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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New Year Party, 22nd January, Regency 59, Abergavenny



Please see below the menu for the New Year Party at the Regency 59 restaurant in Abergavenny on the 22nd January.  The price will be £20 per head, which does not include drinks.  Everyone welcome including wives, husbands, partners, girlfriends, boyfriends, best mate…..

Please indicate to Carol (secretary@AbergavennyAS.org.uk) if you would like to attend and how many places you require.  Please note we cannot accept new requests or cancellations after Thursday 18th January.  If you have any special dietary requirements please let us know in advance.  I can recommend the food from the Regency 59 but if there is anyone that really does not like Indian style food – again let us know as some English food such as grilled chicked can be supplied on request.




Don’t forget, next meeting Monday 8th January

We welcome in the New Year with a session to help ease you into observing the stars; back to basics, how to identify constellations and remember them and how to find the elusive objects within them.  Whether you observe with binoculars, a telescope or just a mark 1 eyeball this session will show the easy way to get to know the sky.

Also do not forget to let Carol or myself know if you want to attend the party on the 22nd January when we join again with friends from Usk Society for an evening of food and fun at the Regency 59, 59-60 Cross St, Abergavenny NP7 5EUFurther details on the menu and cost will be posted shortly. Nick  (Observing@AbergavennyAS.org.uk) or Carol  (secretary@AbergavennyAS.org.uk)

Monday 8th January – Back to basics

For all those that got shiny new binoculars for Christmas or even a telescope or for those just starting out in astronomy, this session is to help you find your way around the night sky, identify constellations and patterns in the stars and remember them.  Finding your way around the sky is a skill that can be learned more easily than you might think – but the learning process can be greatly accelerated when you know a few simple tricks.  Using planetarium software to simulate the night sky and worksheets that you can use afterwards on your own, we will explore the winter sky to understand how to identify, recognise and remember the signposts in the stars.  With a bit of practice you will be able to amaze your friends on clear nights by pointing the constellations and even the names of stars!

Usual start time 7:30, upstairs in the King’s Head, everyone welcome.


New Year party

Sick of turkey and mince pies – yearning for something a bit more spicey? Monday 22nd of January is party night. We join again with friends from Usk Society for an evening of food and fun at the Regency 59, 59-60 Cross St, Abergavenny NP7 5EUFurther details on the menu and cost will be posted shortly.  If would would like to attend please let me (Observing@AbergavennyAS.org.uk) or Carol know (secretary@AbergavennyAS.org.uk) as soon as possible so that we can plan numbers.


Meeting Dates – January 2018

Meeting dates in January are scheduled for the 8th and 22nd. 

On the 8th Nick will be giving a talk on the series of “Basic Topics”.
The annual combined Societies party bash (AAS, Usk AS and HoVAS) will be on Monday the 22nd in the Kings Head. 

Further info for both these events will be posted in due course.

The topic that was scheduled for December “Where did the elements come from” can be picked up in 2018, subject to demand/interest.

It just remains to say enjoy the holiday season and see everyone next year.


Next Meeting : Monday 11th December, 2017

This meeting was cancelled due to the weather

At our next meeting we will be having mince pies & mulled wine to mark the season.

The topic will be  :  “Where has everything come from?”
We already know where little boys and little girls come from – slugs & snails : sugar & spice – but where does it all start? 
400 thousand years after the Big Bang all the universe had was hydrogen, helium and a bit of lithium.  So, how were all the other elements made to form the galaxies, stars, planets and, ultimately, us?  That is what we shall be discussing.

Big Bang to Rodin                 (credit phys.org/news/2015-12-big-theory.html)

I will try, as usual, to share some news items that have caught my interest and to put some briefing notes together prior to the session.  Of course, these stories and notes will be my thoughts and you are free to disagree or correct them!   

All are welcome.  Come along and help us have a stimulating discussion – and eat the mince pies of course.
Usual time and place: 7:30pm in the upper room at the Kings Head.

Last Meeting 13th November

A good session last Monday, when Nick highlighted key facts about our nearest star, the Sun.  The “News of the Month” presentation has been put on the “Downloads” page. HERE

Artist impression of the dust clouds around Proxima Centauri  :  credit ESO/M Kommesser

One question that generated discussion but no definitive answer related to the travel time for a probe sent to our next nearest star, Proxima Centauri, around 4.2 light years distant.  The question arose from the concept proposal by “Breakthrough Starshot” ( HERE & HERE ) to send a swarm of small space craft at 15/20% of c, the speed of light, to collect data and image the Proxima system, including the exo-planet Proxima b.  Travel time would be of the order of 20/30 years. 
Specifically the question was what effect would travelling at 0.2c have on the different time frames of Earth and the probe.
I have put a graph of time dilation vs speed on the “General Items” page.  The conclusion is that at 0.2c the time dilation is such that the time on the probe would be running 2% slower than time on Earth, so 20 years on earth will be equivalent to 19.6 years on the probe.

Note:- Maximum speed reached by the Cassini probe on its way to Saturn was 44 km/s, or 0.00015 c.  At that speed it would take 29 thousand years to reach Proxima!

However, it would seem that we wouldn’t want to go to Proxima b anyway due to the significant radiation from its host star, a red dwarf.  It now seems that a better bet would be Ross 128 b, which is only 11 light years away, or 55 years at 0.2c.  OK for our younger members but a bit too long for me to see any results!!

Neutron Star Collisions – Where Gold, Platinum & other heavy elements are made

The LIGO-Virgo Collaboration plus leaders of telescope project teams gave an interesting press conference today in Washington.

It was to announce the results of the Gravitational Wave that was detected on the 17th August (GW170917).  This latest detection was noted at our meeting last Monday. 
It turns out that this event was the merger of 2 neutron stars, called a kilonova, and, as it was also detected by the Virgo array, it allowed the location of the source to be estimated.  As a result telescopes, both earth and space based, were able to identify the precise event and examine it from radio waves, through visible light to X rays.
It is some 130 M light years away in the galaxy NGC4993, an elliptical galaxy in the southern constellation Hydra.  Data analysis to date indicates that the neutron stars were formed when the universe was 2 M years old, and after orbiting each other for 11 B years collided 130 M years ago.  One speaker also estimated that the amount of gold, platinum and other heavy elements was 16,000 times the mass of the earth; one panel member then referred to the merger as a “Bling Event”

This is the start of what the press conference termed multi-messenger astronomy, ie EMR (inc visible light) + Neutrino + Gravitational waves.

If there is interest then we could use this event as the topic for the next Discussion Group meeting on the 13th November and look at the preliminary results.  If you would like for that then email me at  cosmology@AbergavennyAS.org.uk 

More info at the LIGO website HERE and many news sites.

Next Meeting – Monday 23rd Oct. “The Dynamic Universe”

Andy Newsam, (Prof of Astronomy Education & Engagement, Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool; Director of National Schools’ Observatory; ESERO-UK Space Ambassador) will give a talk about “The Dynamic Universe”

The Universe is a dynamic, ever-changing place full of extremes. From black holes to asteroids, massive exploding stars to elusive distant planets, every part of the Universe poses its own questions. So, how are astronomers trying to find the answers and how can you help?

Usual time & Place : The Kings Head, Abergavenny, at 7:30pm.

Come and learn about our universe, all welcome.

Matters from the Discussion Group 9th Oct.

There weren’t many who could make Monday evening’s session but it was very lively none the less.

The “News of the Month” that was presented at the meeting  has been posted on the “Downloads” page HERE

One question that came up, but wasn’t answered, concerned the analysis of the LIGO data.  Basically “How do we know that black holes were involved and how do we know what the before and after masses of the objects was?”
I have had a quick look on the web and came across information on this very question.  The results for the first detection are summarised in the graph below.  I have posted the LIGO Flyer that this graph is from on the “Downloads” page HERE
However, if you want to look at the matter in more detail there is a paper, by B. P. Abbott et al of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration, on the web at this ADDRESS and you can access the data set at this ADDRESS

Notes for Meeting Monday 9th Oct. : Black Holes and Dark Matter

I have posted brief notes for tomorrow’s meeting on the downloads page  HERE 
Feel free to expand/correct these thoughts.  I won’t be upset!

I have just checked the Links on the Notes and they don’t appear to be working.  So, as I haven’t got time to check them out now they are repeated below:

Dark Matter                               :           Top 5 candidates for Dark Matter
Black Holes & Dark Matter          :           NASA     :     AAAS     :      The Guardian

I look forward to an interesting discussion.