2020 Archive

Welcome to the 2020 programme.

As we will all be aware the 2020 season was significantly disrupted by COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions.
All physical meetings were suspended as from the middle of March.  

Our meetings schedule remains the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month.
The calendar of dates for the year is set out in the table below, further details are included beneath the table. Updates and changes will be posted on the web-site as the schedule is firmed up through the year.
The normal routine is an open discussion group, with suggested topics from recent news, alternating with Basic sessions on the 2nd Monday and General topics, often with a guest speaker, on the 4th Monday.
Our venue is in an upstairs room at:

The King’s Head Public House, 59 Cross Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5EU.

It is next door to the Town Hall in the centre of the town.

Meetings start at 19:30 and everyone and anyone is welcome to attend,
No knowledge is necessary, just a curious mind


January 13th “RtT” open discussion 27th           Dr Mikako Matuura, Cardiff
February 10th Basic session 24th           Prof Mathew Smith, Cardiff
March 9th AGM   23rd          CANCELLED : COVID-19
        Keith Mosley, Monmouth ARS
April 13th Bank Hol 27th CANCELLED : COVID-19

Prof Steven Phillipps, Bristol

May 11th CANCELLED : COVID-19 “RtT” open discussion 25th Bank Hol
June 8th Basic session 22nd           Dr Vivien Raymond, Cardiff
July 13th Summer Break 27th Summer Break
August 10th Summer Break 24th Summer Break
September 14th “RtT” open discussion 28th           tba
October 12th Basic session 26th           tba
November 9th “RtT” open discussion 23rd           tba
December 14th Basic session 28th Christmas/New Year

 January 13th

            “Round the Table” Open Discussion

Suggested Topics for this month  A common theme has been looking back at the last year/decade or looking forward to the 2020s, and there is a continuing interest in exo-planets.
1) Missions:   Planned for the 2020s, 11 possibles from the James Web Telescope to NASA’s return to the moon.
2) Exo-planets:   4,000 confirmed so far plus new ESA telescope and some studies.
3) The Milky Way:   Is there a second black hole at the center of our galaxy plus a new star forming structure.
4) Dark Matter:   The search continues with observations confirming small clumps of Cold Dark Matter.

January 27th

            Dr Mikako Matsuura, Senior Lecturer, STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow, Astronomy Group, School of Physics and Astronomy Cardiff.
Dust and molecules in evolved stars, supernovae & supernova remnants.
My 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.    

February 10th

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

February 24th

            Dr Matthew W L Smith, Lecturer, Astronomy Group, School of Physics and Astronomy Cardiff
Dust and gas how they relate to star formation in the galaxy.
My research interests primarily focus on investigating the interstellar-medium and how that relates to the properties of galaxies (for example star-formation). In particular I often work with dust, which has traditionally been seen as a nuisance to astronomers as it absorbs the light emitted by stars.
However, by absorbing the energy from the UV/optical photons, the dust heats up and emits light in the far-infrared. Over the history of the Universe ~50% of the light from stars has been absorbed and then re-emitted by dust.
My research is primarily focused on nearby galaxies, where the proximity gives us the most detailed view of the processes (like star-formation) occurring inside a galaxy, but unlike studies of the Milky Way we can obtain a complete census of the galaxy as a whole. By understanding relations in the local universe, we can help improve our understanding of systems at much higher redshift

March 9th


            Keith Mosely, FRAS, Monmouth ARS

April 13th

            BANK HOLIDAY

April 27th

            Professor Steven Phillipps, Emeritus Professor, School of Physics, HH Wills Laboratory, Bristol
Galaxy clusters/evolution/ ultra compact dwarfs
My research is centred around large surveys, primarily of extra-galctic objects but also of Galactic sources, carried out using large optical telescopes on the ground or in space. In particular, we have made spectroscopic surveys of dwarf (i.e. low luminosity) galaxies in the nearby clusters Virgo and Fornax, the highlight of which has been the discovery of an entirely new class of stellar systems, which we call Ultra-Compact Dwarfs or UCDs. I am also a member of the international teams carrying out the Hubble Space Telescope Treasury Survey of the Coma Cluster, the GAMA (Galaxy and Mass Accumulation) survey and the infra-red Herschel-ATLAS survey. Nearer to home, I am a member of collaborations carrying out surveys of the plane of our own Galaxy in the hydrogen alpha emission line.

May 11th

            “Round the Table” Open Discussion

May 25th

            BANK HOLIDAY

June 8th

            Back to Basics series

June 22th

            Dr Vivien Raymond, Lecturer, Gravitational Physics Group, School of Physics and Astronomy Cardiff
Binary Black holes & binary Neutron Stars, Ligo – Virgo
My research focus is in gravitational-wave astrophysics. I am especially interested in:
   -Astronomy: Transient gravitational-wave observations. In particular with the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) and Virgo interferometer network and jointly with Electromagnetic or Neutrino counterparts.
   -Experimental physics: Optimized experimental design of future detectors. Holistic modeling for gravitational-wave observatories.
   -Astrophysics: Understanding gravitational sources with parameter estimation using Bayesian Methods. Inference of universal properties using multiple events.


July – August  :  Summer Break, NO MEETINGS


September 14th

            “Round the Table” Open Discussion

September 28th


October 12th

            Back to Basics series

 October 26th 


November 9th 

            “Round the Table” Open Discussion

Nov 23rd


Dec 14th

            Back to Basics series

December  28th:          ??