Maidenhead Astronomical Society may use Laser Pens as a pointer during outreach events and talks. Any such use will comply with our Laser Pen Policy, which may be downloaded from here (.pdf)
Essentially, only responsible adults pre-approved by MAS are allowed to use a laser pointer at an outreach event. Children under the age of 18 and non-approved adults are not permitted to use the laser pen at any time. Any member of the public bringing their own device (without pre-approval) is asked not to use it during one of our events (and will be asked to leave if they are not willing to comply with this request).
Future Public Events
This page is dedicated to events promoted by Maidenhead Astronomical Society aimed at bringing an awareness and appreciation of astronomy to the general public. Almost all of the Events listed here are run by MAS (the few that are not are plainly marked)
Details of future planned events are limited to those open to the general public (Members should look in the Members Only section for details of future events not open to the public - which includes most of our local Outreach activities (schools, cubs, brownies etc)).
Future events are listed in date order, next planned first. Be aware that events can change (usually due to the weather :-) ) so please check nearer the event before making a journey
Note. MAS holds Public Liability Insurance via our membership of Federation of Astronomical Societies. The Policy Document for 2022-23 (pdf) is available on request (it can be found in the Members section)
(+) 7 Mar 2025 (and 22) Major Lunar Standstill
(+) 29 Mar 2025 Partial Solar Eclipse
(+) 12 Aug 2026 Solar Eclipse
(+) 26 Jan 2028 annular Solar Eclipse
(+) 1 Jun 2030 annular Solar Eclipse
(+) 13 Nov 2032 Transit of Mercury
(+) 7 Nov 2039 Transit of Mercury - (2nd of pair)
(+) 28 Jul 2061 Halleys Comet returns
(+) 23 Sep 2090 Total Solar Eclipse - (the next visible from UK)
Reports from our Outreach & Event activity
Here you will find reports of MAS events held in the last 10 years or so (i.e. since the MAS web site effectively 'took over' from printed newsletters as the primary means of 'reporting back' to the membership). Some details have been removed to allow for public viewing
The Members Only section contains details of MAS History going back to our formation in 1957
(+) 6 Feb 2024 7th Windsor Brownies - (outreach)
(+) 15 Jan 2024 Cookham Dean Primary School - (outreach)
(+) 12 Jan 2024 1st Cippenham Cubs - (outreach)
(+) 6 Dec 2023 Bisham Brownies - (outreach)
(+) 22 Nov 2023 Furze Platt Cubs (2nd pack) - (outreach)
(+) 21 Nov 2023 Furze Platt Cubs (1st pack) - (outreach)
(+) 10 Nov 2023 Trinity St Stephans School - (outreach)
(+) 2 Sep 2023 Cookham Regatta
(+) 19 Apr 2023 Newlands School - (outreach)
(+) 18 Mar 2023 Highfield Prep School Look to the Stars - (Public Event)
(+) 4 Mar 2023 Maidenhead Big Read - (Maidenhaed Library)
(+) 23 Feb 2023 Bourne End cubs (2nd pack) - (outreach)
(+) 22 Feb 2023 Bourne End cubs (1st pack) - (outreach)
(+) 8 Feb 2023 Western House Academy - (outreach)
(+) 18 Jan 2023 1st Cippenham Beavers - (outreach)
(+) 12 Jan 2023 6th Windsor Cubs - (outreach)
(+) 21 Nov 2022 Cookham Dean C of E School - (outreach)
(-) 12 Nov 2022 White Waltham Academy - (outreach)
12th November 2022 - White Waltham Academy - Outreach
Andy (lead), Adrian J, Robin, Steve, Adrian D, Isabella, Lesley, Arthur, Jim and Percy.
Note. All photos by Lesley or Percy (see at end)
Report by Steve
This was our biggest event of the year, by far. I understand the entire school was invited, along with their parents ! So Andy pulled out all the stops, with at least 4 telescopes outside from myself, Adrian J, Adrian D, Isabella and Percy, 3 presentations which would run back to back inside by Andy, Robin and Jim, plus a 'Solar System' display with Q&A which Lesley and Arthur would host. We also set up our publicity boards.
Arrival was 5pm for a 6pm start. To setup, the gates to the main tarmac covered playground were opened up. Access was via the driveway past the main entrance, which was immediately after a signpost advertising the garage next door. I missed the turn and ended up in the schools roadside car park as did at least one other MAS member. However after backing out into the fortunately not too busy main road I managed to arrive in plenty of time, although I had been beaten by Robin who was already in the main hall connecting his PC to the display for his talk.
I found the gate into the playground and, after unloading my telescope outside, I re-parked outside the main doors and transferred the equipment needed for the Solar System demo. Lesley was quick to take charge of the publicity display boards which can be quite time-consuming to setup.
I managed to feed our edit version of the Solar System to Scale to the screen in the side room and Andy volunteered to complete the setup of the model solar system.
Meanwhile Jim was running into problems with his PC video feed which, it seems, was limited to SVGA whist the main screen demanded HDMI. Fortunately I was able to find him a USB stick with which he copied his material to Robins PC.
I then retired to the playground and left the rest of the team to complete the setup inside.
During the evening the sky, which seemed somewhat cloudy when we arrived, remained clear. I set up my Dobsonian to view Jupiter and it's moons, plus 2 small 'birding' scopes on tripods, only one of which I managed to get focussed on Jupiter.
The 'motion sensitive' security light proved a bit of a pain, ruining my night vision at regular intervals, since I was foolish enough to take the position closest to the main entrance and thus the light !
Just over half way through the evening the Moon came up from behind the trees and I switched to that, having more success with the birding scopes, both of which I managed to get focussed on the moon.
Everyone was keen to look through the eyepiece and I was quite horse by the end of the evening answering all the questions they asked !
Report by Andy (inside)
The Solar System was laid out in a long classroom, about 12m, which was ideal, with the Sun at one end and Neptune at the other. Planets were set at the correct distance from sun and each other whilst the planet sizes had to be to a different scale in order to be visible.
Steve brought the supplies for the model as well as the MAS display boards that were set up in the entrance to this room. On the opposite side of the room to the model SS there were various models and demonstrations.
Arthur had several posters detailing the sizes of stars and other objects and answered many questions.
Also, in the room there was a computer showing a loop program of pictures by MAS members, a small inflatable Earth and Moon to the same scale that could be connected to each other by a string ten times the length of our planets circumference thus showing a scale model of the two bodies and their separation, a larger inflatable Earth and some swimming spaghetti that explained why it is cooler in the winter than the summer, our recently acquired child-friendly Newtony mini telescope with pictures taken using the instrument and a table full with free home teaching resources from the Institute of Physics.
In the Main Hall there were three talks that were repeated once each.
Robin introduced Stellarium to the audience and pointed out some things they could observe through the telescopes outside. Jim talked about Mars.
Andy talked about how far people have travelled into space, only as far as the Moon of course, then how far our spacecraft have ventured, about 22 light hours in the case of Voyager 1 and compared this to how far it is to the nearest star, 4.2 light years.
Other distances that were mentioned was the diameter of the Milky Way, the distance to Andromeda and our estimate of the size of the Universe.
To put the distances involved into perspective each of them was quoted in light years and then how long it would take to get there in a transatlantic plan. For example, it would take the plane about 73 thousand billion years to reach Andromeda.
The school PTA provided drinks and food for visitors to purchase but were kind enough to supply us free of charge !
Report by Robin (inside - The Night Sky talk)
I was inside doing one of three presentations with Andy & Jim. We did the cycle twice, finishing, I guess, at about 8:30pm.
I talked about What’s Up, finding Polaris – the short version – and moving forward to the New Year to show the rise of the Autumn/Winter Constellations and Mars. I pointed out Taurus and Orion. The viewing time moved from 6pm to 8pm for the future dates so as to show Orion at the beginning of February.
We had set out 60 chairs and I guess that there were 40-50 people at the first session and 20-30 at the second session.
I had a few questions after both sessions before Andy came on.
Report by Jim (inside - Mars talk)
Most of the audience stayed for all the talks so the numbers for my talk on Mars were similar to those for Robin's.
The presentation focussed on the most recent missions to Mars and some future missions that will hopefully be launched this decade, including an explanation of the limited launch windows available.
Details of the Martian atmosphere were discussed along with issues about the trace amounts of methane discovered. The topography of Mars was also explained along with the overwhelming evidence for abundant water flow in the planets distant past.
The final part of presentation was a series of images showing clear of evidence that similar (or the same?) geological processes were at work on Mars & Earth. There were plenty of interesting questions at the end.
Report by Arthur (inside - Solar System room)
The evening went very well with lots of visitors young and old. Andy supplied me with Institute of Physics '3d effect' paper glasses, which, when light from a torch was shone at them simulated the effect of photons rushing from a solar flare. This allowed me to talk and explain all about prominences and solar discharge etc..
I also had large scale sun v earth photo to demonstrate scale. I had lots of interest from both the children and their parents.
Note from Lesley (inside - Solar System room, publicity)
We gave out a number of cards with our contact details to some of the parents who asked about MAS, and left some cards with the school in case there were any further enquires.
There were lots of questions from the children (and some from the parents) and it was surprising how knowledgable they were.
Report by Adrian J (outside)
During the evening I aimed my 10" and 6" telescopes at various injects for people to see. This included Saturn and it's moon Titan, Jupiter and all 4 moons, the Perseus Double Cluster, Albireo and Alcor. My favourite was definitely Saturn. I also pointed out some constellations to those who were interested.
I noticed that Percy had some interesting targets lined up with his big refractor, including Mars, the Moon and the Owl Nebula.
Whilst the sky stayed clear right until the end of the evening, a heavy dew was very notable. All my gear was dripping by the end of the session ... even the parts that dew doesn’t usually settle on!
(ED. The 'grey foam wrapper' seen belted to the telescope tube in the photo, right, is the dew shield)
Report by Percy (outside - observing)
Percy submitted his report in photos :-)
This note last modified: 26th Nov 2022 09:58.