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 Monday 10th December, The Chelyabinsk affair

As day was breaking in Siberia on the 15 February 2013, a huge meteor descended at over 60,000 kilometers per hour over the Ural Mountains and exploded at an altitude of 25–30 kilometers over the industrial town of Chelyabinsk. It had an estimated equivalent explosive force of 500,000 tonnes of TNT. It showered space rocks down onto the surrounding landscape, drawing thousands of people to go hunting for them.

Dr. Elizabeth Pearson was one of them, later shooting a documentary for Channel 4 called Meteor Strike – Fireball from Space. She will tell her story of that memorable trip, the meteor, and what has happened to the pieces since at the Society’s meeting next Monday, upstairs in the Kings Head Hotel in Cross Street, Abergavenny, starting at 19:30. Visitors are most welcome.

Elizabeth completed her PhD in extragalactic astrophysics at Cardiff University and is currently is the News Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, where she reads up on all the latest advancements in space travel and flight.

 

The Mike Thomas Christmas Lecture

Usk Astronomical Society will be holding the Mike Thomas Lecture on the 20th December 2018 and all members of Abergavenny Society are cordially invited. 

This year our old friend Dr. Paul Roche from Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy will present on “Robotic Astronomy”.  The meeting will start at 7pm in the Old Grammar School, 18 Maryport Street, Usk. NP15 1AE.  There is plenty of free local car parking near the Rural Life Museum.  The Old Grammar School is situated at the northern end of Maryport Street (opposite end to the prison) and opposite the Spar supermarket.

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.

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.

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.

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?

 

Trip to Jodrell Bank and observing opportunity

Jodrell Bank Visit 15th May

In association with Usk Astronomical Society we are arranging a trip to the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire.  The date is Tuesday the 15th May.  It will be a whole day trip leaving in the morning and arriving bank around 7pm.  The cost of the trip is £7 per person group entry (£5 concessions) and around £8 transport (to be confirmed depending on numbers).  In addition there is the possibility to take afternoon tea (£16.50) and attend a talk by an expert (numbers limited to 28).  If you are interested in attending please let me know asap so that I can make the arrangements.

Observing@AbergavennyAS.org.uk

You can find out more by visisting the Jodrell Bank website:

What’s here?

 

Monday 8th January – Back to basics

For all those that got shiny new binoculars for Christmas or even a telescope or for those just starting out in astronomy, this session is to help you find your way around the night sky, identify constellations and patterns in the stars and remember them.  Finding your way around the sky is a skill that can be learned more easily than you might think – but the learning process can be greatly accelerated when you know a few simple tricks.  Using planetarium software to simulate the night sky and worksheets that you can use afterwards on your own, we will explore the winter sky to understand how to identify, recognise and remember the signposts in the stars.  With a bit of practice you will be able to amaze your friends on clear nights by pointing the constellations and even the names of stars!

Usual start time 7:30, upstairs in the King’s Head, everyone welcome.

 

AGM Monday 13th March 2017, King’s Arms, Abergavenny

For your information notes and reports from last year’s meeting can be found on the links below.

AAS AGN 2016 notes     AAS RPTS