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  *** HOT NEWS ***   MAS Stargazing Live !   *** HOT NEWS ***  

Our 2017 Stargazing Live ! event will be held on 1st April at White Waltham Airfield
(home of the West London Aero Club)

See our Events page for more information about all our Events
Click here for MAS Facebook page
Photo: Members of MAS gather to observe the ransit of Mercury
Monday, 9 May 2016: Transit of Mercury, members of MAS gathered in Ockwells Park to show the Transit to the public. For more details, see report on Events page
WARNING: never look at the Sun through a normal telescope !!
Doing so, WILL BLIND YOU !!!

Members announcement:
The MAS Members 2017 Photo Competition starts now. To enter, send your photo, with information (date taken etc.) to the Chairman (and specify category, our Sun/Moon, Planet/other Solar System, Deep Sky, Local or International). Closing date is the May 2017 meeting, judging will be external and prizes awarded at the AGM in June.


  Next Meeting  

  Friday, 7th April 2017    TBA  

All our indoor meetings run from 7.30 to 10pm in the Church Hall, St James-the-Less, Stubbings, Maidenhead, SL6 6QW (for directions, see our About & Contact page)

Meetings are normally on the first Friday of the month, September to June. There are no indoor meetings in July or August (unless indicated)

Beginners and visitors are always welcome at our indoor meetings (you don't have to join, however a £2 contribution toward the costs of the hall hire would be most welcome !)

To contact the society between meetings, please complete the on-line General Enquiry form

If you would like to receive, by email, advanced notification of our free public events, or you would like further information about the Society please use the Enquiry form mentioned above - or just turn up at any meeting and speak to any member of the Committee.

We also have a page on the Maidenhead Arts Council web site (where you will find details of other local clubs and societies if, for some inexplicable reason, Astronomy fails to fire your imagination and seize your interest :-) )


  This seasons meetings  

  Friday, 2nd September 2016

  Rosetta Space Mission   (Andrew Morse)  

  Friday, 3rd February 2017

  Members short stories   ( )  

  Friday, 7th October 2016

  Astro tourism   (David Phillips)  

  Friday, 3rd March 2017

  Pseudoastronomy   (Stephen Tonkin)  

  Friday, 4th November 2016

  Observing Planetary Nebulae   (Owen Brazell)  

  Friday, 7th April 2017

  TBA   ( )  

  Friday, 9th December 2016

  (note 2nd Friday) Christmas Quiz   (and members shorts)  

  Friday, 5th May 2017

  TBA   ( )  

  Friday, 6th January 2017

  Telescope Parade   (exhibition by members)  

  Friday, 2nd June 2017

  MAS 60th AGM   (and Photo Competition prizes)  

(Table: http://www.maidenhead-astro.net/public/Home/index#2_bm)  


  Next Public Event  

1 Apr 2017 Stargazing Live

Saturday, 1st April 2017, Observing from 7pm at White Waltham Airfield, Maidenhead, SL6 3NJ (home of the West London Aero Club). Maidenhead Astronomical Society presents:- Stargazing Live ! This event is totally free (free entry, free parking), but donations are welcome towards our venue hire costs. If there is anything left over (not usually!) we would put them towards educational materials for our outreach activities with schools, cubs, brownies etc. We will be open to the public from about 6.30 and will run to after 10pm. Observing (Moon watch) from about 7pm, star gazing after sunset (7.30). There is ample parking but if busy, please follow marshalls instructions. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please stay within the designated chained off grass area where the telescopes will be. MAS members will be setting up their telescopes for public viewing and talks will be held in the Conference Room that opens directly out to the airfield where our telescopes will be (look for the MAS / 'Star Gazing Live' banners) NOTE. This event will go ahead even if the weather is a bit 'iffy' (should it actually rain, we will bring our telescopes indoors and talk to anyone who is interested). Facilities The Restaurant closes at 6pm, however the Club has a fully licensed bar. The 'Snacks' Menu is available up to 7pm (order from the bar), after which the kitchen is closed (although toasted sandwiches may still be available from the bar). Tea and Coffee from the bar at £1. Cakes and confectionery are also available. Talks etc. Will take place in the conference room next to the bar. You do not book for these talks but simply turn up. The first starts at 7pm and they are approx every 20 mins/ half hour. The talks will be repeated during the evening (depending on demand/numbers). Presented by members of MAS, as follows, and in this order - Tim Haymes               "An Introduction to telescopes" Peter Hainsworth      "An introduction to astro photography" Martin Dyer               "An introduction to Gravity" There will be a written 'Quiz' (and a small prize), following the talks. Viewing MAS members will be on hand with their telescopes setup to view some of the many objects visible in the night sky (weather permitting). In the early evening, before it gets really dark, high in the SW we will see the 5 day old waxing Crescent Moon. As the Sun sets in the west, at about 7:30, it will be followed by the planet Uranus (which will have totally disappeared by 8:30 = the chances of catching a glimpse depends on an unobstructed view to the western horizon). Looking to the South, from dusk, we will see  Sirius rising above the horizon (the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere, Sirius is frequently mistaken for Venus, however Venus (like Mercury) will always be found near the Sun - either in the West at dusk (following the Sun down), or, as at present, rising in the East before the Sun, at dawn) Photo: ../Events/photos/2017-04-01-8-40-looking-west.jpg
Following the Sun down to the west, we will see a half phase Mercury (at it's greatest W Elongation), however it will have disappeared below the horizon before 9:30.

About 1/3rd the distance from Mercury to the Moon we will find Mars (which will be visible until 10pm).

Then, roughly half way between Mars and the Moon (forming the hoof of the right leg of Taurus) is the Pleiades, a bright cluster of 7 visible new stars (hence the popular name '7 sisters' - although many more than 7 can be seen in a telescope !). In the days before light pollution, all 7 of the 'sisters' could be seen by keen eyes = the most I've ever managed without a telescope is 5  = how many can you see ?

Continuing to the east, nicely placed between the Moon and Sirius, is the constellation of Orion with it's famous nebula, M42. This is visible to the naked eye as a 'fuzzy patch' in Orion's 'sword' (or dagger') below the 'belt' (it's the 3rd of the 4 'objects' making up the sword - the first is the open cluster NGC1981) The 'biggie' planet of the evening will be Jupiter. This will be rising from the horizon in the East at about 8:30pm (but is still only 20 degrees above the SE horizon by 10:30pm as Sirius sets in the SW) so to view Jupiter we will need a clear path to the southern horizon. To find the nearest Galaxy to our own, Andromeda (M31) - which will appear upright ('standing on it's edge') - locate the constellation of Andromeda (about half way between Mercury and the 'big W' of Cassiopeia) and follow the 3 stars in the 'arm' to the right'. The Andromeda Galaxy is just off the end of the arm, slightly down and to the right (shown [ ] in the image above right (click it for a bigger view))
For a Report on one of our previous Stargazing Live events see here This event, consisting of public talks and observing, is organised in conjunction with the BBC StarGazing Live !
This note last modified: 24th Mar 2017 13:17.

Members :- Please log-in to the Members Only section for details of our next members only Event


  Most recent Event Report  

Details of all our planned and past activities can be found on the Events pages.
Note that Outreach events are not usually open to the public, so are reported here only AFTER the event (Members can see planned Outreach dates in the Members Only section, Activity planning pages)

8 Mar 2017 1st Stoke Poges Guide Unit - (Outreach)

Weds. 8th March 2017 - 1st Stoke Poges Guide Unit (Outreach). Present: Adrian, Andy, Robin, Steve report by Steve This was our second attempt to deliver our talks to the Guides and, I'm glad to say, this time it 'went to plan'. Although the forecast was not good, for once the clouds stayed away and, on arrival (a little late, having misjudged the traffic in Slough (again :-) ) I was able to set-up with Robin and Andy outside aiming our kit at Venus, Mars and the Moon. The Guides arrived at about 7pm and all managed to see all 3 objects, remarking especially the thin Crescent phase of Venus and the impact craters on the Waxing Gibbous (3/4 phase) Moon. The clouds stayed away long enough for Robin to deliver his 'finding Polaris' talk outside with his laser pen ! As part of the Guides 'badge', they had to identify some specific constellations and find some specific stars - Robin took them all through this before we retired indoors for Adrian's Moon talk. Since the 'pack' only consisted of 6 actual Guides (plus 4 assistants, including the pack-leader) we were able to take questions and offer additional information as we went along. Back indoors, Adrian completed the Moon phases talk and demonstration (assisted by Robin on the lamp) and then showed a short video featuring the early bombardment of the Moon soon after its formation, and how this released lava from the still molten core to fill in the impact basins creating the 'seas'. After the Moon had largely cooled, further impacts continued during the ‘Intermediate Cratering period' then pock-marked the surface with the impact craters still visible today. He then went into the difference between Asteroids, Comets, Meteors etc. and showed another short video, whilst Robin passed around some meteor (or, to be exact, since they reached the Earth's surface, meteorite) samples, one from Meteor Crater (Arizona, USA) the other from a meteorite that came down in Peru. With time pressing (it was already gone 8pm) I launched into the Solar System talk with Robin helpfully placing the planets as I went through them. We finished up with a telescope talk and then took a few questions. A very worthwhile and memorable event as this is one of the very few where we had a chance to do some real observing !
This note last modified: 10th Mar 2017 09:09.



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  Laser Pens  

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 pointer at an outreach event. Children under the age of 18 and non-approved adults are not be allowed 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).



Robotic Telescopes (MAS Links page)
Where we meet (MAS About page)
'Frequently Asked Questions' (FAQ, MAS Beginners page)
exit to: Maidenhead Arts Council (MADAC) MAS web page
exit to: Tim's list of Asteroid Occultation observation opportunities
exit to: European Asteroidal Occultation Network
exit to: Space Weather
exit to: Heavens-Above - times of everything passing overhead, especially ISS, satellites and Iridium flares
exit to: The Astronomer on-line - magazine for the advanced amateur
exit to: BAA (British Astronomical Association)
exit to: SPA (Society for Popular Astronomy) - especially suitable for younger stargazers !


Benefactors and supporters

O2 (award report)
exit to Cash-for-the-community (Baylis Trust)
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Lottery grant
RBWM-Education Directorate
Mr B.Smith of Shottesbrooke
Mrs P.Haymes
The Telegraph newspaper
exit to Oregon Scientific
exit to Telescope house