – any problem that stops you enjoying your hobby is a problem needing a solution – and we can provide it!
Even if you don't (yet) have equipment of your own, come and see the Society's loan equipment and discuss its loan to you to help you in your hobby.
So, equipment or not, come along and have a relaxing evening with like-minded people
7th February. 2019 Prof David Rees: The History of Rockets
David was UK Principal Investigator for some 250+ Rocket experiments on the Earth's atmosphere / ionosphere / magnetosphere. He also developed and built important components of some 8 NASA Satellite Instruments, so he's the perfect person to help us appreciate the history of rocketry.
The powerful space rockets used today for launching a wide range of scientific and commercial satellites have resulted from more than 2000 years of invention and trial and error experimentation. Lost in the shadows of time and history, the early rocket pioneers were pressured, usually by their omnipotent and despotic rulers, into attempting to build rocket-propelled devices for use in military and ceremonial activities on land and sea. Much more recently, we have seen the major developments of efficient, highly powerful (and now even reusable).
Rockets for a very wide range of air and space applications. The average person "in the street" is quite unaware of the scale of our dependence on space-based technologies. The talk will review how rockets work - reverting to Newton's First and Third Laws and the four distinct types of Rockets in use: Solid Fuel - the oldest type - dating back to at least ~500 BC!! (but still in use as boosters); Liquid Fuel - dating back to 1926 (Goddard) used now as the primary means of getting satellites into space; Ion (Electric) Propulsion and Solar Sail.
3rd Jan. 2019 Doug Edworthy: The Universe Through the Internet
Our Chairman, Doug, spends his cloudy nights surfing the Internet for credible and reliable astronomy-related resources - there is an awful lot of in-credible and un-reliable stuff out there!
On his travels he's discovered a number of helpful discussion forums and fascinating YouTube channels that have helped expand his knowledge of telescopes, visual observing, imaging, computer-control of telescope mounts and observatory equipment, and the Universe in general.
This talk will show you his personal selection of the Internet resources he uses with examples of some excellent videos by astronomy professionals.
If you have a computer with a connection to the Internet, you must come to this talk!
6th Dec. 2018 William Joyce: Whistle-stop Tour of the Planets
For our Christmas meeting, regular ESAS presenter Will has promised an easy-to-digest but mind-expanding trip to the planets (and some minor-planets for you Pluto enthusiasts) of the Solar System. He might even be persuaded to talk also about exo-planets – planets around other stars – if you ask him nicely!
1st Nov. 2018 Chris Baker : Photographing the Deep Sky- A Journey through Space and Time
Chris has been an astro-photographer since 2001 as an extension of his lifelong interest in astronomy. He's won awards for his photography and contributed articles to the BBC's The Sky at Night and Astronomy Now magazines.
Chris's talk is structured around his book, "Photographing the Deep Sky- A Journey through Space and Time", covering: • Background to his passion for astronomy and my astro -photography journey – the back garden to the mountain top
• The equipment he uses and the remote imaging set up – How he uses it plus advantages and disadvantages of such a facility
• Then he will show many of the images taken whilst at the same time take you on a journey through space and time, starting with the closest object 400 light years away and ending with a galaxy cluster at 1 billion light years.
• He will also relate this to what the Earth was like as the light left some of the objects to travel across space to his camera. For example, as the light was travelling from the Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million years ago on its journey to my telescope, the Himalayas were still being raised and the North Sea didn't exist.
We hope you will enjoy the images, the fascinating Earth history, empathise with the trials and tribulations of the hobby, and be further stimulated to take even better photos!
4th Oct. 2018 Melanie Davies: 'The Sun: Answering some burning questions!'
This talk will help answer some burning questions about our nearest and dearest star.
The Sun is part of our everyday lives. So much so that it's easy to forget that it's actually a star! You'll be constantly reminded of this fact throughout this fascinating talk, which is suitable for all ages and abilities. How did the Sun come to life? How long has it been bathing the Solar System with light and heat? How long will it last? These are just some of the questions that'll be addressed. We'll be discussing solar physics (how the Sun works), the Suns affect on the Solar System, how it compares with other stars, and much more.
We'll also be looking at the dynamic differences within the outer layers of the Sun and how we can detect space weather. NASA and ESA are both in the process of developing solar probes that will "touch" the Suns atmosphere, the talk wouldn't be complete without giving these two daring missions a mention too.
6th Sept. 2018 Guy Hurst : Comet Observing
The talk covers the history of great comets of the past together with their cause and links to the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt. We examine the amazing information gathered from very ancient records and their value as in the case of Comet Halley.
Following this, the main thrust of the presentation is to explain their orbits and features. We discuss vital observing techniques needed to study or even discover (!) the latest comets both visually and by imaging techniques. Famous discoverers such as the late George Alcock and Roy Panther will be mentioned.
Finally the speaker will clarify how to report results to The Astronomer and the British Astronomical Association’s Comet Section.
Guy 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, ‘Services to Astronomy’ from the professional group, the Royal Astronomical Society for promotion of the subject to audiences of all ages. This includes talks to junior schools on various subjects including space to support plans of teachers.
For over 25 years he has also run adult education courses for astronomy in five counties and 19 centres, this in addition to giving talks to various groups including astronomical societies and even NASA in USA.