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,
Clanfield
Waterlooville
Hampshire
PO8 0RB

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

All talks start at 7:45pm unless otherwise stated

Friday, 12th February 2021

Meteorite: The Stones From Outer Space That Made Our World

A talk by Dr Tim Gregory

Cost: No charge for members or non-members

Meteorites are celestial stones that make landfall upon the Earth. They reveal the secrets of how our Solar System and the planets formed, allow us to delve into the interior of long-dead stars, and give us hints about the origin of life on Earth.

Due to Covid restrictions, this talk will be held via Zoom - if you want to attend, please email lindy.bryant@hantsastro.org.uk for your ZOOM link and "doors" will open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.

Dr Tim Gregory is a planetary geologist. His cosmochemistry research focuses on the geology of the early Solar System. After completing his PhD at the University of Bristol in 2019, he took up a research scientist post at the British Geological Survey in Nottingham.

Cosmochemistry combines two of his great loves in life: rocks and space. He researches the timing of events during the formation of our Solar System over 4.5 billion years ago by studying the oldest rocks we know of — meteorites.

Tim surpassed thousands of applicants for a place in the six-part BBC2 series Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, where he was put through the full rigours of astronaut selection and reached the final three.

Friday, 12th March 2021

The Dangers of Forecasting the Solar Cycle

A talk by Dr Keith Strong

Cost: No charge for members or non-members for a Zoom meeting

Solar Cycle 24 (SC24) was a relatively weak cycle that has prompted many to forecast that Solar Cycle 25 (SC25) will be weaker or nonexistent. We hear predictions of a new Grand Solar Minimum like the Maunder Minimum. Some people go further, pointing to the cold weather we had back in the 17th Century, claiming we will therefore plunge into another prolonged cooling of the Earth’s climate - a new Little Ice Age.

This talk will look at these predictions critically. Is SC25 likely to be weaker or stronger than SC24? Are we headed for a new Maunder Minimum? If SC25 is weaker or absent, how much will that affect our climate?

We will look at the 400-year myth, the predictions of Zharkova and NASA/NOAA. Is there a link between solar activity levels and Earth’s climate? How strong is that linkage? How good have past attempts been at predicting the solar cycle? Are other planets suffering similar climate trends, as you would expect if the Sun is responsible?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FIGURE 1
: What a difference a year makes. The Sun seen in EUV (171A) from SDO. Left: The Sun near solar minimum conditions, with no active regions. Right: The Sun exactly 1 year later. Note there are five major regions in the Southern Hemisphere but only one small, weak region in the North. Is that significant?

The solar minimum between SC24 and SC25 has been officially set as December 2019. The increase in solar activity since then was initially slow but has picked up its pace recently. How does that help us to forecast the intensity and timing of SC 25? However, “past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future trends” as all investment brokers will tell you just after they have taken your money. The Sun certainly has made fools of those that try to forecast its activity levels. So, what is my forecast? Your guess is probably as good as mine!

To look at Dr Keith Strong's Monthly Reports Click Here 
To look at Dr Keith Strong's Daily Reports:  Click Here    

Due to Covid restrictions, this talk will be held via Zoom - if you want to attend, please email

lindy.bryant@hantsastro.org.uk 

for your ZOOM link and "doors" will open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.

Friday, 9th April 2021

Great Comets and Great disappointments

A talk by Nick James

Cost: No charge for members or non-members for a Zoom meeting

Due to Covid restrictions, this talk will be held via Zoom - if you want to attend, please email

lindy.bryant@hantsastro.org.uk 

for your ZOOM link and "doors" will open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.

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 (https://www.britastro.org/section_front/10).

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. 

 

Friday, 14th May 2021

You can almost touch the stars

A talk by Tom Field

Cost: No charge for members or non-members for a Zoom meeting

Even if you wanted to touch a star, they’re all impossibly distant. Despite these great distances, astronomers have learned an enormous amount about stars. How? The most common method to study the stars is called spectroscopy, which is the science of analyzing the colorful rainbow spectrum produced by a prism-like device.
Until recently, spectroscopy was too expensive and too complicated for all but a handful of amateurs. Today, though, new tools make spectroscopy accessible to almost all of us. You no longer need a PhD, dark skies, long exposures, enormous aperture … or a big budget! With your current telescope and FITS camera (or a simple web cam or even a DSLR without a telescope) you can now easily study the stars yourself. Wouldn’t you like to detect the atmosphere on Neptune or the red shift of a quasar right from your own backyard?!
This talk, with lots of interesting examples, will show you what it’s all about and help you understand how spectroscopy is used in research. Even if you are an armchair astronomer, understanding this field will enhance your understanding of the things your read and the night sky. We’ll do a live Q&A after Tom’s 45-minute presentation.

Due to Covid restrictions, this talk will be held via Zoom - if you want to attend, please email lindy.bryant@hantsastro.org.uk for your ZOOM link and "doors" will open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.

Tom Field has been a Contributing Editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine for the past 7 years. He is the author of the RSpec software (www.rspec-astro.com) which received the S&T “Hot Product” award in 2011. Tom is a popular speaker who has spoken to hundreds of clubs via the web and in-person at many conferences, including NEAF, the NEAF Imaging Conference, the Winter Star Party, the Advanced Imaging Conference, and others.

Friday, 10th December 2021

Science of Santa

A talk by Dr Steve Barrett

Cost: No charge for members or non-members for a Zoom meeting

A short tongue-in-cheek 'stocking-filler' talk for the festive season. Is Santa Claus real? Can the myth be reconciled with scientific reasoning?

Our speaker tonight, on a return visit, is Dr Steve Barrett who is a Senior Researcch Fellow in the Department of Physics of Liverpool University, where his research interests span all aspects of imaging, image processing and image analysis. This includes medical imaging (biophysics), scanning probe microscopy of atoms, molecules and surfaces (nanophysics), microscopy of earth materials (geophysics) and astrophotography.

Dr Steve MAY be unable to travel to us and, if this is the case, this talk will be held via Zoom - if you want to attend, please email

lindy.bryant@hantsastro.org.uk 

for your ZOOM link and "doors" will open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.

Friday, 14th January 2022

Time in Einstein's Universe

A talk by Colin Stuart

Cost: No charge for members or non-members for a Zoom meeting

Due to Covid restrictions, this talk may be held via Zoom - changes to that status will be confirmed here

if you want to attend, please email

lindy.bryant@hantsastro.org.uk 

for your ZOOM link and "doors" will open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.