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, 13th December 2019

ExoMars Rover Mission

A talk by John Chinner & Yuri

Cost: £3 for non-members

In a change of date, due to illness of one of our speakers, we will now hear about the ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) 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).

After being asked if the talk was suitable for a 10 year old, John has said that he would encourage even more 10 year olds to come along - so kids, bring mum & dad!!

Image Credit:ESA

Friday, 10th January 2020

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, 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, 13th March 2020

The Antikythera Mechanism

A talk by John Lancashire

Cost: £3 for non-members

In 1901, a group of Greek sponge divers retrieved this device, an ancient Greek analogue computer, from a wreck just off the island of Antikythera. John will speak about this .

More details TBA

Friday, 17th April 2020

Manufacturing of Launchers, Spacecraft and Satellites - How materials survive in Space

A talk by Andrew Norman

Cost: £3 for non-members

Our speaker tonight, Andrew Norman, is coming to us from ESA!!

Details of his talk will be updated when he gets back from the US in early March - he's there in February to see the launch of ESA's Solar Orbiter (lucky guy!)

Picture Credit : ESA

Friday, 15th May 2020

Great Comets and Great disappointments

A talk by Nick James

Cost: £3 for non-members

Comets are occasional ghostly visitors to our skies and they hold the key to our understanding of the conditions in the early Solar System. They are fascinating objects to observe but their behaviour is very difficult to predict. The very best comets can be spectacular. This talk will cover what makes a comet "Great" and give some examples through history.

Nick will also cover those cases where comets have not lived up to their early hype and explain why disappointment is more common these days than it was.

 Nick has been interested in astronomy for as long as he can remember, certainly since the age of 8. He has been a member of the British Astronomical Association since he was 12 and is now the Director of its Comet Section (

Nick is also Assistant Editor of The Astronomer Magazine.
He has written many articles for magazines and books, and co-authored "Observing Comets" which was published in 2003 as part of Sir Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy series.

Professionally, Nick is an engineer in the space industry, leading a team responsible for implementing highly sensitive and accurate systems for receiving and processing signals from deep-space spacecraft. He is also a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador and is keen to encourage more young people to consider science and
engineering as a career.

All of this keeps him pretty busy but he still finds time to travel extensively to see astronomical phenomena. He is an eclipse chaser, having seen 14 total solar eclipses and has travelled to see the Northern Lights, comets and other interesting objects under dark skies. 

PLEASE NOTE: This talk will be on the THIRD FRIDAY in May, to avoid the Bank Holiday.


Friday, 12th June 2020

TBA: HOYS-CAPS / Star Formation

A talk by Dr Dirk Froebrich

Cost: £3 for non-members

A repeat visit from Dirk Froebrich (last here in May, 2016), giving us an update on his work.

More details of this talk will be added later.