We are back at our normal venue from 3rd Sept. 2021
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 ! )
During the COVID-19 restrictions, all meetings are being held on-line using ZOOM. Meetings are normally held at the Church Hall (aka 'The Soltau Center') of St James-the-Less, Stubbings, Maidenhead SL6 6QW, from 7.30 (for a ZOOM link, or 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 :
(+) 4 Feb 2022 Ask an Expert - (by Members)
(+) 1 Apr 2022 Saturn - (Michael Foulkes)
(+) 10 Jun 2022 MAS 65th AGM - (NOTE 2nd Friday)
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 Jan 2022 Telescope Parade and informal equipment discussion - (by Members)
(+) 3 Dec 2021 Christmas Quiz set by members - (followed by Social Evening)
(+) 5 Nov 2021 CANCELLED - (Hall closed)
(+) 1 Oct 2021 Dark Nebulae - (Owen Brazell)
(+) 3 Sep 2021 How we reached the Moon - (Jerry Stone)
(+) 4 Jun 2021 63rd AGM (ZOOM on line meeting)
(+) 7 May 2021 Milestones in Astronomy - (Rod Hine (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 2 Apr 2021 The Red Sun - (Lyn Smith (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 5 Mar 2021 Tour of the Universe - (Jane Green (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 5 Feb 2021 Space Vehicles - (Graham Bryant (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 8 Jan 2021 The Astronomer's Toolkit - (Dr Lee Anne Willson (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 4 Dec 2020 Xmas Quiz - (set by members (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 6 Nov 2020 The Monster in the Crab - (Gary Poyner (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 2 Oct 2020 Is there anyone out there ? - (Bob Mizon (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 4 Sep 2020 Two eyes are better than one - (Stephen Tonkin (ZOOM on line meeting))
(+) 5 Jun 2020 COVID19 Postponed MAS 62nd AGM
(+) 1 May 2020 COVID19 Postponed The Monster in the Crab - (Gary Poyner)
(+) 3 Apr 2020 COVID19 meeting CANCELLED
(+) 6 Mar 2020 Recent Developments in Gravity Wave Research - (Martin Dyer)
(+) 7 Feb 2020 Ask an expert Q and A panel - (By Members)
(+) 3 Jan 2020 Equipment Parade - (By members)
(+) 6 Dec 2019 Xmas Quiz and social - (By members)
(+) 1 Nov 2019 The Origin of the Solar System - (James Fradgley)
(+) 4 Oct 2019 Kew Observatory and the origins of modern solar physics - (Dr Lee Macdonald)
(+) 6 Sep 2019 History of Mars Exploration - (Jim House)
(+) Aug 2019 Summer break - (no meeting)
(+) Jul 2019 Summer break - (no meeting)
(+) 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)
Friday, 1st June 2018, MAS 61st AGM
Below are the Abridged Notes (the full version is available to Members on the Members AGM Page, here)
Our AGM is open to the public, however voting is restricted to MAS Members.
1. Attendees & Apologies
Apologies received from: Jim (Treasurer) but a report has been submitted and will be shared under item 6. below, Kenelm and Chrissie H.
2. Approval of Minutes of 2017 AGM
Approved and signed off for publication on website.
3. Matters arising from 2017 Minutes
Included in discussions noted below.
4. Chair’s Report (Susan)
The Chair was pleased to note good attendance throughout the year, including for guest speakers and in particular for the meeting that was rescheduled in March due to snow storms. The Chair was also pleased to see that some of the newer members were getting involved with MAS meeting and event support.
Thanks to the work of the Outreach Team and MAS events the society is becoming more widely known in the community.
Events in the last year include Stargazing Live in April which was very well attended and was the first time at the new venue of White Waltham Aero Club. A further event was held in the same place in November but whilst this was not so well attended, mainly due to poor weather, donations and sales on the night more than covered the cost of the event.
MADAC event at Maidenhead Library – a small group of members led by Steve set up an excellent stand for this, and there was some interest from the local press with a feature in the Maidenhead Advertiser the following week. Unfortunately the weather was both wet and cold and turnout was poor but several genuine enquiries were made and followed up by the team.
Lassell Grave project – Again led by Steve who followed up on an enquiry received from Liverpool. Following much research and some exploration of a local churchyard Steve was able to locate and confirm the location of the grave. Members assisted in clearing access to the grave itself and again an item in the Maidenhead Advertiser followed.
Observing events took place at Ockwells Park for the Solar Eclipse and Perseids which are reported later in these minutes.
Whilst no large public events are planned at the moment, this is something that will be considered for the future. In the meantime the Outreach Team will continue to be a valuable link to the public and other groups and clubs.
Chair’s thanks – a lot of members have been involved and supported events and activities in the last year so it would not be possible to name them all but the Chair wished to record thanks on behalf of the Society to these members.
5. Membership Secretary Report (Fred)
Total for year is +4 but -12 members. Membership currently includes: 3 life members, 35 Adults, 32 Concessions and 13 Family Group members. 25 Guests attended meetings and of these 1 has since become a member.
Meeting attendance averaged 44, with the best attended meeting being November 2017 with 57. Highlights included February 2018 with 50 attendees for presentations made by members and March 2018 when Dr. John Rogers was the speaker at the rescheduled meeting.
Data protection changes came into effect on 25 May 2018 and an email was sent out to all members to ensure this is covered for the current year. Members are advised that they now have the right to refuse permission to use photos, names or any other specific information.
A new membership form will be distributed during the summer break and all members will be asked to complete this to ensure that MAS is compliant with the new regulations.
6. Treasurers Report (from Jim)
Outgoings exceeded income, however this was die to the one off purchase of a new AV Beamer. Our balance is still healthy and will cover needs for the foreseeable future. The Treasurer therefore recommends that membership fees are held at the current rate for a further year. This was agreed and confirmed.
Outgoings included a new Projector, Hall Hire, BAA* and MADAC membership and FAS fees (which include Public Liability insurance).
ACTION: Ensure copy of updated Certificate of Insurance is published on website.
*The BAA now only publishes their journal online and to one named individual, after some discussion it was agreed that a paper copy was needed and this would be requested from the Treasurer and added to the Library.
7. Meeting Secretary Report (Tim)
Thanks to all those members who have contributed to our meetings. This is appreciated by presenters, and demonstrates the breadth of enthusiasm within the club in its 61st year (Tim’s 50 years since joining in 1968!)
Sept-1st: Martin Dyer – Search for gravitational waves and their optical counterparts (Ph. D).
Oct 6th: Solar Eclipse reports from members: David M, Robin O and Dave H – the eclipse of the decade, and an eclipse wiki from Jim House. I gave a short talk on the Triton Staller Occultation observed well across Europe.
Nov 3rd: Our first guest Speaker was Mr Callum Potter the BAA Deepsky section Director and President elect.
Second half, Tony Taylor (member) gave an historical account of the Shirburn Astronomers
Jan 2018 – Our usual Telescope work shop and equipment display. There were some good exhibits of interesting optical configurations and telescope drives – I great hands-on meeting.
Feb 2018 - Peter Hainswoth described the dark skies as seen from the Isle of Wight, Dave Hayes on the features of a low power binocular, and Andy Tate on aspects of Gravity.
March: Dr John Rogers BAA Jupiter Section Director gave us a brilliant account of the Juno mission and what it has discovered, and Aditya Rudrapatna gave his account of the spectroscopy experiment undertaken for his Baccalaureate, his conclusions and submission to examiners.
April: Berkshire Astronomers was the theme from our historian and member: Kenelm England FRAS
May: Tim H gave a talk on Video astronomy with examples. This was followed by member Pete Opacic on his amazing Aurora encounter from Norway. Steve B then explained what was involved in re-discovering and clearing the grave of William Lassell FRS, in conjunction with St Luke’s Church and the resulting local publicity.
Notes of each meeting are available on the MAS web site.
Last but not least: Special thanks to our projectionist and web page manager Steve, to Alun for the monthly ‘What’s Up’, and to Percy for practical observing evenings - and everyone who contributed to meetings and events.
8. PR (publicity) Report
The Chair introduced this item by advising that Kristina was resigning from this role due to other commitments in the coming year (not least her forthcoming marriage) which was applauded by the members.
Events have been promoted through contact with schools and other contacts via email, Facebook, Twitter. The Chair commented that attendance at the Stargazing event in April was evidence of the effectiveness of this campaign.
As previously mentioned contact was made the Maidenhead Advertiser leading to their attendance at the MADAC and Lassells activities.
Astronomy Now featured an article about the April event and this was circulated via twitter, email etc.
Using Facebook, links to MADAC, Enjoy Maidenhead, emails and schools bulletins have helped to increase the profile of the society and there has been a marked increase in the number of followers in the last year with an average of 100 likes for each post which increased up to 1000 for special events.
The Chair reminded members that they can access the Members Only area of the MAS website where there is a lot of additional information and documents that have been added I the last year partly as a result of input from Kristina.
9. Outreach Report (Fred & Steve)
The Team attended events at 2 schools, 3 Beaver and 2 Brownie Groups (who attend to earn their Stargazer Badges). Attendance was approximately 20 for most events, but the Wycombe Abbey one was nearer to 60.
MADAC – the event at the Library was planned to include setting up and demonstrating the Solar scope outside, but the weather was too bad to be able to do this. However the team was able to set up a large display and some demonstration equipment inside the building.
10. Election of Officers
Full information on Memnbers site)
Note. Publicity Officer.
The Chair thanked Kristina for all her hard work and efforts which have increased the amount of publicity MAS has received in the last year generated interest in the Society and the increased attendance and interest generated. With no willing nominations, it was decided that the Publicity role will be split:
Social Media will be looked after by Guy, Local Media and circulation of information will be looked after by Susan and Lesley with support from committee and members. Kristina will share her contact list and links to other groups with Guy, Susan and Lesley.
11. Voluntary Roles
These are no specific roles to report or discuss but the committee will request volunteers to support events and activities throughout the year.
Steve has been looking at the possibility of providing MAS ‘branded’ fleeces for the permanent members of the outreach team to help them be more easily identifiable at events and to present a more professional look. A design has been drafted and agreed by the committee. The proposal is to provide these free of charge (at MAS expense) to this small group but the committee felt that this was something other members might wish to have if they can be sourced at an affordable price.
Initial quotes obtained by Steve were around £50 each, members felt this was expensive. Guy advised that he thought they could be obtained considerably cheaper and he agreed to pass on a contact he uses to Steve to obtain a better quote.
The Chair asked if members had any objections to the Outreach Team being provided with fleeces – none were raised and it is therefore agreed that the five permanent members of that team would be provided with these once a reasonably priced supplier can be found.
ACTION: Guy/Steve to coordinate approaching known supplier for pricing
It was also asked whether T-shirts/Polo Shirts could be made available for members and there was some interest in this. It was agreed that once a supplier was identified pricing obtained this will be brought to a future meeting for discussion.
12.2 Possible site for a MAS Observatory – this was raised at the AGM last year. Suggestions included White Waltham, Berkshire College of Agriculture, and local Schools.
This would be a costly project and some sponsorship would need to be sought to help fund this. It was also unclear whether the demand for this would justify the costs.
Tim indicated that a 3.5m dome would cost in the region of £8000, additional cost would include a base or building to house this, a telescope to be permanently installed and security/caretaker costs.
It was agreed that Matt would prepare a feasibility report to bring to a future meeting.
12.3 Email Issues
Guy advised that he still only receives about 1 in 5 emails from MAS but does receive responses and email trails to messages has not seen in the first place !
Some members also advised that mail from other MAS members often went into their Trash rather than their Inbox.
Fred advised that he was aware of some issues regarding mailing listing and clarified that there are several lists:
· Committee – but asked members to note that all committee members are include in the above list so there is no need to include both these groups when sending to all
· Friends – these are former members, visitors and people who have expressed an interest in MAS at events. However this list will require review in line with the new Data Protection Regulations.
The reason some messages go into Trash is likely to be due to the recipient’s individual settings.
ACTION: Fred to review and amend email rules and issue guidance to members to ensure that MAS is in the ‘approved’ list.
Any messages regarding moderation or blocked emails should be referred to Fred:
Members were reminded to be careful not to use ‘reply all’ unless this is relevant or required as this creates large volumes of unnecessary email.
12.4 Asset Register
This is an ongoing project which has been focused on ensuring all optical equipment that is the property of MAS is recorded and tracked; it was asked whether other assets should be recorded in the same way (mounts, projectors, banners, tables etc.). It was agreed this should be recorded but the initial project was to register the higher value assets and publish details of these to members so that they can request the loan of items when they are not in use for events or other activities.
Guy is still not sure that the equipment list is complete and it was agreed the information he does have will be circulated to the committee and considered for discussion at a future meeting.
As Outreach lead Steve holds the majority of the smaller equipment and kit and agreed that he would prepare a list of what he has to bring to the meeting in September for review/discussion.
12.5 Photo Competition
The entries for the competition were good quality but some categories got few entries, the Chair asked members to think about the categories for the 2018/19 competition and send any suggestions to her.
This part of the meeting closed at 20:55
The Chair closed the meeting with thanks to everyone for their attendance and contributions to the meeting and MAS activities throughout the year and wished all a good summer.
Minute taker: Lesley M
Minutes approved by: Andy T
Seconded by: Tim H
Photo Compitition prizes
Prizes awarded for the best photos submitted in the various categories of the MAS Photo Competition as chosen by our external judge.
Whats Up Download Alun's notes, delivered at the meeting (PDF)
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 10:37.
(+) 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)
(+) 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 - (Roger Dymock)
(+) 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 - (Owen Brazell)
(+) 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 - (Dr Paul Roche and Sarah Roberts)
(+) 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 Brazell)
(+) 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