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MAS archive


Photo: jpeg (meeting in progress)
This page lists our monthly meetings. For other events open to the general public, see our Events page

Dates are set well in advance but the 'content' of the meeting is only updated (from our 'meetings database') when details are entered, so 'blank' or 'TBA' may be shown when data has not yet been entered (please be assured that the meeting will take place and a talk on (some) Subject will be delivered by (some) Speaker ! )

Photo: MAS Meeting
Meetings are held at the Church Hall (aka 'The Soltau Center') of St James-the-Less, Stubbings, Maidenhead SL6 6QW, from 7.30 (for a map and directions, see the About MAS (Where we meet) page

The Main Topic is usually delivered by an invited guest speaker. We aim to provide a diverse range of subjects linked (in some way) to Astronomy - whilst the 'Second Session' is typically delivered by one of our members. If time allows, the evening concludes with a short 'What to see this month'.

Details of a typical evening (times are approximate) :-
7.30pm. The evening starts with the Chairman delivering any important Announcements and then introducing the main speaker.
7.45pm (latest). Main Topic Speaker gets up and the lights are turned off.
If you arrive after 7.45, please enter the Hall by the first door (on the right, after the entrance) and please be extra careful when finding a seat at the back of the Hall as members often setup telescopes there !
8.45-9pm +. Coffee break during which visitors often chat with members who have set-up their telescopes at the back of the hall. If the weather is good, sometimes members will nip out for a quick look at the sky.
Smoking is permitted outside the Hall, however smokers are asked to avoid any 'observers' (smoke particles always seem to get into optical equipment, no matter how well 'sealed' it may be)
9.15pm (at the latest). The 'Second Session' then runs for about 45 mins, typically ending with "What's Up !" (what to look out for in the sky this month)
10pm. We aim to clear the hall by 10pm.
Post meeting Observing. If the weather is good, the Observing Organiser then leads the way to our chosen observing site, or (if the weather looks even a slight bit 'iffy) members sneak off to the local Pub instead :-)

Next meeting :

(+)  7 Jun 2019 MAS 61st AGM

(+) Jul 2019 Summer break - (no meeting)

(+) Aug 2019 Summer break - (no meeting)

(+)  6 Sep 2019 History of Mars Exploration - (Jim House)

(+)  4 Oct 2019 Kew Observatory and the origins of modern solar physics - (Lee Macdonald)

(+)  1 Nov 2019 The Origin of the Solar System - (James Fradgley)

(+)  1 Dec 2019 Xmas Quiz and social - (By members)

(+)  3 Jan 2020 Equipment Parade - (By members)

(+)  7 Feb 2020 Ask an expert Q and A panel - (By Members)

(+)  6 Mar 2020 TBA

(+)  3 Apr 2020 TBA

(+)  1 May 2020 TBA

  Meetings Archive  

The meetings archive gives an 'overview' of the Society activities over the past 10 years (see also the Events page).

Members have access to the full 'History of MAS' (including AGM minutes going back to 1957) along with full names and photos

The MAS 'year' runs from September of one year to June of the following. The end of year AGM in June elects the Committee for the following year (there are no meetings in July and August - although often members will meet informally at the local pub - which gives the new Committee time to 'get a grip' on running the Society)

The "short cuts" (in the 'title bar', at the very top of this page) will take you to the June AGM entry for the end of that MAS year

The Maidenhead Astronomical Society meetings archive (last 10 years only)

Missed a meeting, or can't remember when a topic was last covered ? Here is the archive of past MAS meetings.
Note that this list covers only our monthly meetings and AGM's. Reports on Observing and Other Events are separate pages

If notes were taken at the meeting, the date below is underlined and shown with a '(+)' = click to see the notes (if no '(+)' is shown, no notes were taken - or, more likely, the webmaster hasn't found them and posted them up yet :-) )

(+)  3 May 2019 13 Journeys in Space and Time - (Colin Stuart)

(+)  5 Apr 2019 Space Weather - (Dr Colin Forsyth)

(+)  1 Mar 2019 The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) - (Dr Aprajita Verma)

(+)  1 Feb 2019 Ask the Expert - (members panel)

(+)  4 Jan 2019 Equipment exhibition - (and EGM)

(+)  7 Dec 2018 Christmas Quiz and Social

(+)  2 Nov 2018 Short talks - (by members)

(+)  5 Oct 2018 The Future is out of this World - ( Dr Stuart Eves FRAS)

(+)  7 Sep 2018 13 Journeys through space and Time - (Postponed new date TBA)

(+) Aug 2018 Summer break - (no meeting)

(+) Jul 2018 Summer break - (no meeting)

(+)  1 Jun 2018 MAS 61st AGM - (and Photo Competition prizes)

(+)  4 May 2018 Using Video and an Aurora Encounter - (by members)

(+)  6 Apr 2018 Berkshire Astronomers - (Kenelm England FRAS)

(+) 16 Mar 2018 NEW DATE Jupiter and the Juno Mission - (Dr John Rogers)

(+)  2 Feb 2018 Talks by Members

(+)  5 Jan 2018 Telescope and Equipment workshop - (Q and A with members)

(+)  1 Dec 2017 Xmas Quiz and Social - (Quiz Master Tim H)

(+)  3 Nov 2017 Wonders of the Deep Sky - (Callum Potter)

(+)  6 Oct 2017 Observing the Sun - (by MAS members)

(+)  1 Sep 2017 Gravity Waves - (a recap by Martin Dyer)

(+)  2 Jun 2017 MAS 60th AGM - (and Photo Competition prizes)

(+)  5 May 2017 Novae - (Jim H)

(+)  7 Apr 2017 Comets - (Kenelm England)

(+)  3 Mar 2017 Pseudoastronomy - (Stephen Tonkin)

(+)  3 Feb 2017 Members short stories

(+)  6 Jan 2017 Telescope Parade - (exhibition by members)

(+)  9 Dec 2016 (note 2nd Friday) Christmas Quiz - (and members shorts)

(+)  4 Nov 2016 Observing Planetary Nebulae - (Owen Brazell)

(+)  7 Oct 2016 Astro tourism - (David Phillips)

(+)  2 Sep 2016 Rosetta Space Mission - (Andrew Morse)

(+)  3 Jun 2016 MAS 59th AGM - (and Photo competition results)

(+)  6 May 2016 Build a recording spectrometer John Paraskeva - (2nd half Spectrometer results Alun Halsey)

(+)  1 Apr 2016 The Universe in multiple wavelengths - (2nd half Gravity Waves)

(+)  4 Mar 2016 Astronomy and the Weather - (Robin Oldman)

(+)  5 Feb 2016 Sungrazing Comets - (Kenelm England FRAS)

(+)  8 Jan 2016 (note 8th as 1st is New Year) Practical Astrophotography - (and Telescope Parade)

(+) 11 Dec 2015 Xmas Quiz and members shorts - (NOTE DATE CHANGE)

(+)  6 Nov 2015 The Big Bang Theory - (Kevin Pretorius)

(+)  2 Oct 2015 Starting Astrophotography - (short talks by members)

(+)  4 Sep 2015 Basketballs and Beyond - (Jane Green)

(+)  5 Jun 2015 agm

(+)  8 May 2015 (NOTE 2nd Friday) Talks by Members

(+) 10 Apr 2015 (2nd Friday) planned meeting replaced by - (talks from members)

(+)  6 Mar 2015 Astronomy in Namibia - (Scott Marley)

(+)  6 Feb 2015 Did the Moon sink the Titanic ? - (Dr Barry Kellett)

(-)  7 Nov 2014 Guest stars ancient and modern - (Guy Hurst)

The ancient Chinese left extensive records of all sorts of 'naked eye' astronomical events, including 'guest stars' (Novae and Comets) which were seen as 'portents' predicting the future. Nova are easy to distinguish since they are recored as 'not moving'. The earliest recorded supernova, SN 185, was viewed by Chinese astronomers in 185 AD. Then came SN 1006 (in Lupus), the brightest recorded supernova to date. Next was SN 1054 (in Taurus, which produced the Crab Nebula), then SN 1572 (in Cassiopeia, observed by Tycho Brahe) and SN 1604 (in Ophiuchus, observed by Johannes Kepler and the last in our Milky Way galaxy to date). SN 1572 and SN1604 were used to argue against the Aristotelian idea that the universe beyond the Moon and planets was "immutable" (Ed. a belief promoted by the Church, with it's Geocentric model of the Universe, which claimed that the 'perfect unmoving stars' are the outermost 'heavenly sphere' and, by implication, the underside of Heaven), however the distance calculated, whilst outside the 'earthly sphere', was orders of magnitude too low. With the development of practical telescopes, in the early 1600s, observers started to examine the night sky and, in 1885 discovered the first supernova in another galaxy, SN 1885 'S Andromedae' (in the Andromeda galaxy) as well as observe the SN remnants During the 1930s, Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky examined what was believed to be just a brighter class of 'normal' novae and, after discovering that the process was completely different, coined the term 'super-novae' (since then SN have been clasified into 2 main types (Type I and II) with a number of subtypes). By the 1960s, astronomers found that the maximum intensities of supernova explosions could be used as 'standard candles' and thus used to calculate the distance to the host galaxy (see last months meeting, Measuring the Universe) SN 1987A, in the Large Magellanic Cloud (about 168,000 light-years away) was the most recent SN close enough to be a 'naked eye' object (but could only be seen from the Southern Hemisphere). These days it is possible to 'reconstruct' and date ancient supernova lacking written records by using techniques such as light echos (which confirmed SN 1680, Cassiopeia A supernova event) and by 'back plotting' emissions from the supernova remnant (eg. RX J0852.0-4622). UK amateur astronomers have been particularly successful at discovering SN in other galaxies, with Tom Boles, with his slide off roof observatory in Coddenham achieving the world record with SN 2009ij, in August 2009 (when he reached 125 discoveries) and which he still holds today (with 155 discoveries) The uneven distribution of SN by galaxy 'type' (more often in spiral than elliptical galaxies) still needs to be fully explained. Ed. Type I supernovae (binary pairs) mostly occur in elliptical galaxies, and are probably mostly Population II stars, whilst Type II supernovae (massive stars exploding) are not observed to occur in elliptical galaxies (at all), and are thought to occur (only) in Population I type stars in the arms of spiral galaxies. For more information see here Second half Tim followed up Guy's talk with photo's taken from his garden observatory of the most recent SN discovered, by Ron Arbour (BAA, his 33rd) (so new, it was still designated 'PSN' = Possible SuperNova)
Photo: ../Meetings/photos/ngc6329_atik_051114_insert.jpgDetails by Tim:
Using a 30cm F/4 Newtonian (Orion Optics, Crew) on EQ6 mount without auto guiding,  I took 10  exposures of 20s with an ATIK 314L+ (cooled to -15C) focused with a Barhintov mask (Ed. you can make your own following these instructions using a free on-line tool).

A Baader MPCC was used to flatten the field. No dark or flat frames.  The exposed frames were staked in Deep Sky Stacker (Ed. freeware) with 2x Drizzle and saved as FITS, and then stretched in AstroArt 5 (Ed. Euro 129, or 125 if purchased via UK distributor).

I did a background correction before saving as jpg.  Further adjustments were with Paint Shop Pro 5 (Ed. an old version that has been included on magazine cover discs). The magnitude limit on the frames is about +18.

Sky condiitons: Full Moon Rising,  and dusk on 2014 Nov 5th, 1824 UT

This was followed by Robin with a Stellarium 'script' tour of open clusters near Cassiopeia finishing with a reminder of next two meteor shower dates (Leonids, peak Nov 16 = for which we are holding a public viewing event on the 15th, and the Geminids, peak Dec 13)
This note last modified: 5th Feb 2015 22:06.


(+)  3 Oct 2014 Measuring the Universe - (Kevin Pretorius)

(+)  5 Sep 2014 UKMON - (Richard Kacerek)

(+)  6 Jun 2014 agm

(+)  2 May 2014 Asteroids and Comets - (Jerry Workman)

(+)  7 Mar 2014 Talks by members

(+)  7 Feb 2014 History of Radio Astronomy - (Paul Hyde)

(+)  3 Jan 2014 Members telescope workshop evening

(+)  4 Oct 2013 Project Alcock

(+)  6 Sep 2013 Zooniverse - (Brooke Simmons)

(+)  7 Jun 2013 agm

(+)  3 May 2013 Members Photographic Compitition

(+)  1 Mar 2013 Exploring the Solar System by Satellite - (Dr Stuart Eves)

(+)  1 Feb 2013 Mars revisited - (Gerry Workman)

(+)  2 Nov 2012 (place holder)

(+)  5 Oct 2012 The History of Dark Nebula

(+)  7 Sep 2012 Photographing the Night Sky - (Nik Szymanek)

(+)  1 Jun 2012 agm

(+)  4 May 2012 Origins of time keeping

(+) 12 Apr 2012 The Faulkes Telescope Project

(+)  2 Mar 2012 Astronomy for new members - (various)

(+)  2 Dec 2011 Xmas social and Reprocessing old data using new Registax - (Bruce Kingsley)

(+)  3 Jun 2011 agm

(+)  6 May 2011 Occultations Ancient and Modern - (Tim Haymes)

(+)  1 Apr 2011 Active Galactic Nuclei - (Dr Nick Hewitt)

(+)  4 Mar 2011 Astro Imaging Overseas - (Damian Peach)

(+)  4 Feb 2011 Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe - (Dr Mark Sullivan)

(+)  7 Jan 2011 Social evening and Quiz - (Tim & Robin)

(+)  5 Nov 2010 Big Bangs - (Jim & Tim)

(+)  1 Oct 2010 Astronomy in Space - (David & Jim)

(+)  3 Sep 2010 The Sun Kings - (Dr Stuart Clark)

(+)  2 Jul 2010 Telescope and Camera workshop - (members)

(+)  4 Jun 2010 agm

(+)  9 Apr 2010 Meteorites - (David Bryant)

(+)  5 Mar 2010 Bits and Pieces - (Greg Smye Rumsby)

(+)  8 Jan 2010 (cancelled due to snow)

(+)  4 Dec 2009 Xmas Social and Quiz

(+)  6 Nov 2009 Planetary Nebulae - (Owen Brazel)

(+)  2 Oct 2009 A beginners guide to the night sky - (Tim H)

(+)  4 Sep 2009 Short talks - (members)

(+)  5 Jun 2009 agm

(+)  6 Jun 2008 agm

(+)  1 Jun 2007 agm

(+)  7 Jun 2006 agm

(+)  3 Jun 2005 agm

(+)  4 Jun 2004 agm