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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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.

Next Meeting – Discussion Group 10th June

Our next session is a discussion group next Monday.

Suggested topics : Items from the news etc over the last month

Space Debris  –  The cluttered nature of the space around the Earth.
Water in the Solar system  –  Water on Earth, the moon and Pluto.
Mars  –  History, minerals, soil and potential for oxygen production.
Exo planets – more discoveries and a “Forbidden Planet”
Supernova  –  including human evolution, lots of new supernova and white dwarf fusion
TESS mission – Latest news from the NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite launched in 2018

Any other topics anyone wants to bring up please don’t be shy, we can explore them together.

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

Everyone welcome

Next Meeting : Monday 13th May

For our May meeting Dr Andreas Papageorgiou, Research Associate, Astronomy Instrumentation Group, Cardiff School of Physics & Astronomy will be coming to talk to us.

Andreas Papageorgiou + Herschel

Since 2008, Dr Papageorgiou has been full-time involved with all phases of space telescope missions.  He will be talking about the work he was involved in with the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) which was on the ESA Herschel infra red space telescope, which operated from 2009 to 2013.

Usual time and place; 7:30pm at the Kings Head, Abergavenny.  Next to the Town Hall.

All are welcome

Next Meeting : Monday 8th April

This month Professor Chris Allton from the Department of Physics at Swansea will be talking to us about the the forces that operate in Neutron Stars.

 

Chris is an Australian by birth, education (and outlook!). He is a professor of theoretical particle physics in Swansea University where his research involves using some of the fastest computers in the world to simulate the properties of quarks at temperatures 100,000 times that of the core of the sun.
He is also very interested in the public engagement of science and is the Director of Oriel Science, Swansea University’s outreach project.

 

 

All the matter we know about in the universe is comprised of just 19 particles.  Quarks are the most massive and they combine together to form neutrons and protons to make atomic nuclei. Quarks are bound together by the Strong Force – and this Force is incredibly strong, each quark is held to its neighbour by a force equivalent to the weight of three elephants!  At high temperatures and pressures, around a trillion degrees, quarks can become free. 
The talk explores how this new phase of matter and neutron stars are related.

Everyone is, as always, very welcome.

Usual time and place, 7:30pm at the Kings Head, Abergavenny, next to the Town Hall.

Next Meeting : Monday 25th March

Our next meeting is the Annual General Meeting of the Society.

If you want to hear about the events of the last year, have any suggestions as to how the AAS can develop and prosper or wish to volunteer then please do come along on the 25th.

We are a bunch of amateurs with varying levels of understanding that wish to share our fascination with the comos, so come along and join with us.  As it says on the web-site home page : No knowledge necessary, just a curious mind.

The draft minutes of last year’s meeting can be read at AGM 2018 minutes 

Usual time and place; The King’s Head, Abergavenny, at 7:30pm

Next Meeting – Monday 11th March

Next Monday Professor Jane Greaves, Astronomy Group, Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy, will present her work on nano-diamonds.  As well as having published over 170 peer reviewed papers she received the IoP Fred Hoyle medal in 2017 for her contribution to astrophysics.

Prof Jane Greaves, Cardiff School of Physics & Astronomy

 

Her topic is “Spinning Space Diamonds”.
“I will talk about the sparkling trail of diamonds from exploding stars to the birth of the solar system. My team recently found diamonds orbiting a few very young luminous stars, and I will discuss how this chance discovery came about and how it helped to solve a problem of mystery radio waves that has existed for over 20 years”.

 

 

 
The usual time and place: 7:30pm at the Kings Head, Abergavenny.

Come along to be entertained and informed.  All are welcome.