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 :
(+) 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)
(+) 6 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
(+) 5 Jun 2020 MAS 62nd AGM
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 :-) )
(+) 7 Jun 2019 MAS 61st AGM - (and Photo Competition prizes)
(+) 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)
Friday, 7th October 2016 - Astro tourism - David Phillips (Naturetrek)
Report by Steve
David Phillips, formally Operations Manager at Intrepid Travel, will delivered a talk on Astro-tourism - a subject dear to his heart as he will be introducing Astronomy themed holidays at Naturetrek.
He started with a quick overview of what astro-tourists like to see = the Northern Lights (aurora), Solar Eclipses, dark sky observing and trips to astronomical observatories. He then talked about some of the trips he has organised and showed a number of photos in each category.
Northern Lights. Whilst we are now moving away from the solar max. you might expect fewer 'outbursts', however we actually see more, especially during the 'active' months of Sept/Oct and Feb/March.
To view the aurora, the ideal place is on a 'donut' ring around each magnetic pole called the 'auroral oval' - the northern one includes Alaska, N. Iceland, N., Greenland, N Scandinavia etc. For a good view it's also important to avoid bright moonlight (so travel when the Moon is 'new')
Solar Eclipse. A total Solar Eclipse is a 'must do' item fro your 'bucket list' !
If you missed the last visible from UK (11 August 1999) you will have to travel (the next total from UK won't be until 23 September 2090). Next year a total eclipse will be visible from much of the USA on Aug 21 (see the MAS Eclipses page). One tip from David is that the Eastern / seaboard is likely to get the best weather (and thus the best views)
David displayed some amazing photos of past Solar Eclipse trips he had organised, the most amazing of which was one of the Sun's corona at 'totality' in Svalbard, 2015 .
He also showed the tent village setup on an atoll (for the 2010 eclipse), the 'shadow bands' on the ice/snow in Svalbard for the 2015 eclipse, and visitors viewing the 2016 eclipse from Indonesia (from the tiny island of Ternate).
He also mentioned two forthcoming trips - USA for 2017 and Chile/Argentina for 2 July 2019, and that researching local cloud cover was key to success !
Observatories. He has organised a number of tips that included Observatory visits and notes that while many (especially in USA) are happy to receive visitors, and run active 'outreach' / 'history' programs, some (S. Africa ?) are not (although he has managed to 'blag' his way into some 'unofficially').
Observatory visits can be combined with other activities - for example, Arizona you have Lowell Observatory, Meteor Creator and the grand canyon all in one trip !
Dark Skies. There are a number of places where the local hotels offer facilities - esp. Morocco, where he showed photos of a hotel on the edge of the desert with telescopes on the roof and Namibia where the amazing dark skies can be combined with a wildlife tour.
After the break Adrian J. delivered an appeal on behalf of the Gaia - GOSA Project from members to observe asteroid 'light curves'.
Gaia is an ESA all sky survey satellite that is measuring the position and magnitude of stars to unparalleled accuracy. During the planned 5 year survey it will observe each of about 1 billion stars (about 1% of those in our galaxy) about 70 times. It will spot about 300,000 asteroids, obtaining their position and 'instantaneous' brightness. The 70 odd 'snap shots' will generate a 'sparse light curve' of each asteroid as Gaia catches it at different points in it's rotational period (which is typically 8-12 hrs).
Gaia-GOSA is a ground based project by 'amateurs' to generate 'dense' light curves for those asteroids. The Gaia 'sparse' observations will allow the GOSA dense curve to be 'calibrated' (so long as the Gaia measurement is made during the GOSA observation)
What's so exciting is that from the 'dense' light curve it's actually possible to compute the shape of the asteroid !
How MAS members can help. You need a decent CCD camera (capable of 2-3minute exposures without 'saturating' the asteroid), an 8" (min) 'scope and a mount that can keep the asteroid 'in view' for at least 1 hr i.e. for the minimum 'session'. Your timing only needs to be accurate to within about 1 second, however you will need to generate at least 1hr of data 'per session' (5 hrs is better :-)) and the Gaia 'snap shot' of the same asteroid MUST take place during your session if your data is to be 'calibrated'.
When you register with the Gaia-GOSA website (and input your observing location), you get lists and times of the asteroids (visible to you) that Gaia is due to observe. Since rotational periods can extend to 12 hrs and beyond, the same asteroid typically has to be observed multiple times (and from different time-zones).
Note that you don't process your images, just post the 'raw' FITS data (the GOSA computers will locate the asteroid in each photo and extract it's brightness).
A 2-3 minute exposure per image is needed to reduce noise (and get the required 100 SNR), so 'pin sharp' focus is not required ('pin sharp' will lead to faster 'saturation')
All our indoor Meetings are open to the public, however non-members are asked to make a contribution of £2 toward the hall hire costs (this may be collected by Fred, our Membership Secretary, at the door on arrival, or left at the 'Tea hatch' at half time).
This note last modified: 11th Jun 2019 10:38.
(+) 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)
(+) 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