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 :
(+) 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 :-) )
(+) 1 Mar 2019 The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) - (Dr)
(+) 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)
Friday, 5th January 2018 - equipment workshop
Report by Steve
Both at the start of the meeting and after the 'break', I noted at least two visitors being assisted with the set-up and use of their telescopes. There were about 10 telescopes being 'shown off' by members at the back of the hall (Percy took photos of most - no doubt we will be seeing some of these in a future meeting).
Tim was showing off a number of Standard Time (radio) receivers at the front of the hall, oncliding a DCF77 receiver only finished in the last week (as, in his words, the first effort was a 'lash-up' :-) ! He will be explaining the importance of knowing the exact time in astronomical observations in Feb's meeting.
Both Tim and Percy were taking photo's (those shown in this report were provided by Tim)
First half mini-talk
David H. delivered a very interesting talk on 'Binoviewers'.
This consists of an 'adapter' that fits into the normal 1.25" eyepiece position and splits the light into two paths. A pair of identical eyepieces is then fitted to deliver an identical image to each eye. The brain** then 'interprets' this to deliver "a sort-of 3D effect" - however, more to the point, 2 eyes are always better than one, so 'seeing' is always better !
David has the William Optics Binoviewer Package (it comes with 2x20mm Eyepieces and an OCS (a screw-in 'optical correction' lens that's needed for some telescopes to achieve focus) which can be found for less than £150 (but be warned - you can also find them for more than £280, so you need to 'shop around').
A major advantage is reduction in 'eye strain' as it allows you to keep both eyes open whilst observing = David reports that "once you use them you will never go back" !
** Note that, like those '3d optical illusion' printed images, it seems that not everyone's brain is 'wired up' to produce the '3d effect'. As a result you can often find virtually unused Binoviewer's for sale on eBay where they hold their price really well (Ed. expect to pay upward of £120 for a complete set - but watch out - some sellers separate out the eyepieces and OCS lens !)
Of course there are a few disadvantages, the first of which (for most of us) is the cost (remember = you will need to buy duplicate eyepieces !)
The next is the Optical Correction lens. When a Binoviewer is used with some telescopes (especially 'pure' Newtonian reflectors eg Dobsonian) you can't achieve focus without the OCS lens. This acts as a 2x 'Barlow' (which turns the 20mm eyepieces into 10mm ones). To 'compensate' for the reduced field of view, you will be tempted to go find a pair of 40mm eyepieces - and that's when you discover the next problem :-
A Binoviewer, especially with the OCS in place, doesn't have a very 'wide' light path. This means 'vignetting' at the edges of wide FOV eyepieces (the kit comes with 20mm for a reason :-) ). Of course the point at which vignetting occurs will vary by telescope, so a (pair of) 'click stop' zoom eyepieces can be the way to go (Ed. these are not cheap - you can expect to pay over £200 for a single 'click stop' zoom eyepiece)
Weight can also be a problem - especially if using some of the more 'up market' eyepieces ! Dobsonian users in particular may have to add 'counter-weights' (or find some method of increasing the mount axis friction) to avoid the OTA 'sinking' under the added weight :-)
One final point to note is that dividing up the light means less than half the 'brightness' to each eyepiece - however because you are using both eyes, your brain typically delivers a better view (things like 'floaters' in your eyeball are 'averaged out' better).
An alternative to a Binoviewer (for those with smaller aperture telescope) would be 'giant binoculars'.
During the break
Members were showing off their telescopes and answering questions about use and setup. Both Tim and Percy took a number of photos (some of Tom'e are shown here).
Percy used the beamer to run a 'slide show' of photos taken at last years public events at Ockwells Park and the two at White Waltham airfield (some of which can be seen in previous reports)
After the break, "Whats Up?" by Alun. Alun's full report in PDF can be downloaded from here (Right click and 'Save link as')
Most of the planets are morning objects, however Ceres is approaching opposition and during January will be well placed at mag 6 near the 'sickle' of Leo.
Comet 2017 T1 Heinze can be seen from 6-11 Jan near Cassiopeia (nearest approach on 9th ?)
Alun showed a number of DSLR photos of Taurus in the December sky taken by Matt L, including the Pleiades (10-15s f3.5 approx 180mm zoom lens). Although 'unguided' the images were very impressive (and shows what modern DSLR sensors are capable of), two of which can be seen here.
(click on the image to view a more detailed (higher resolution) version)
Finally, Alun focused on the constellation of Orion and challenges members to submit their images for the next meeting !
He would especially like to see Barnard's Loop (this is a faint gas cloud, so will need long exposure times and expect tracking will be needed with a DSLR)
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: 12th Jan 2018 13:31.
(+) 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)
(+) 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