Speakers 2020-21

Next Meeting:


Thursday 4th March 2021 : Mary McIntyre F.R.A.S. : “History of Women in Astronomy”

Steve Cunnington

Note: This is an online ZOOM meeting. Access to the meeting will be emailed to members.

Historically, astronomy has been very male-dominated. This talk is a celebration of women who worked in astronomy during different periods of history and some of the challenges they have faced.

Steve Cunnington



Coming Up:


Thursday 1st April 2021 : Dr. Paul Daniels F.R.A.S. : “The Megaconstellation Threat”

Steve Cunnington

Note: This is an online ZOOM meeting. Access to the meeting will be emailed to members.

Paul is the President, Federation of Astronomical Societies Vice President
(Astronomy), Royal Astronomical Society. Paul says: I’m keen to spread the word on that issue as we’ll all have to think of ways to avoid having our observing and, in particular, our imaging spoiled.



Thursday 6th May 2021 : Professor David Rees :

“Positive signs for Europe as ESA goes forward to the Moon”

Steve Cunnington

Note: This will probably be a ZOOM meeting. Access to the meeting will be emailed to members.

ESA Director General and NASA Administrator have signed a joint agreement to take Europe to the Moon. David will detail the aims of this exciting project and how it will be carried out.


Thursday 3rd June 2021 : James Fradgley :

“Orbital Oddities - Strange goings-on with 3 or more bodies”

Steve Cunnington

Note: This will probably be a ZOOM meeting. Access to the meeting will be emailed to members.

LaGrange points, resonances, Roche limits, lots of odds and ends (with simulations).


Thursday 1st July 2021 : Melanie Davies : Talk subject TBC

Steve Cunnington

Note: This will probably be a ZOOM meeting. Access to the meeting will be emailed to members. TBC



Thursday 12th, 13th or 14th August 2021 TBC : BBQ and Perseid Meteor Watch

Steve Cunnington

Hopefully this will be at one of our DarkSites

Exact date won't be known until close to the event as it is weather dependent.

The moon will set at 9.30 pm so, weather permitting, it has the potential of being a good event.

Please Note: This event will only be open to current ESAS members and their family or a close friend.


Thursday 2nd September 2021 : Ian Hargraves : Talk subject : "Eyes on the Sky" 

Steve Cunnington

Probabl this will be a hybid meeting - live meeting at the bowls club + live Zoom.

A look at the major developments in observing and the major players in astronomy, from Ancient Greece to 2021.


Thursday 7th October 2021 : Professor Lucie Green : Talk subject TBC

Steve Cunnington

Hopefully this will be a live meeting at the bowls club.

Lucie Green’s talk has been postponed from October 2020 to this date, by which time we should be able to offer a ‘live’ meeting at the Bowls Club.


Thursday 4th November 2021 : ESAS Patron, Professor Chris Lintott : “The Croud and the Cosmos” - TBC

Steve Cunnington

Note: Hopefully this will be a live meeting at the bowls club rather than an online ZOOM meeting. This is to be confirmed.

Chris was originally booked for our July 2020 meeting, but this was postponed due to the pandemic. His topic was to have been based around his book “The Crowd and the Cosmos”, but he may wish to chose a different subject.


Thursday 2nd December 2021 : TBC

Steve Cunnington

Hopefully this will be a live meeting at the bowls club.





Thursday 4th February 2021 : William Joyce : "A Selection of Deep Sky Objects"

Steve Cunnington

Note: This is an online ZOOM meeting. Access to the meeting will be emailed to members.

Finding deep sky objects visually or for imaging is a popular target for astronomers. So what kinds of DSO's are there out there? What is known about them?

As well as providing spectacular image subjects, DSO's offer fascinating insights into astrophysical processes occurring out in space. This talk will select a variety of DSO's and discuss a little about them in an easily accessible way.



Thursday 7th January 2021 : Andrew Hindmarch : “The Saturn V Programme” 

Steve Cunnington

Andrew Hindmarch is a keen amateur astronomer who is passionate about sharing his knowledge at outreach projects.  He is a committee member of the Edenbridge & District Astronomers, a small but enthusiastic bunch of people.  

We hear much about the astronauts who went to the moon and what they found when they arrived, but we don’t hear that much about the vehicle that got them there.
Following the announcement by President John F Kennedy in 1961 to land a man on the moon within a decade, the Saturn V rocket became the means to fulfill that challenge. Using his highly detailed model, Andrew will explain more about the rocket, how it was designed and operated, plus some of the problems the rocket encountered during its lifetime. The use of ZOOM software for this talk will allow Andrew to show you details of the rocket via the camera on the laptop.
Sleek, slender and astonishingly powerful, the Saturn V was visually arresting. Yet this creation of the US space effort severely taxed the NASA engineers who envisaged it, and the five contractors who built its major components.
The design and engineering of the Saturn V required the generation of enormous forces along with the application of exquisite finesse to control them. At launch it weighed as much as a naval destroyer and the five engines of the first stage generated combined power as great as the UK’s peak electricity consumption. Each pump ran at 5,500rpm generating 53,000 bhp, pumping 2.5 tonnes of fuel per second.
The second and third stage burned liquid hydrogen which was so cold that it was also the only liquid that could lubricate the engines.
Not only was the combined power of the eleven engines fitted to the three stages enough to accelerate the Apollo spacecraft – a payload as heavy as an articulated truck – towards the moon at 11km per second, it also had to carry all the technology to actually navigate the rocket and the three astronauts safely to their destination.
Much of the technology developed during the Apollo missions still forms the basis of rocket launches to this day.

* An online meeting


Thursday 3rd December 2020 : Stephen Wilkins : “Update on James Webb and Associated Science”

Steve Cunnington

Stephen is currently a Reader in Astronomy in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS). He is an STFC Public Engagement Fellow and currently serves as a Director of Outreach and Public Engagement for MPS. His research focusses on the formation and evolution of the first galaxies in the Universe.
* An online meeting


Thursday 5th November 2020 : AGM followed by Members' Talks

Steve CunningtonThe AGM is expected to be quite short as a lot of it will need to be conducted beforehand by email but there will be some online voting (this has been already tested to work).

AGM start time 7.45pm sharp - ESAS members only

Talks start at 8.15pm - Open to ESAS members & invited guests


Lester Selmes : “How to make a constellation” A light hearted talk with no more information so that it gets people guessing!


Peter Bolwell : "Querying Dark Matter”


Mark Jarvis : “Lockdown Astrophotography” Showing and talking about some of his favorite images taken during this difficult summer.

* An online meeting


Thursday 1st October 2020 : Pete Williamson FRAS : “Whirlpools in Space”

Steve Cunnington

"Whirlpools in Space"

The talk looks at the work of the Parsons Family situated at Birr in Ireland, looking at the development of the world’s largest telescope of its time and the breakthrough in telescope engineering and optics. 

We also take time to look at the breakthroughs in astronomy made by William Parsons, the Third Earl of Ross; the ground-breaking work carried out at the eyepiece of this telescope known as The Leviathan.

After leaving Ireland we look at other large telescopes of their day and how observations made with these telescopes compare with the drawings made by William Parsons.

To finish we look at a project that I undertook in Birr Ireland alongside the Leviathan Telescope and what else Birr has to offer.”
* An online meeting


Wednesday 2nd September 2020: Danny Thomas: “Modelling the Constellations in 3D”

Steve Cunnington

"Modelling the Constellations in 3D” covers a challenge that I set myself to model constellations so that they could be displayed from the sides without changing the scale.

A few years ago I did a programming course related to computer generated art. To test my knowledge I wrote some code to model the constellations using galactic coordinates from publicly available data. Unlike a planetarium program, that in essence projects the stars onto a screen, I wanted to be able to move the viewpoint so I could understand the relative position of the stars in the direction stretching away from our solar system.

Once the code was working, I looked at various constellations and started to learn more about their history, future, mythology and some interesting facts that I would not have come across otherwise. Telling this side of the story gives the talk a broad appeal to an audience of mixed knowledge and interests.

The talk is in two parts, a brief presentation about the way the program works to orient the audience and then a live demonstration of the program. I will use about a dozen different examples of well know constellations where I found an interesting story to tell.

* An online meeting



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