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 :
(+) 2 Sep 2022 InfraRed Astronomy - (Dr Eric Dunford)
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 :-) )
(+) 10 Jun 2022 MAS 65th AGM - (NOTE 2nd Friday)
(+) 6 May 2022 Gravitational Waves - (Joshua Pooley)
(+) 1 Apr 2022 Saturn - (Michael Foulkes)
(+) 4 Mar 2022 Update on the Exploration of Mars - (Jim House)
(+) 4 Feb 2022 What Astronomy Tells Us About The Origins of Life On Earth ? - (James Hough)
(+) 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)
Friday, 3rd May 2019 - 13 Journeys in Space and Time - Colin Stuart FRAS – Author, writer and speaker. You can find books by the author on Amazon. You can sign up to Colin's' weekly Newsletter here.
13 Journeys in Space and Time by Colin Stuart.
Colin had been invited to prepare a book based on the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Of course he could not cover every lecture since the first, which was by Michael Faraday in 1825, so he selected the 13 that were most related to astronomy, or time ans space (his book can be found on Amazon).
To write the book he had to research the lectures. Only the relatively recent lectures were available on video or film. For older ones he had to reply on newspaper reports and the lecturers own notes. He told us about some of the interesting things he discovered during this research.
Lectures researched included the 1885 by Dewer, which was researched using his still radioactive notebook ! Another notebook he checked was that of James Jean, where a hand drawn sketch of the Great Bear with star notations, indicating the position of the double and eclipsing binary was found on the rear of one page. The Robert S Ball lecture of 1881 covered the previous 1874 and coming 1882 Transit of Venus along with some speculations on the then recent discovery of canals on Mars !
A lecture in 1913 by Herbert Hall Turner covered comets, which Turner suggested could be responsible for Sun Spots ! A stream of comets in orbit around the Sun to as far out as Saturn would give just the right period for the observed sun spot cycle. Around this time, astronomers discovering a new comet - or nova - and wanting to communicate it's position to others came up with a clever system. The problem was that the telegraph operators at each end, unused to numeric co-ordinates would often garble the position. Of course they could communicate by letter, however international mail could take weeks. The clever system they came up with was for them all to have an identical dictionary. To send a co-ordinate, for example RA 6h 15m, you would turn to page 6 and find the 15th definition and send that one word !
The Sir James Jeans lecture of 1933 featured a talk on the possibility of life on other planets and a girl with her head painted up in 'glow in the dark' chemicals, including her teeth !
The 1944 lecture, by Sir Harold Spencer Jones on Astronomy in our everyday lives, was one of the first to be filmed. We were treated to a short clip from Pathe news. As we approach the present day, the props and demonstrations became more complex and elaborate. Perhaps one of the most impressive was the 1970 lecture by Sir George Porter that required a complete window frame be removed to allow the delivery of a prototype time machine !
Of course the one that everyone has heard of was the Carl Sagan lecture of 1977 on The Planets. In it he mentioned how Hall was inspired to look for the moons of Mars by the story of Gulliver's Travels where it is mentioned in passing that Mars had two Moons. These days the conspiracy theorists would have a field day, however in the days when it was known that Earth had 1 moon, Jupiter 4, the 'obvious' sequence was 1,2,4 so Mars must have 2 ! A nice clip of Carl hosting tea time on Mars was shown, although in 1977 it must already have been known that Mars lacked any significant atmosphere (so the water should have been boiling in the cups :-) ).
Sagan is, of course, famous for his book Cosmos, and also his TV series of the same name, which can be found 5 DVD set on Amazon for a only £13 !
The 3 final lectures mentioned were 1993 Frank Chase, The Cosmic Onion which covered the realm from atom to quarks, Monica Grady 2003 A voyage in time and space, and finally 2015 Kevin Fong How to survive in space. Of course all the later lectures were recorded and some can even by found on YouTube !
After the break
Latest images - Peter
Peter has previously shown us images taken with a small refractor on the 80mm objective class, using a Sony alpha Nex-6 (a Compact System Camera), without it's lens, in prime focus mode. However he decided to get out his C11 SCT and give that an outing.
The first thing he discovered is that C11 focal length of f10 means that photographing the Moon requires a mosaic of 7 separate images. However, the C11 allows the convex secondary mirror to be removed and the camera put in it's place.
This significantly reduces the focal length., allowing him to image the Moon in a single shot. It also means that the f10 telescope becomes an f2 (hence the name 'Faststar') using the 'Hyperstar' adaptor ! This significantly reduces the exposure time, reducing a 12 minute expose to 30 seconds. This has many advantages, not least of which are reducing tracking errors, thermal noise and light pollution.
Peter was thus able to obtain good results even without taking calibration frames.
What's Up - Alun Can be downloaded from here (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 10:38.
(+) 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)
(+) 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