Our inaugural meeting was on the 8th November 2010 and we officially formed in February 2011.
AAS holds monthly meetings, often 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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Next meeting is October 28th

The next meeting of the Abergavenny Astronomy Society is on Monday October 28th in the King’s Head, Abergavenny at 7:30pm.

This month we have a real treat for those interested is cosmology.  Professor Prem Kumar (Professor of Theoretical Physics with the Particle Physics and Cosmology Theory Group, Swansea University) will be discussing Decoding black holes via holography.

Black holes are amongst the most fascinating objects in the universe. Ranging from a few solar masses to a million solar masses, they hold the key to our understanding of the nature of spacetime and how quantum mechanics can be reconciled with gravity. Prof. Kumar will review some remarkable theoretical developments that have revealed deep connections between black hole physics and seemingly unrelated physical phenomena. The emergence of gravitational wave astronomy in recent years means that some of these remarkable aspects of black holes maybe tested and revealed in the immediate future.

Prof. Kumar’s specialization is in the areas of Quantum Field Theory and String Theory, and he is interested in exploring physics that lies at the interface of these two subjects, bridging strongly quantum  and gravitational phenomena.

After schooling in Calcutta, India and subsequently a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in ‘93, he pursued postgraduate studies in Theoretical Physics at  Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh USA and obtained a PhD in 1998. Following this Prof. Kumar held postdoctoral research positions at the University of Washington, Seattle and at Cambridge University before joining Swansea University in 2005.

Don’t miss this presentation by a local professor working at the cutting edge of cosmology,

Next meeting Monday 14th, The search for the star of Bethlehem

This is a talk in our Basic Series.  David Thomas FRAS from Usk AS will give a talk on “The search for the star of Bethlehem”.  This well researched talk will include descriptions of many of the phenomena that are potential candidates for what the Magi are reported to have seen.  For those new to astronomy it will give a very convenient overview of many of the types of objects that amateurs observe and for the more experienced members insights into the difficulties involved in the interpretation of ancient astronomical and historical observations and records.

As usual the meeting starts at 7:30, upstairs in the King’s Head.  See you there


Reminder : next meeting tomorrow, Monday 23rd Sep

Dr Duncan MacLeod is coming from Cardiff to talk to us about LIGO (gravitational wave detector). 
He has suggested he could give a demonstration of how to download LIGO data and process it on our own computer.
Should be an interesting session.
Usual time and place : 7:30pm at the Kings Head.

All are most welcome

Next Meeting : Monday 23rd September

Monday 23rd Sept., Dr Duncan MacLeod, Gravitational Physics Group, Cardiff University : will be talking on the subject of LIGO and Gravitational Waves.

Dr Duncan MacLeod, Cardiff Uni

Dr MacLeod is a Sêr Cymru COFUND Fellow in the Gravitational Physics group of the School of Physics and Astronomy. His research targets development of improved user-facing software utilities for accessing, processing, and visualising data from the second-generation of ground-based gravitational-wave detectors, primarily the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).


 LIGO, Livingstone

All are welcome.  Usual time and place, The Kings Head, Abergavenny at 7:30pm.


? AAS meeting questions, 9th September ?

At our discussion meeting, last Monday, there was a lively exchange of views.
There were 3 unanswered questions asked, that I have since investigated in a bit more detail.  I have posted my comments on the “General Items” page, HERE

Please note that these are my thoughts and comments.  Anyone who disagrees, or can add to them, please feel free to email me HERE and I will post your responses on the website. 

The 3 questions were:-
1)   What are the estimates for how many generations old the sun is?
2)   What is the status of the EHT (Event Horizon Telescope)? and
3)   What particles are DAMA/LIBRA detecting for their recent Dark Matter detection claims?


Next Meeting 7:30pm, 9th September, 2019

Potential topics for our Discussion Group

Some notes on these suggested topics can be found on the downloads page HERE 

If anyone has a topic they would like to explore then please bring it along, or send details to me at E-Mail

1  :  Expansion of the Universe  :  100 years (or so) of theory and observation.
We have gone from an expanding universe, Hubble 1929, to an accelerating universe in 1998.
What new insights or conclusions have the last 20 years brought?

1922:- Alexander Friedmann published a series of equations showing that the universe might be expanding and estimated what the expansion speed might be.
1927:- George Lemaitre published a paper in which he claimed that the recession of distant objects could be explained by a theory of an expanding universe. Observed a proportionality between recessional velocity and distance to nebulae and estimated a value for this constant.
1929:- Edwin Hubble confirmed observationally the existence of cosmic expansion.  Determined an expansion constant from the redshifts of distant objects, known as the “Hubble Constant”.
1998:- two teams of cosmologists were observing many distant supernova.  Their results seemed to suggest that, rather than the expansion rate slowing down under the influence of gravity it was actually speeding up.
So, contrary to the accepted matter dominated view of the time the expansion of the universe is accelerating.
They therefore deuced that there must be a repulsive force that is driving this acceleration.  They termed it “Dark Energy”.
2019:- Now recent research has indicated that the rate of expansion is faster than the standard model of the universe predicts.

Some questions that could be asked:-
What is the Standard Model, what is the Hubble constant that is being measured, what are the standard candles used for estimating distances, what is the discrepancy that threatens the standard model that the cosmologists are concerned about?  Where do we go next?

2  :  Dark Matter: 
          Did DM exist before the “Big Bang” and why is it suggested that the Milky Way disk is warped and twisted.

3  :  Missions:-
          The Parker Solar probe  :  New Horizons  :  James Webb Telescope  :  Square kilometre Array  :  Atomic clocks in space  :  Europa Clipper Mission.

4  :  Evolution of Stars & Galaxies
          One of the earliest stars, known as population III, found 35,000 light years away.
          Using a new technique 39 ancient galaxies have been identified.  The discovery doesn’t fit well with current models of the universe, much is hoped to be learnt from further research.

5  :  Black Holes
           A massive stellar Black Hole found that confounds current theories.

Usual time & place – 7:30pm, The Kings Head, Abergavenny
Come along and explore the cosmos.  No knowledge necessary! 

Stargazing at Tretower Court

On Friday 6th September Usk Astronomical Society in association with CADW, the Brecon Beacons National Park and Visit Wales will be hosting a stargazing event at Tretower Court, near Crickhowell.  More detail can be found at this link including admission prices and how to buy tickets.

Link for Welsh version

Hopefully the weather will be kind and Jupiter and Saturn will be on show, but even if the weather does not cooperate there will still be plenty to do.  There will be a pop-up planetarium, talks and a bat walk.

The event starts at around 17:30 but viewing the night sky of course will not begin until twilight when Jupiter hopefully will emerge.

Meetings September 2019

Welcome to the autumn series of meetings of the Abergavenny Astronomy Society.

We start in September with:-

Monday 9th Sept., : around the table discussion.  I will post a list of proposed topics next weekend along with some summary notes.

Monday 23rd Sept., Dr Duncan MacLeod, Gravitational Physics Group, Cardiff University : LIGO and Gravitational Waves.
Dr MacLeod’s research targets; development of improved user-facing software utilities for accessing, processing, and visualising data from the 2nd generation of ground-based gravitational-wave detectors, primarily LIGO.

I have also updated the “Meetings-2019 programme” page.

All are welcome.  Usual time and place, The Kings Head, Abergavenny at 7:30pm.

I look forward to meeting up with everyone who can make it over the next 4 months.

Perseid meteor shower

Tonight, the 12th August, is this year’s peak of the Perseid meteor shower and although not one of the most favourable years and with a dodgy weather forecast it is still worth having a look out to catch a glimpse of this natural wonder.  Unfortunately there is a very large Moon around, full moon is on Thursday.  The moon will not get tucked away below the horizon until after 2:30 am tomorrow morning, which is also a very good time to observe the meteors, even if a bit late for many of us.  However the Perseid meteor shower does contain more than average lumpy bits so there is always a sporting chance of a fireball or two which even the Moon cannot diminish.

The Perseids are called that because they seem to all emanate from a point in the constellation of Perseus, which tonight is in the north east when most people will be looking for the meteors.  Contrary to some reports in the media that does not mean you have to look towards Perseus to get the best chance of observing them, they can appear anywhere in the sky.  The best place to look is straight up, that is where it is darkest.  Lie down on a lounger, make yourself comfortable and simply look up without any optical aid.  Conditions allowing you should see at least one meteor every minute or so.

The Perseids meteors are little fragments of dust from the tail of a  (Swift-Tuttle) that passed this way some thousands of years ago.  As the fragments hit the atmosphere at around 36 km/sec the friction causes them to heat the air around them an burn up, that is what causes the light that you see.

If it is cloudy tonight do not despair the meteors last for a week or so more but of course at much lower rates than at the peak.  If you are out generally observing from late July through the first couple of weeks of August you may see one or two Perseids in an evening

Happy Hunting!

Next Meeting : Monday 24th June

Professor Matt Griffin, Astronomy Instrumentation Group, Cardiff Uni. will be coming to talk to us on the subject ofCharacterising Extra-solar Planets”.  Brief summary:-

Prof Matt Griffin, Cardiff Uni.

“Around 4,000 extra-solar planets have now been detected, and studying them is one of the most important areas of astronomical research today.

Using the technique of transit spectroscopy, it is now starting to be possible to study  exoplanets and determine the chemical composition and physical constitutions in their atmosphere.

This will be an important objective for both NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, due for launch in 2022, and ESA’s ARIEL satellite, a purpose-built exoplanet observatory, to be launched in 2028.

I’ll describe the technique and what we can learn from it, and how one day we may be able to detect the presence of life on Earth-like planets.”

Usual time & place; 7:30pm, The Kings Head, Abergavenny.

Everyone and anyone most welcome.