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, 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, 13th December 2019

X-ray binaries, Cataclysmic variables and other Stellar Cannibals

A talk by Dr Nick Higginbottom

Cost: £3 for non-members

The night sky - a beautiful, calming vista of eternal stars. Or is it? Many stars in the night sky are binaries - endlessly orbiting each other in a ballet of Newtonian perfection. But what happens when one of those stars reaches the end of its life? This is the story of Stellar Cannibals, when once benign companions turn into rapacious killers. We will be looking at the amazing observations that have revealed these chaotic systems and see how objects in our own back garden can tell us about the processes that drive the most luminous objects in the universe.

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, 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, 15th May 2020


A talk by Nick James

Cost: £3 for non-members

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


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

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

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.