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, 11th December 2020

The Antikythera Mechanism

A talk by John Lancashire

Cost: No charge for members or non-members

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

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

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.


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 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, 9th April 2021

Great Comets and Great disappointments

A talk by Nick James

Cost: £3 for non-members

We are hoping that this rescheduled date will see us back in Clanfield Memorial Hall. Watch this space for updates!

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.