AAS

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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Monday 26th Nov., Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be a presentation by Chris Starr,  FRAS FBIS, IAAA.

The title of his talk will be

Journey to the dawn of the Solar System

This will look at the history of the solar system focusing on NASA’s Dawn Mission. The Dawn Mission was launched in 2007 to study the asteroid belt objects Vesta and Ceres. It orbited both proto-planets and was retired this month on the 1st November.  It is currently in an uncontrolled orbit around Ceres.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at Vesta on July 15, 2011  Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Chris Starr is a space activist, writer and speaker. He worked as Head of Geography and Space Science at an international school in Switzerland until 2011, where he built a small observatory and organised public outreach events in the Alps, including the design and installation of a major outdoor exhibition for IYA 2009 in the ski resort of Villars.
He left secondary teaching in 2011 to continue working in STEM outreach in the UK. He founded the Wells & Mendip Astronomers in Somerset, of which he is Chairman.

Usual Time & place:  7:30pm, The Kings Head, Abergavenny

Everyone is most welcome.  Come and learn how our Solar System came into being.

Monday 12th Nov. Next Meeting

The next meeting is next Monday evening, 12th November.  Usual time and place, 7:30pm at the Kings Head, Abergavenny.

It will be a “chat round the table” session.  No fixed agenda, but an open meeting.  However, there are a number of topics that I have read about over the last month, see below.

Mission Updates:-
Hubble Space telescope; BepiColombo (Mercury); New Horizons (Kuiper Belt); Kepler space telescope 

Solar System:-
Formation & history; Planet X (more evidence?); Oumuamua (visitor to the solar system); Mars (water)

Galaxies:-
Milky Way spiral arms; the Milky Way’s super massive black hole; what stops star formation; Exoplanets; Hi to our neighbours(should we turn the “porch light” on?)

Universe:-
Early star formation (like 13 billion years old and in the Milky Way); Colliding black holes

I will provide some information on these subjects so, if there is anything that catches your eye come along and we can explore it together.  We can cover as many or as few of these headings as we want but, if there is any other topic you would like to mention please do come along and throw it into the mix.

See you Monday.

Next Meeting + November meetings

Next Meeting Monday 22nd October  :  Amber Hornsby, Cardiff – “Detecting the Invisible Universe”

Monday 12th November  :  Discussion/chat on various astronomy topics

Monday 26th November  :  Chris Starr,  FRAS FBIS, IAAA, Wells & Mendip Astronomers – “Voyage to the Dawn of the Solar System”.

Usual Time and Place; 7:30pm, Kings Head, Abergavenny.

Everyone most welcome

Monday 8th Oct, Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Monday, 8th Oct.  Usual time and place:- 7:30pm at the Kings Head, next to Abergavenny town hall.

This month rather than mainly talk about a single item there are a number of topics that have caught my eye over the last few weeks that we can explore.  I have put a brief list below.  Depending on how the discussions and exchange of views/ideas goes we may or may not cover all the topics.

  • Is there no one out there??  Exo-planets and panspermia in the news, again. 
    At present there are 3,851 confirmed planets in 2,871 systems.  Now a possible exo-moon has been discovered.  Plus a new approach to boost the chance of finding extraterrestrials (if any!) and also researchers have generated phosphates, a key part of DNA, in conditions like the molecular clouds that form solar systems.
  • Gaia – A 5 year mission to construct the largest, most precise three-dimensional map of our Galaxy by surveying more than a billion stars.
    The 2nd data release, last April, provides info on the position, parallax and proper motion of 1.3 billion stars. New insights have started to come from this data.
  • Have we found the last of the missing ordinary matter in the universe?
    Previous observations have failed to find half of the normal matter in the universe. Now this matter has been found, in diffuse gaseous filaments between the galaxies. As this gas is cold and diffuse it has been impossible to see it but new techniques have confirmed its existence.
  • Inflation: Yes or No? How did the universe start.
    A short video about inflation (only 2 mins) from David Kaplan. Plus Roger Penrose’s theory that the universe is cyclical.
  • Very Big and Very Early.
    Another massive black hole discovered that is 780 million times the mass of the sun and dates from 670 M years after the big bang.  How did it get so big so soon?
  • Solar System.
    Still arguing about Pluto’ status; a new body some 80AU from the sun (Pluto is 34AU) which hints at Planet X further out; more evidence for a turbulent period involving the gas giants during the evolution of the solar system; how Curiosity’s motor confirmed the Mars dust storm had gone global.
  • Dark Matter.
    A new analysis has ruled out primordial black holes, formed at the birth of the universe, as being the mysterious dark matter. Plus a new wide field map of the 3 dimensional distribution of matter in the universe, based on looking at 10 million galaxies, “gives us a better picture of how much dark energy there is”.

If there are any topics or ideas that anyone wishes to talk about do bring them along or let me know by email or at a meeting.  All input is most welcome.

All comers welcome.  No expertise required, only a inquisitive mind.  See you on Monday.

Monday 24th September – Next Meeting

For our next meeting we welcome back Andy Burns, Chairman of the Wiltshire AS and co-director of the Griffin Educational Observatory, Andalucia.
The title of his talk is

Welcome to the Dark Side: 
Dark nebulae, discovery and views

It should be of interest to everyone, with plenty of pictures I am sure.

Andy may or may not mention this particular nebula but above is the famous Horse Head Nebula in the constellation of Orion.  The picture was taken by The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

Usual time and venue: 7:30pm upstairs in The Kings Head, Abergavenny, next to the town hall.

Monday 10th September – Next meeting

“The trouble with telescopes”

Amateur telescopes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, have you ever wondered why there are so many different types and what they all do?  In this session we will look into the intrinsic shortcomings of many designs and what has been done to overcome them.  If you are considering buying a telescope of upgrading this will be a useful guide to help you decide.  If you have a telescope and want to get the best out of it this session will give you some top tips.  If you don’t use a telescope but are just interested in how things work, this is the meeting for you!

Monday, September 10th. 19:30, upstairs in the Kings Head, next to the Borough Theatre, everyone welcome.

South West Astronomy Fair

The South west astronomy Fair is held each year at the Norman Lockyer Observatory at Sidmouth in Devon.  This year it is being held on the 11th August.  Sidmouth is about 2.5 hour drive away.  It is a good day out with vintage telescopes on display in the domes, talks and trade stands.  Admission is £8.  More details can be found here.

Even if the weather is inclement there is ample cover to dodge showers.  If anyone is interested in going we can arrange some car sharing, just drop me a line at Observing@AbergavennyAS.org.uk

The weather seems to have broken now the kids are on holiday – typical.  Although it does not get very dark at night there has been some good planetary activity to observe.  The total eclipse of the moon was a damp squib from the UK but Jupiter is still easily visible in the south west at dusk followed by Saturn in the south after midnight.  Saturn’s rings are wonderfully displayed at present so if you have access to a telescope do try and have a look.

Mars is at its closest since the early noughtys and although is very low indeed is very much bigger than normal so worth even looking with the naked eye.  It is the very bright red/orange object low in the south after midnight. It must be said that for those with telescopes the opposition has been a bit of a disappointment.  Dust storms have encircled the planet making it very difficult to see any surface detail.  Hopefully it will settle in the coming weeks.

 

Next meeting 14th May – Prof. Mike Edmunds, Cardiff University, School of Astrophysics and Astronomy : Ancient Astronomy: megaliths, landscapes and cosmologies.

Prof. Mike Edmunds is always one of our most popular speakers – this is one certainly not to be missed – he is lead academic on the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, a device made in Greece 2,000 years ago.  In this talk he will discuss how much was known about astronomy in ancient times, before the written word? Did people worry about what happened in the sky? What was their picture of the Universe? This illustrated talk will try to describe what surviving archaeological evidence may and may not be able to tell us. Stonehenge will feature – but there is a lot more besides!

Meeting starts at 7:30 pm upstairs in the King’s Head – everyone welcome.

Observing session 10th April is cancelled

Unfortunately the weather forecast is not looking good for Tuesday night with  over 90% low cloud until about 11pm when it drops to about 60% cloud cover over Abergavenny.  There is  also chance of light rain.  We will therefore have to look for another date to do some observing, watch this space as they say!

Next Meeting Reminder & Question

Pushed the wrong button and sent out a email by mistake  –  Apologies, K
First the reminder:-
Next meeting tomorrow, 9th April, Kings Head, Abergavenny at 7:30pm.
Topic “Where did all the stuff come from?”.
Elements used to make a smart phone are HERE.   Notes I prepared in December for this topic are HERE

And now a question:
Anyone know where this picture is (it is local) and what it depicts?