AAS

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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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

 

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

 

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.