Astronomy Group Programme

The Astronomy Group's meeting programme for 2019-20 is expected to be as follows (subject to alteration):

  • 09-Oct-2019 “Andromeda Galaxy” – Smithsonian DVD.
  • 13-Nov-2019 "Who was James Webb, and why are they sending his telescope into space?" - talk from George Cleland.
  • Synopsis: Who’s James Webb? And why are we sending his telescope into space?

In this talk we’ll find out a bit about the ‘new’ James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) but first we’ll find out James Webb was. (“... did more for science than any other government official.”)
We’ll set context by looking at other space telescopes and why we put them up there, rather than on the ground (or in jumbo jets). Then we’ll cover the technology of the JWST, and the mission (including it’s not so stellar past progress). Finally, we’ll discuss the scientific programme for the JWST and the answers it might provide on, if not life, the universe and everything.

  • 11-Dec-2019 "Venus" - talk from Simon Cuthbert.
  • Synopsis: “Venus, the familiar bright jewel of the morning and evening skies and our nearest planetary neighbour should be the most Earth-like of the other terrestrial planets, but how much like our own world is it in reality? This presentation explores the current state of knowledge and will, indeed, reveal many familiar features. However, there is much about Venus that is very strange and decidedly hostile. Venus's brilliant white veil hides a scorched volcanic landscape and its pressure-cooker atmosphere makes exploration much more difficult than on other planets, so mysteries abound: What happened to all the water? Does it have plate tectonics? Why are there metal-coated mountain-tops? Was Venus ever really Earth-like, and could humans ever visit Venus, or even live there?”
  • 08-Jan-2020 "Why Can't We Find Dark Matter?" - talk from Dr Mike Petersen.
  • Synopsis: In all likelihood, undetectable mass is lurking all around us: dark matter. So why has it eluded our search efforts? This talk about unseen influences will explore the evidence for dark matter, how current research has influenced the search, and future projects to find this mysterious material.
  • 12-Feb-2020 Visit to the Royal Observatory Edinburgh (members must have signed up for this).
  • 11-Mar-2020 "Vesta and the Asteroid Belt" - Smithsonian DVD.
  • 08-Apr-2020 “Spaceports: The Future of Scottish Space Industry?!” – talk from Matjaz Vidmar.
  • 13-May-2020 Either Smithsonian DVD or Outside Visit.
  • 10-Jun-2020 "The End of Term Dinner".
  • Each meeting features: "This Month's Night Sky" - Alan Pickup
  • Each meeting features: "Sky Watch" - Prof. Tony Trewavas (the pick of journal articles).

• July, August and September 2020 will be taken as holidays.

  • Wed. 14-Oct-2020 Start of new season.

Additional plans:

  • To study "A Visual Guide to the Universe - Smithsonian". DVD-part of The Great Courses series.
  • Visit to The Royal Observatory Edinburgh - Provisionally either February or May 2020.
  • Additional Outside Visit.
  • End-of-term Dinner - June 2020.

Those in the Group interested in observing the night sky are alerted by text to their mobile phones for aurora and noctilucent clouds.

There is an annual one off payment of £5:00 or pro-rata to cover the cost of a gift for the speaker and incidental expenses. This will be collected in October.
Tea or Coffee at meetings £1.80. Biscuits donated by members.
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