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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Next Meeting 9th April

Got one of these? 
Ever wondered where all the stuff that it takes to make one comes from? 
There is a diagram HERE showing the at least  41 elements that go into a common or garden (smart?) mobile phone.

So the question is “How did a universe that started out with just hydrogen end up with all the elements to make a phone or a planet or us?”

Come along the Kings Head, 7:30pm on the 9th April and see if we can figure it out.

Open to everyone – knowledge not required – opinions welcomed
– let’s learn a bit about the universe together –


April Meetings

Advance notice of next month’s meetings:-

Monday 9th April  :  Cosmology Discussion Group  –  subject to be confirmed

Monday 23rd April  :  Keith Mosely, MARS (Monmouth Astronomy Research Society)  :  Cassini or Giant Planets of the Solar System, final topic will be confirmed.

Usual time and venue, 7:30pm at the Kings Head, Abergavenny.  All are welcome.

Next Meeting : Monday 26th February, 2018

The next AAS meeting will be on the topic of January’s “Sky at Night” programme,

The Invisible Universe


The currently accepted model of the universe suggests that normal stuff, that is me, you, the earth, the planets, stars etc, comprises only 5% of the total; the rest is Dark Something or Other.


This BBC programme reviews what we currently know/believe about the composition of the universe and how we are working it out.






The subject will be introduced by Kevin and will consist of 3 short video extracts from the broadcast with time after each video for questions/discussion etc.
The three video extracts are:-
1)         Normal Matter                        :           Baryonic Matter          (5m 32s)
2)         Unknown matter                    :           Dark Matter                (9m 31s)
3)         No idea stuff                            :           Dark Energy                (6m 42s)

If you want to watch the programme it is probably on the BBC iPlayer or you can find in on YouTube at this LINK
Also you can read the “Simple Wikipedia” pages on Normal Matter HERE, Dark Matter HERE and Dark Energy HERE

All are welcome to come along to listen, learn, ask questions, share knowledge or contribute to the general discussion.
Usual time and place : The Kings Head Abergavenny; 7:30pm; Monday 26th Feb.
We look forward to saying Hi on the night.

Next meeting is Monday 12th February, Beginner’s guide to the solar system

The next meeting of the astronomy society is on Monday 12th February.  We will have another “back to basics” session with a beginner’s guide to the solar system.  Using some very cool software, that models the solar system and beyond in beautiful 3D, we fly to each of the planets in turn and other objects and find out what they are made of and how it all works.

Below is a screen shot of one of the players in our show – Saturn.


As usual meeting is upstairs in the King’s Head,  it starts at 7:30 pm and open to all with an interest in things astronomical.

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.


New Year party

Sick of turkey and mince pies – yearning for something a bit more spicey? Monday 22nd of January is party night. We join again with friends from Usk Society for an evening of food and fun at the Regency 59, 59-60 Cross St, Abergavenny NP7 5EUFurther details on the menu and cost will be posted shortly.  If would would like to attend please let me (Observing@AbergavennyAS.org.uk) or Carol know (secretary@AbergavennyAS.org.uk) as soon as possible so that we can plan numbers.


Next Meeting : Monday 11th December, 2017

This meeting was cancelled due to the weather

At our next meeting we will be having mince pies & mulled wine to mark the season.

The topic will be  :  “Where has everything come from?”
We already know where little boys and little girls come from – slugs & snails : sugar & spice – but where does it all start? 
400 thousand years after the Big Bang all the universe had was hydrogen, helium and a bit of lithium.  So, how were all the other elements made to form the galaxies, stars, planets and, ultimately, us?  That is what we shall be discussing.

Big Bang to Rodin                 (credit phys.org/news/2015-12-big-theory.html)

I will try, as usual, to share some news items that have caught my interest and to put some briefing notes together prior to the session.  Of course, these stories and notes will be my thoughts and you are free to disagree or correct them!   

All are welcome.  Come along and help us have a stimulating discussion – and eat the mince pies of course.
Usual time and place: 7:30pm in the upper room at the Kings Head.

Last Meeting 13th November

A good session last Monday, when Nick highlighted key facts about our nearest star, the Sun.  The “News of the Month” presentation has been put on the “Downloads” page. HERE

Artist impression of the dust clouds around Proxima Centauri  :  credit ESO/M Kommesser

One question that generated discussion but no definitive answer related to the travel time for a probe sent to our next nearest star, Proxima Centauri, around 4.2 light years distant.  The question arose from the concept proposal by “Breakthrough Starshot” ( HERE & HERE ) to send a swarm of small space craft at 15/20% of c, the speed of light, to collect data and image the Proxima system, including the exo-planet Proxima b.  Travel time would be of the order of 20/30 years. 
Specifically the question was what effect would travelling at 0.2c have on the different time frames of Earth and the probe.
I have put a graph of time dilation vs speed on the “General Items” page.  The conclusion is that at 0.2c the time dilation is such that the time on the probe would be running 2% slower than time on Earth, so 20 years on earth will be equivalent to 19.6 years on the probe.

Note:- Maximum speed reached by the Cassini probe on its way to Saturn was 44 km/s, or 0.00015 c.  At that speed it would take 29 thousand years to reach Proxima!

However, it would seem that we wouldn’t want to go to Proxima b anyway due to the significant radiation from its host star, a red dwarf.  It now seems that a better bet would be Ross 128 b, which is only 11 light years away, or 55 years at 0.2c.  OK for our younger members but a bit too long for me to see any results!!

Neutron Star Collisions – Where Gold, Platinum & other heavy elements are made

The LIGO-Virgo Collaboration plus leaders of telescope project teams gave an interesting press conference today in Washington.

It was to announce the results of the Gravitational Wave that was detected on the 17th August (GW170917).  This latest detection was noted at our meeting last Monday. 
It turns out that this event was the merger of 2 neutron stars, called a kilonova, and, as it was also detected by the Virgo array, it allowed the location of the source to be estimated.  As a result telescopes, both earth and space based, were able to identify the precise event and examine it from radio waves, through visible light to X rays.
It is some 130 M light years away in the galaxy NGC4993, an elliptical galaxy in the southern constellation Hydra.  Data analysis to date indicates that the neutron stars were formed when the universe was 2 M years old, and after orbiting each other for 11 B years collided 130 M years ago.  One speaker also estimated that the amount of gold, platinum and other heavy elements was 16,000 times the mass of the earth; one panel member then referred to the merger as a “Bling Event”

This is the start of what the press conference termed multi-messenger astronomy, ie EMR (inc visible light) + Neutrino + Gravitational waves.

If there is interest then we could use this event as the topic for the next Discussion Group meeting on the 13th November and look at the preliminary results.  If you would like for that then email me at  cosmology@AbergavennyAS.org.uk 

More info at the LIGO website HERE and many news sites.

Next Meeting – Monday 23rd Oct. “The Dynamic Universe”

Andy Newsam, (Prof of Astronomy Education & Engagement, Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool; Director of National Schools’ Observatory; ESERO-UK Space Ambassador) will give a talk about “The Dynamic Universe”

The Universe is a dynamic, ever-changing place full of extremes. From black holes to asteroids, massive exploding stars to elusive distant planets, every part of the Universe poses its own questions. So, how are astronomers trying to find the answers and how can you help?

Usual time & Place : The Kings Head, Abergavenny, at 7:30pm.

Come and learn about our universe, all welcome.

Matters from the Discussion Group 9th Oct.

There weren’t many who could make Monday evening’s session but it was very lively none the less.

The “News of the Month” that was presented at the meeting  has been posted on the “Downloads” page HERE

One question that came up, but wasn’t answered, concerned the analysis of the LIGO data.  Basically “How do we know that black holes were involved and how do we know what the before and after masses of the objects was?”
I have had a quick look on the web and came across information on this very question.  The results for the first detection are summarised in the graph below.  I have posted the LIGO Flyer that this graph is from on the “Downloads” page HERE
However, if you want to look at the matter in more detail there is a paper, by B. P. Abbott et al of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration, on the web at this ADDRESS and you can access the data set at this ADDRESS