Our inaugural meeting was on the 8th Nov 2010 and we officially formed in Feb 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.

We host discussions on subjects as varied as "finding your way around the sky" to "Dark Energy".

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



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Next Meeting : 24th Feb., 2020

Our next meeting will be a presentation by Dr Matthew Smith from the Astronomy Group at the Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy.

Dr Matthew Smith : Cardiff School of Physics & Astronomy


Dr Smith’s research is focused on dust and gas (basically any stuff between stars!), and how they relate to star-formation in the galaxy.  He works with data from many facilities (including ALMA, VLA, Arecibo, Mopra), in particular is leading a new large JCMT survey, a 275 hr survey to map the entire Andromeda galaxy at 450 and 850 microns.
His research also relies on data from the Herschel Space Observatory, where he has leading roles in the HELGA survey of Andromeda, H-ATLAS, the Herschel Reference Survey (HRS) and the Herschel Virgo Cluster Survey (HeViCS).
He is also on the executive committee for JINGLE the largest survey with the JCMT, a member of the MeerKat Fornax Survey and Mongoose MeerKat surveys.  (note: nothing to do with zoos or insurance!!).

Come along and learn a bit more about our universe.  No knowledge necessary!

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


National Astronomy Week 2020

It has been brought to my attention, by Gavin, that the Federation of Astronomical Societies is holding a “National Astronomy Week” from the 14th to the 22nd November, 2020.
Despite the coincidence this week has not been arranged to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the AAS (8th Nov, 2010) but rather to mark the closest approach of Mars to Earth until 2033. 

Further info from the Federation of Astronomical Societies website HERE.

Should AAS consider doing something; for our 10th anniversary and/or the NAW?? 

Meeting Monday 10th February – back to basics series

Nick Busby

Making sense of information – Modern astronomy, both professional and amateur has data processing at its heart.  Observatories such as LIGO and the  Atacama Large Millimeter Array down to a humble webcam taking pictures of the moon in a backyard all rely on very sophisticated data processing techniques.  A radio telescope is capable of producing a data stream greater than that of the entire global internet and even an amateur taking astrophotographs can generate files many 10s of gigabytes in size, how can we handle such vast amounts of data and produce a useful output?  The same technology is used in mobile phones and digital cameras and in fact in many more places than most people realise.

This talk will explain the basics of how data is handled and processed in non-mathematical language.  There will also be some practical demonstrations.

Next Meeting Monday 27th January

Dr Mikako-Matsuura School of Physics & Astronomy

Dr Mikako Matsuura, a Senior Lecturer and STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow, from the Astronomy Group at Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy is coming to give us a talk.
Dr Matsuura’s research interest is observational astronomy at infrared, sub-millimetre and millimetre wavelengths.
Particularly, the main targets of my research are dust and molecules in evolved stars and supernovae, with a focus on how and how much dust and molecules are formed in these stars, and what is their contribution to the global dust budgets of the interstellar medium of galaxies. 
Recently, our observations with the Herschel Space Observatory found a significant mass (~half a solar mass) of dust in the supernova 1987A. Furthermore, we also found cold (<120K) molecules from this supernova.
Presently, I am investigating how the dust and molecules have been formed in supernovae, by using Herschel, ALMA, SOFIA, VLT and potentially JWST.

Come along and learn that there is much much more to dust than you may have thought!

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


Reminder: Next Meeting Tomorrow – Monday 13th Jan, 2020

Quick reminder:- The next meeting, tomorrow, is an open discussion meeting.

Suggested topics on the website. HERE.

Everyone is most welcome. Come along and join in, no expertise required!

Usual time and place: 7:30pm at the Kings Head.

Next meeting Monday 9th December – Getting started in stargazing

Another in our back to basics series, in this meeting we will cover how to start observing the stars.  Many beginners feel a bit daunted when first starting to try and observe, maybe they have a new pair of binoculars or even a telescope but have no idea how to begin.  In this talk we will describe mostly how to decide on what to look out for, how to find it and how to get the most of what you are looking at.  There is a definite skill in this and one that is easy to learn but by no means obvious to the beginner.  We will reveal the “tricks of the trade”. 

This talk will focus more on looking for things and understanding them rather than how to choose and use optical instruments, that will be covered on another occasion. 

So if you are one of those with a telescope in a cupboard or binoculars lying unused in a drawer but want to get out and enjoy the winter night sky, this is the meeting for you!

As usual, all welcome.  The meeting starts at 19:30 upstairs in the King’s Head, see you there.

Next Meeting : 25th November

This meeting will be one of our open “round the table” discussions. I have listed a number of suggested topics that we may cover, further details HERE.

Round the Table


Please remember that this is an open session. My topics are mere suggestions, which I will prepare some info for. However, if there is any topic that has baffled – intrigued – or just caught your attention then please bring it along with you. I am sure someone will have a view to share!

Suggested Topics:-
1) Transits. There are three bodies that provide us with solar transits, Mercury, Venus and the Moon. We also have exo-planet transits to investigate now.
2) The Solar System. Looking at the earliest written record of an aurora and the news that Voyager 2, launched in 1977, has now crossed into interstellar space.
3) Our galaxy, the Milky Way. The discovery of the first confirmed inter stellar comet to enter the solar system.
4) The Cosmos. Including a claim that the agreed shape of the universe is wrong, another suggestion that wormholes exist, heavy elements from neutron stars, a new gravitational wave detector and how big, or small, can a black hole be?
5) Dark Energy. More claims but few conclusions on dark energy.

Usual time and place; 7:30pm at the Kings Head, Abergavenny.
Come along and share your knowledge and/or questions. No expertise expected!

November Meetings

Next Meeting is on Monday 25th November.  It will be an open “round the table” discussion on a number of various topics.  I will put up some suggestions for discussion items on the website in the next week.  If anyone has a topic they would like covered just drop me a mail.
A good crowd turned out on the 11th for Dr Annabel Cartwright’s talk on the hypothesis of transfers of life and organisms between Venus & Earth 500 million years ago.  She said “watch this space” re investigations on a search for biological markers in the Venusian atmosphere.  I await any news with interest! 
It’s good to hear of non standard hypotheses, based on the science, that challenge the established view.  Whether they prove to be right or wrong they help to advance or knowledge and understanding.

Transit of Mercury seen from Abergavenny

The weather in South Wales held out today to show the transit of Mercury for most of the afternoon, starting from about 12:35.  Mercury was still in transit as the Sun set.  The first picture below shows Mercury 10 minutes into the transit.  The 2nd picture shows the full Sun to demonstrate just how small Mercury is by comparison.  These pictures were taken from Abergavenny; for the technically minded both were taken in white light with an 80mm ED refractor and a Herschel wedge.


Next Meeting : Monday 11th November

A talk by Dr Annabel Cartwright, Reader in Astrophysics at Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Physics Education Research Group.

Everyone is most welcome.  Come along and hear about another view on where life on earth may have come from.

Dr Annabel Cartwright, Cardiff

Abstract of talk:- 
Current models indicate that Venus may have been the first habitable planet in the Solar System, and may have remained habitable until 700 Million years ago. I examine the hypothesis that complex life may have evolved on the highly irradiated Venus, and transferred to Earth on asteroids. This model fits the pattern of pulses of highly developed life appearing, diversifying and going extinct with astonishing rapidity through the Cambrian and Ordovician periods, and also explains the extraordinary genetic variety which appeared over this period.

As well as her interest in Venus Dr Cartwright studies the formation and evolution of protoplanetary disks and relativistic effects in disks.

Usual time & place, The Kings Head at 7:30pm