Inspired by the Covid-19 emergency we are holding regular meetings over a Zoom application. This page consists of hints and guidelines for participation.

You will receive an email invitation to join the session for a specific date and time. You can click the link at anytime before, and it will ask you to install the latest version of the Zoom software if necessary.

We will start the session about 10 mins before the declared start time. You need a PC, tablet or laptop. With microphone and camera if you want to be heard and seen. There is an offer to test your system in the very easy setup steps.

I found it very intuitive and automatic in operation using an attached webcam. Laptops with built-in devices should have no problem.

Look around the edges of the screen depending on you device and software there are controls for various options. For example...
Your image on the panel of participants is optional. There is a facility to supress you camera and/or microphone. If there is a possibility you might distract the presenter or the other participants, disable them.

Comments during the presentation are possible but can be distracting. Better to wait for the question session at the end.

Of course we are available for questions at [email protected]

Advice for hosts if hosting a meeting check the settings….

Invite self-explanatory
Mute all self-explanatory
Unmute all self-explanatory
Mute participants on entry self-explanatory
Allow participants to unmute themselves self-explanatory
Allow participants to rename themselves self-explanatory
Play entry/exit chime please no – may drive you nuts
Enable waiting room may be selected by default UNCHECK
Lock meeting prevents further joiners even if invited
The British Astronomical Association is also undertaking webinars during the current emergency so Shaun Taylor of the BAA passed on a few hints about webinars and Zoom in particular.

From the BBC website….

In summary the experts said:

Use the latest version of Zoom
Remember, as it is video conferencing, people can see you and what is behind you,
If the meeting host is the only one that should be “broadcasting” their image then the host should set screen-sharing to ”host only”,
Meeting hosts should also disable “file transfer” to prevent any malware being shared.

Content of meetings?

Although many meetings are not advertised as being on a specific topic, many contributors have recent images or observations to share. We also share opinions of astronomy-politics – think Elon Musk – or have a round up of regular features in the media such as Sky at Night, Astronomy Picture of the Day, or the latest science news in general.

For the beginners one of the experts does a piece on astro-101 at each session.

I usually feel I have learned something by the end of every meeting.