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 ! )
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 :
(+) 1 Feb 2019 Ask the expert - (members panel)
(+) 1 Mar 2019 The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) - (Dr)
(+) 5 Apr 2019 Space Weather - (Dr Colin Forsyth)
(+) 3 May 2019 To be announced
(+) 7 Jun 2019 MAS 61st AGM
(+) Jul 2019 Summer break - (no meeting)
(+) Aug 2019 Summer break - (no meeting)
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 :-) )
(+) 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)
Meeting 1 April 2016
Report by Steve B
"The Universe in Multiple Wavelengths" by Jim House
Jim explained how Astronomers split up the electromagnetic spectrum (which runs from the low energy long wavelength radio waves to the highly energetic ultra-short cosmic waves) into overlapping 'bands' that require very different instruments to 'image'.
Of course, as astronomers we are mainly interested in the visible wavelength 'band', which overlaps into the Infra-red (and less so into the ultra-violet) - so his talk concentrated on the other wavelengths !
The Infra-red band was discovered first, when ?? used as prism to split light and found 'invisible' radiation to the left of red was heating a thermometer.
Ultra-violet took a little longer, however ?? heard about the discovery of IR and specifically looked for 'something'; to the right of blue- and when nothing showed up when he used thermometers he used photographic chemicals (specifically, silver iodide).
Jim then showed us a image of the crab Nebula in visible light and, as he talked about each wavelength 'band', showed us a corresponding image of the nebula 'taken' in that band.
Of course the 'problem' with longer wavelengths is obtaining reasonable 'resolution' - and this required 'long base line' interferometry, first demonstrated in ??? using surplus WW2 radar equipment (MAS members will remember our trip to Mullard Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge)
2nd half - "Gravitational Wave Astronomy: The Beginning of a New Era" by Martin Dyer
Martin started by mentioning how he was inspired by one of our Star Gazing Live events to take up Astronomy, so mush so that he is now studying for a Doctorate in Astronomy !
He next explained how Einsteins equations 'predicted' the existence of Gravity Waves and even allowed their 'characteristics' to be defined to the point where it was possible to design a detector, based on a 'scaled up' Michelson Interferometer, of which two are operational (both in USA, LIGO H1 is in Washington state, LIGO L1 in Louisiana)
The first Gravity wave (GW150914) was detected by both detectors (one of which was not even due to go 'on-line' at the time) eliminating all possibility of 'noise' as the cause.
The characteristics of the wave allowed the 'source' to be determined as a pair of black holes, one 35 times the mass of the sun, the other slightly smaller, that circled around each other starting at 30 times a second. By the end of the 20 millisecond wave, the two had accelerated to 250 times a second before the final collision.
The delay time between the two detectors even allowed astronomers to establish the direction of the wave (as a 'ring' = a 3rd detector being required for 'triangulation') and it's distance (about 1.3bn LY), however although telescopes have scanned the sky at these locations nothing has (yet) been seen in the optical wavelengths.
Martin's doctorate involves the construction of a 'wide field' telescope, built using 8 'off-the-shelf' Newtonian reflectors, with high resolution cameras, which should allow will allow 'fast response' and detection of the optical counterpart when the next Gravity wave is detected.
For more on this subject, I suggest Wikipedia
(presented by Steve)
Robin, who was off skiing, was good enough to leave me a Stellarium 'script' of 'What to look for in April'. This focused on the constellation of Leo, which can be found more or less due South after midnight by the middle of the month.
Needless to say, my PC managed to 'loose' the ground (it substituted a very nice sea-scape :-) ) and showed times 1Hr 'out' compared to Robin's script text (I'm guessing he set-up the script before the clocks went back :-) )
Of course, I had no idea how to pronounce the names of the various stars 'highlighted' by the script, however it did run OK and the various DSO's were shown up very well along with a 'overview' that would help to find them.
The script was somewhat less successful in showing where the Planets could be found - the Moon, was fine, more of less directly below Leo (which also helps the observer locate Leo :-) ), as was Jupiter (also to be found 'below' Leo, but generally 'to the left' (East) of the Moon). However Saturn and Mars were shown far too 'zoomed in' with little visibility of the surrounding constellations to make location 'easy', especially as I has no idea where to find them so was unable to enlighten anyone :-)
No doubt members will be very glad when Robin returns next month !
This note last modified: 5th Apr 2016 13:51.
(+) 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)
(+) 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