Main Programme

Programme 2019-2020

All meetings start at 7.00pm in St. Peter’s Church Hall, Earley.
The open FridayCLUB meetings are now included in this listing.

If you are a speaker who would like to talk to the society or have a recommendation for a speaker or subject please email [email protected]

please note Meetings are wheelchair accessible unless mentioned otherwise

September 21st 2019

Ten Ways The Universe Tries To Kill You!

Stephen Tonkin FRAS –The Binocular Sky, outreach

Author, observer, educator and engaging speaker on all aspects of astronomy. His popular blog and book on binoculars for astronomy was the subject of a talk here a few years ago.
After the coffee break the usual announcements and members activities.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

27th Sep Friday Club

Doors open at 7pm. Talk starts at 7.30pm
Entry is free and open to the public, all welcome, all ages.
This month’s topic…..

How to ‘do’ amateur astronomy

Gerry’s annual introduction to how to get and keep the enthusiasm.

Talk with emphasis on understanding basic astronomical topics for new members.

We are open to suggestions for subjects at all these Friday sessions.

After the break….

Members’ activities and talks

October 19th 2019

To See the Beginning of Time

Andrew Lound Odyssey PresentationsAndrew Lound
The Hubble Space telescope is giving humankind a view of the universe never even imagined. From dust clouds to star-studded galaxies our minds have been opened to a universe that blends outstanding beauty with mind-boggling scales. Looking into deep space we are looking ever further back in time as it takes the light from the most distance objects many millions of years to reach the mirror of the Hubble. This lecture is illustrated by some of the most beautiful natural images one will ever see and is accompanied by music and high quality video. Sit back, relax and let your mind drift into the far reaches of the universe. (AL)

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members activities.

Discussion of next month’s Mercury transit.

25th Oct Friday Club

Doors open at 7pm. Talk starts at 7.30pm
Entry is free and open to the public, all welcome, all ages.
This month’s topic…..

Deep Sky objects

What we can observe. Common types, how the names and catalogues came about.
Talk with emphasis on understanding basic astronomical topics for new members.

We are open to suggestions for subjects at all these Friday sessions.

After the break….

Members’ activities and talks

Nov 11th 2019 (Monday)

Transit of Mercury in progress at sunset

November 16th 2019

An Introduction to Radio Astronomy

Norman Pomfret BAA · Radio Astronomy Group

The Radio Astronomy Group aspires to encourage and support the construction of radio telescopes by amateurs, their use for observing programmes.

Norman writes: Beginning with the accidental discovery of Radio Signals from our Cosmos that made front page of the New York Times. Development of Radio reception equipment and the important discoveries that have subsequently been awarded Nobel prizes.  Simple aids will be used to assist in demonstrating some of the physics of this young branch of one of our oldest sciences. Finally, introducing how citizen science can be applied to observations.

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members activities probably including Monday’s transit.

22nd Nov Friday Club

Entry is free and open to the public, this month’s topic…..

A telescope is for life, not just for Christmas

Be warned listen to our experts. What’s available, do you need it.
Talk with emphasis on understanding basic astronomical topics for new members.

We are open to suggestions for subjects at all these Friday sessions.

After the break….

Members’ activities and talks

December 14th 2019

(Nb. 2nd Saturday)

Santa’s Grotto

Members’ practical stuff

A telescope is for life not just for Christmas. Come and complain about not getting what you wanted for Christmas and drool over what the others are getting. Tea and cakes provided, no cash machine again this year.

Followed by RAS “Christmas Special” including glass of Vin d’Asda compliments of the committee.

27th Dec – Friday Club

Entry is free and open to the public, this month’s topic…..

Our favourite season

Let’s run through our best objects tonight and the background story.
Tonight the Milky Way passes through the zenith in early evening. For north Europeans the winter sky is the time when conditions and the constellations’ stories are best .

After the break….
Members’ activities and talks
On New Year’s Eve this year it will be 300th anniversary of Flamsteed’s death. Extra talk.

January 18th 2020

Antikythera Mechanism

John Lancashire’s reconstruction of the famous artifact using modern materials

Tagline – more text

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members activities.

24th Jan – Friday Club

Doors open at 7pm. Talk starts at 7.30pm
Entry is free and open to the public, all welcome, all ages.
This month’s topic…..

The Winter Sky part II

It’s January.

Warm clothing and get outside but there are some objects that deserve a detailed look and how they have advanced science of all sorts.
Talk with emphasis on understanding basic astronomical topics for new members.

We are open to suggestions for subjects at all these Friday sessions.

After the break….

Members’ activities and talks

February 15th 2020

HOYS-CAPS

Dirk Froebrich University of Kent

Hunting Outbursting Young Stars with the Centre of Astrophysics and Planetary Science. Amateur astronomers from the UK and Europe, supported by professional observatories take images of objects on their target list and submit these images for inclusion in the HOYS-CAPS database. This will allow participants to plot and study light-curves of any star imaged by the project.

During the talk Dirk will explain how more amateurs can be revruited fot the task.

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members’ activities.

28th Feb – Friday Club

It’s leap-year day tommorrow.

The Calendar – how come?

A basic astronomy talk on how the sky dictates the calendar and all the historical baggage that comes with it.

Doors open at 7pm. Talk starts at 7.30pm
Entry is free and open to the public, all welcome, all ages.
This month’s topic…..

We are open to suggestions for subjects at all these Friday sessions.

After the break….

Members’ activities and talks

The hall is booked for a day’s acivities.
Saturday 29th Feb – Open Day and leap-year celebration!

10am to 5pm Lunch to be arranged.

Open Day

Showcase the society to friends relatives and the world in general.

We will open up at 10am – 5pm at St Peters hall to show, discuss, demonstrate, display all aspects of the society and our enthusiasm for the universe.

The public will be invited fron 13:00 ’til 17:00

If you have material for display but cannot attend it can be handed in at the next two meetings. Anything considered, images, drawings or observation diaries.

The usual refreshments available and bringing your own lunch welcome.

March 21st 2020

Getting light from the darkness…

…the story of the biggest telescopes.

Dr Peter Grimley School of Physics & Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London.

From the time of Galileo bigger is almost always been better. Gathering more light meant seeing more and more. This talk looks at the world’s biggest telescopes – from the early attempts to make accurate lenses, to the technological marvels that now inhabit some of the most outlandish places on Earth.

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members’ activities.

27th March – Friday Club

Doors open at 7pm. Talk starts at 7.30pm
Entry is free and open to the public, all welcome, all ages.
This month’s topic…..

Inferior Planets

In 3 days Mercury and Venus will both be at maximum elongation on the same day.

One will be easily visible and the other not. Let’s see what elongation means and learn about these weird planets

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members’ activities.

We are open to suggestions for subjects at all these Friday sessions.

After the break….

Members’ activities and talks

BAA Winchester Weekend. TBA

The annual conference attended by many local astronomers.

April 18th 2020

The New Space Race

Neil Phillipson  Developer and educator, Outsideology

The involvement of private investors – the enormous impact of entrepreneurs Branson, Bezos and Musk on the future of manned spaceflight.

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members’ activities.

Prospects for Lyrid meteor shower.

24th Apr – Friday Club

Doors open at 7pm. Talk starts at 7.30pm
Entry is free and open to the public, all welcome, all ages.
This month’s topic…..

Regular Friday meeting

Talk with emphasis on understanding basic astronomical topics.
Details posted on ‘next meetings’ column on home page.
We are open to suggestions for subjects
After the break….
Members’ activities and talks

May 16th 2020

Journey to the Sun

Dr Helen Mason Reader in Solar Physics, Cambridge University

Helen’s research is in solar physics. Recent solar space observations have completely changed our view of the Sun. She mintains the exuberant website on solar physivs at http://www.suntrek.org/

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members’ activities.

22nd May – Friday Club

Doors open at 7pm. Talk starts at 7.30pm
Details posted on ‘next meetings’ column on home page.
Entry is free and open to the public, all welcome, all ages.
This month’s topic…..

The summer sky.

The sun is never far below the horizon for next 3 months. And the sky full of man-made stuff. Let’s look at the geometry and how it affects our observations.

We are open to suggestions for subjects
After the break….
Members’ activities and talks

June 20th 2020

AGM Night
Including the Annual General Meeting.

Have your say in running the society. Stand for election for posts. Lively discussion. Definitely not boring!

Followed by:

Astronomical Centenaries in 2020

Ken England FRAS
Ken is local amateur astronomer with an interest in the history of astronomy. The talk includes several stories from Ken’s article in the December 2019 issue of The Observatory.

After the coffee break the usual announcements and members’ activities.

EAST READING FESTIVAL Palmer ParkEast Reading Festival

Sunday 21 June

Reading Astronomical Society stand.

Exhibition and solar observing.

We will be attending this annual local event with our telescopes suitably filtered for safe observing of sunspots and other activity on our local star.

Images of previous event.

LOCATION MAP

26th Jun – Friday Club

The Summer Triangle

Outline talk on the fascinating stars of this season.
We are open to suggestions for subjects at all these Friday sessions.

After the break….
Members’ activities and talks

31st July – Friday Club

Perseid Meteors!

About 12/13th August and the moon stays away until quite late.
History of the discovery and details of the shower with observing plans.

After the break….
Members’ activities and talks

NO MAIN MEETINGS IN JULY & AUGUST
Notes for diary:
Mercury Transit 2019 Nov 11 – 300 year anniversary of death of John Flamsteed 2019 Dec 31
The venue is St. Peter’s Church Hall, Church Road, Earley.
Parking is available in the hall car park.
Typical meeting timings are….
7.00 – 8.30pm :: Announcements and speaker as detailed above.
8.30 – 9.00pm :: Refreshments and an opportunity to chat and browse the library.
9.00 – 9.45pm :: Miscellany of topics by members.And a quick look at next year’s programme dates…Sep 19 2020
Oct 17 2020
Nov 21 2020
Dec 12 2020 Social
Jan 16 2021
Feb 20 2021
Mar 20 2021
Apr 17 2021 (Easter 4 Apr)
May 15 2021
Jun 19 2021 – AGM
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