Abergavenny AS

Our inaugural meeting was on the 8th November 2010 and we officially formed in February 2011.
AAS holds monthly meetings with guest speakers.

All guests are welcome!
No knowledge necessary, just a curious mind.

We are able to provide assistance with setting up your telescope or just helping to find your way around the night sky.

AAS is able to host discussions on subjects as varied as Dark Energy through to 'How dark is your sky'.

Come along and get a new perspective on the universe in which you live!

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Solar eclipse in Madagascar, 1st September

On the 1st September there will be a total solar eclipse in Madagascar.  A local travel company is arranging trips to the event, the details are attached in the link below.   If there are members that are interested please contact the company directly.

The travel company is not connected to Abergavenny Astronomical Society and this notice is for information only.


Mada Eclipse Tour 2016 CL


Change in agenda for tomorrows meeting

Unfortunately we will have to postpone the visit of Helen Usher as she is not able to attend the meeting tomorrow as planned.  Instead Nick Busby will deliver the talk “From Pen Y Fan to Olympus Mons” – from the highest peak in southern Britain to the highest volcano in the solar system.  This talk was originally prepared for the Brecon Beacons Geopark Festival.  It considers the geology and inner structure of the Earth and other terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars) and how it has shaped how they look today – why is Mars cold and desolate? Why is Venus like a medieval vision of hell and why in contrast is the Earth brimming with life?

Time permitting we will still run the beginner’s session on “Magnitude”

Time as usual 19:30 BST in the Kings Head, Abergavenny.

Next meeting Monday 27th June at 19:30

On Monday evening we are delighted to be able to welcome Helen Usher from the School of Physics & Astronomy, Cardiff University.  This is Helen’s first time presenting to our Society and appropriately for the time of year she will talk about  “Seeing the sun in a different light”.  The Sun is our nearest and dearest star and there is still much to understand about how it works;  examining the Sun at different wavelengths is an important tool in helping us to gain that understanding.

We will also run the second session in our beginners series after Helen’s talk.  This will explain “Magnitude”.  This is a term often mentioned by our speakers and this session, which is expected to last less than 1/2 an hour will explain what it is and why it is important.  The notes for this talk can be found in the “downloads” section of this website.

Usual time and place – 19:30 BST, Kings Head, Abergavenny

Some downloads added to the website

We have started running some beginner’s session to help new starters get up to speed quickly and enjoy the talks all the more.  The first one was on Monday – on using binoculars.  The presentation has been added to the website for you to peruse and also one on “Magnitude” and a new written guide for those wishing to purchase their first telescope.  We will cover these topics in future sessions.  You can find these documents here.

13th June – topic change “Observing with binoculars”

Unfortunately the next Cosmology discussion meeting will have to be cancelled.  Apologies for the short notice but don’t worry, Nick will do a presentation linked to the theme of “Basic Astronomy”

There have been requests from a number of members to find some time to explain some of the basics of astronomy, so that they can get more out of the talks.  So we will run some short sessions dealing with some fundamental topics.  The sessions should be highly interactive, no question is too simple – that is the whole purpose, to help everyone understand the principles.  The sessions will probably take around 45 minutes – in that way we can fit one in at the end of a normal meeting – say from 9pm to 9:45pm.

So, to kick off this series Nick will start next Monday, 13th June, with the topic “Observing with binoculars”.  Usual time and place, 7:30pm, The King’s Head, Abergavenny

Many of our members have binoculars of all shapes and sizes – it is often not realised that using them is a bit of an acquired skill.  This session will deal with which binoculars are good for astronomy and what they can be used for.  We will also look at how to hold, focus, aim and look after them.  If you have binoculars do bring them along and we can check them out for you and show the best ways to use your particular ones.

The next session, date to be advised, will be on the magnitude of stars and other objects and how it is used in measuring distances and other characteristics.
Astronomers and presenters often refer to the magnitude of a star or galaxy, it is a basic concept and we often assume members understand its significance.  This session will explains how it works, what it means and how it is used.
As with all these sessions it will assumed no prior knowledge at all.

Any suggestions for further sessions will be most welcome.  We can also rerun them for members who missed the original session or who would like a refresher.

June Meetings

13th June, 7:30pm, Kings Head, Abergavenny
Cosmology Discussion Group : following Prof Mike Edmunds talk on Quasars we will be picking up the theme and looking at what quasars can tell us about the universe.  Some questions that came out of Mike’s talk we might address are – Why are they so far away/old? Can they switch off? What do they tell us about the evolution of the universe and black holes? What is the difference between a Blazar and a Quasar? What is an accretion disc? …..
Come along and raise your own questions for us to think about.

27th June, 7:30pm, Kings Head, Abergavenny
General meeting : Helen Usher, Cardiff Uni School of Physics and Astronomy, will give a talk “Seeing the Sun in a different light”.

PLEASE NOTE:  as usual there will be no meetings in July and August.  We will restart in September.


As you may have seen from the link on the web page we now have a Facebook page, HERE.

At the moment it mirrors the postings that are on the webpage but we are thinking about how best to develop it.  If you are on Facebook perhaps you can like the page, if that is the correct terminology.

Dates to remember next week

Monday 23rd May, Professor Mike Edmunds, from Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy, will be attending the Society’s monthly meeting and will present on the subject of  The Great Quasar debate.  Mike is no stranger to the many of us that have attended his talks in the past – he is always a star performer (no pun intended!) and is certain to enthrall us again on Monday evening – 7:30 Kings Head.

Quasars – for those unfamiliar with the term (quasi-stellar radio sources) – are extremely bright and distant objects that have provided mystery and fascination in equal measure since their discovery around half a century ago.  Mike is sure to show these enigmatic objects in a new light (pun intended).


Modesty prevents me from praising the next speaker:-

In support of the Geopark Festival, next week Wednesday 25th May 7pm, Nick Busby will be bringing the Geopark together with the International Dark Sky Reserve in an inquiry into heavenly bodies.  He will be giving a lecture in Brecon entitled “From Pen y Fan to Olympus Mons (The highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons and the highest mountain in the solar system)”

Our Old Red Sandstone is an iron-stained sequence of sandstones and other sedimentary rocks deposited by rivers eroding a mountain chain around 400 million years ago. And it was an ancient body of water that deposited the red sedimentary rocks of Mars billions of years before.
A talk on the geology of the 4 inner planets of the solar system, looking at the forces that have shaped them and made them what they are today.
At Elim Hall, Canal Road, Brecon LD3 7HL
Cost: tickets £5 on door (£3 concessions)
Event sponsored by
Brecon Beacons Park Society

Rain stops play!

Unfortunately it looks like the weather is not going to allow us to observe the Sun today so we will have to call off the session in Usk, looking for the transit of Mercury this afternoon.  One of the perils of a weather dependent hobby!

See you at the meeting this evening


Looking a bit dodgy for tomorrow!

Today has been gorgeous but it looks like a weather front is coming in so it may be that the transit of Mercury will be a bit of a washout tomorrow.  Still you never know – we will see what tomorrow brings.  If there is any chance of seeing the transit we will set up some ‘scopes in Usk as planned.  Check the website or give me a call on 07889 658403 if you want to check what is happening.

Keep your fingers crossed