Public Talks

Monthly Talks on Astronomical Topics of Interest

Monthly Public Talks

Our popular monthly talks are for members and the public to learn about some aspects of astronomy. These talks are aimed at ‘middle of the road’ level so the talk will appeal to members of the public with no prior knowledge, newcomers as well as those who have been interested in the subject for a number of years.

Topics from imaging the night sky, through to Cosmology, we invite speakers from all over the UK and the World.

We make a small charge on the door of £3.00 to cover our expenses. Unless otherwise stated, there is no need to book, simply turn up on the evening.

Our local venue:

Clanfield Memorial Hall,
South Lane,

If you wish to view this location on MultiMap please click here

All talks start at 7:45pm unless otherwise stated

Friday, 14th June 2019

Ten Ways the Universe Tries to Kill You

A talk by Stephen Tonkin FRAS

Cost: £3 for non-members

From gamma-ray bursts to asteroid impacts, an overview of cataclysmic events. This light-hearted but scientifically robust approach incorporates a lot of fundamental cosmological processes, from stellar evolution to galactic interaction. It is appropriate for both beginning and intermediate amateur astronomers.

Image Credit: NASA

Friday, 12th July 2019

Asteroids - A Waste of Space?

A talk by Professor Malcolm Coe

Cost: £3 for non-members

Abstract: Asteroids are becoming increasingly of great interest to us. Over many years we have become aware of the great potential threat they represent to the Earth, with the scars of their impacts littering our planet. But now we are beginning also to look at them in a more positive light as we start to think about asteroids as a future resource for both our planet and space travel. This talk will focus on the latter aspect, starting off with a review of the nature of these objects. Where do we find them, what are they made of and then, what do we want to get from them? It will finish with a few thoughts on the looming legal battles as to who exactly has the right to mine these objects - all of us, or just those who get there first?

 The Lecturer: Malcolm Coe is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Southampton. His research normally focuses on the life cycles of stars in different types of galaxies, a topic on which he has published over 200 papers. But in 2017 he was honoured by having an asteroid the size of the Isle of Wight named after himself - 9015 Coe. This had led to a new international collaboration with astronomers in the USA to start thinking seriously about the approaches one could use to identify commercially interesting asteroids. For more information on Malcolm Coe visit his website:

Image Credit: NASA / Public Domain


Friday, 11th October 2019

Wonders of the Universe: A TripAdvisor Top 10

A talk by Professor Brad Gibson

Cost: £3 for non-members

The Ray Bootland Memorial Lecture

The Universe never ceases to amaze… over the course of an hour, we’ll wander through the darkest (and brightest!) recesses of the cosmos, stopping for visits at the most jaw-dropping sites imaginable.  Rather than re-visit the popular tourist destinations, we’ll go off the beaten path, and focus our travels on some of the lesser-known wonders of the Universe.  Join us for a rollicking adventure, led by your tour guide, Professor Brad Gibson, Director of the University of Hull’s E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, delivering this year's Ray Bootland Memorial Lecture.

Professor Gibson joined the University of Hull in 2015 and established the E.A Milne Centre for Astrophysics. One of the country's most influential scientists, his 300 publications have amassed 20,000 citations from his peers. His research was named a Top 10 News Story of the year by National Geographic; with the Hubble Space Telescope, he determined the expansion rate of the Universe, for which his team was awarded the Gruber Prize in Cosmology. Brad discovered that our Milky Way is cannibalising its neighbours, the Magellanic Clouds. A world-renowned expert in using supercomputers to model the distribution of chemical elements throughout the Universe, Gibson's team are Hull's research stars.

Friday, 8th November 2019

The Consequences of Contact with ET

A talk by Martin Griffiths

Cost: £3 for non-members

We have been searching deliberately for extraterrestrial signals since the 1960’s. Although so much thought, effort and technology has been invested in the search for ETI, little consideration has been given to the consequences of such contact and how discovering that we are not alone in the universe will affect our society and culture here on Earth. This talk will cover some of the most important aspects of our human response to finding life elsewhere in the cosmos.

Our speaker tonight, Martin Griffiths, was a founder member of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute Science Communication Group, active between 2003-2006 and managed a multi-million pound ESF programme in Astrobiology for adult learners between 2003-2008. He has been an adviser to several museum projects on the interface between science and science fiction, including exhibitions on the science of Star Trek and the Science of Aliens.

Martin is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society; a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; a member of the British Astronomical Association; the Webb Deep-Sky Society; the Society for Popular Astronomy, The Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the Astronomical League. He is also a local representative for the BAA Commission for Dark Skies.

Friday, 10th January 2020

ExoMars Rover Mission

A talk by John Chinner & Yuri

Cost: £3 for non-members

ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars)  is a two-part astrobiology project to search for evidence of life on Mars, a joint mission of the European Space Agency(ESA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Tonight's speaker, John Chinner, works for Airbus and will introduce us to a scale model of the Rover, called Yuri (seen at Stargazing Live 2019 in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard).

Image Credit:ESA

Friday, 14th February 2020

Rebel Star: The Sun's Greatest Mysteries

A talk by Colin Stuart

Cost: £3 for non-members

This talk is new from October 2019, so we have an early chance to hear Colin Stuart

Friday, 8th May 2020


A talk by Nick James

Cost: £3 for non-members

Nick is the Director of the Comet Section of the BAA (

More details of Nick's talk will be added here later.