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    Astronomers of the Future Club

 

Astronomers of the Future Club  (AOTF Club) is an Astronomy Club, held in Troon, overseen by Astro Cosmic Terran Assocation SCIO (ACTA SCIO is a registered charity numbered SC042560) and is run by a local committee.

 

Its main aim is to bring together people of all ages who are interested in learning about Astronomy and Space through talks/lectures and events.

 

Our Blog can be found at:  http://www.actascio.org/blog.asp

 

The next meeting will be on:

Date:  Thursday, 31st August (last Thursday of every month)

Time:  7.15pm to 9pm

Entry fee:  A small fee of £2.00

Location:  R.S.A.S Barassie Works, 4  Shore Road, Troon, South Ayrshire, KA10 6AG

 

On the night there will be:

 

Mr. Marc Charron who will speaking on 'Astral Photograhy with Camera & Tripod'.

 

For further details please contact  Gerry Cassidy  (Chairman of ACTA SCIO) on 01292 268671

 

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Speakers:

 

July 2015 - Duncan Lunan - Talking about Pluto

Since the discovery of Pluto in 1930, almost everything about it has remained a mystery – even its size was uncertain until the 1980s, and its orbit and rotation were unlike any other planet's.   When its satellite Charon was discovered in 1978 that only added to the puzzles, because they were unlike any other planet-satellite pair.   Their origin is as mysterious as everything else, and even the Hubble telescope could make out only faint markings on them.   But by the end of July everything may have changed:  the Pluto mission which has been on and off since the 1980s was finally launched in 2006, and on July 14th the New Horizons spacecraft will fly between Pluto and the five moons it's now known to have.   If all goes well, the images will be sharp enough to show features the size of New York's Central Park.   But will the spacecraft survive to send them back?   Don't miss the next thrilling instalment

 

August  2015 - Alan and Sandi Cayless (Stirling Astronomical Society) speaking about The Sun - Our nearest Star.

The Sun is our nearest star and is far more than a flaming ball of gas.  Using the latest high-resolution images the talk will explore the active surface and inner workings of the Sun, look at the phenomenon of space weather and explain our Sun's relationship with the billions of other stars in our galaxy.

About the speaker:

Alan Cayless is a member and former chairman of Stirling Astronomical Society, with interests including outreach and astrophotography.  Alan also teaches physics and astronomy with the Open University.

 

September  2015 - Duncan Lunan (Chairman of ACTA SCIO) will be talking about 'Planets of Other Stars'.

For a substantial part of the 20th century most astronomers believed that our Solar System had been formed by a close encounter between our Sun and another star – so rare an event that it might happen only once in the entire history of the Milky Way galaxy.   Science fiction authors simply ignored that and imagined planets all over the Milky Way, and they have turned out to be right.   Even when theories about planetary formation changed in the 1950s, it was still possible that it rarely happened.   It seemed that planets of other stars had been found in the 1960s, but that was proved wrong in the 70s.   In the 1980s it became possible to detect 'protoplanetary discs' around very young stars, which improved the odds, but it wasn't until 1992 that the first planets were detected orbiting a pulsar, and 1995 when the first ones were discovered orbiting normal stars.   Now, so many have been detected that it seems possible that all stars like the Sun have planets.   No planet exactly like the Earth has yet been detected, but more and more worlds with similarities to Earth are being found, so finding 'Earth's twin' is probably just a matter of time -  and there's increasing evidence that life-supporting worlds could exist around fainter stars, which are even more common.  

 

October 2015 - Duncan Lunan

On October 29th the substitute talk will be on the detailed new plans for human missions to Mars, which have been announced by NASA following the release of The Martian.   As with the Pluto talk just recently, the subject is highly topical and the situation is changing by the day!

 

November 2015 - Stuart McIntyre, Director of the Prestwick Spaceport Consortium.

 The suggestion that Prestwick Airport would be an ideal landing site for sub-orbital or orbital vehicles dates back at least to the early 1960s, when a launch abort in NASA's Project Mercury could have brought the capsule down in the North Atlantic recovery area of the USAF Search & Rescue squadron based at Prestwick.   Stuart McIntyre's talk will explain why Prestwick is highly suitable for the next generation of winged space vehicles, and the opportunities that could generate for business and industry in and around the airport. 

 

January 2016 - Prof Massimiliano Vasile, Director of the Aerospace Centre of Excellence at the University of Strathclyde and the Director of the European Stardust programme.

 The title is: Asteroids and space debris: threat, opportunity or just stardust?

It is believed that sixty-five million years ago a comet wiped out the dinosaurs. In recent years, events like the Chelyabinsk meteor has clearly shown that the deflection of asteroids is far from being pure science fiction, and instead is becoming a necessity. At the same time, asteroids and comets represent an opportunity to know more about our solar system and to exploit their content of metals and water. On a different time and length scales, space debris represent an equally compelling but more urgent problem to solve before they can lead to a catastrophic loss of space assets and prevent future access to space.
Prof Massimiliano Vasile, Director of the Aerospace Centre of Excellence at the University of Strathclyde and the Director of the European Stardust programme, will talk about how to make access to space sustainable and how we might protect ourselves from future asteroid impacts and turn a threat in an opportunity.

 

February 2016 - Nick Martin of Ayr Astronomical Society

Nick Martin of Ayr Astronomical Society explains how photography can be used to explore the galaxy beyond Pluto, and the Universe beyond the Milky Way galaxy.

 

March 2016 - Duncan Lunan ACTA SCIO Chairman

Duncan will be talking about 'Gravitational Waves'.  

 

April 2016 - Dr Alan Cayless of Stirling Observatory

Dr Alan Cayless will be speaking about Meteorites and he hopes to bring samples from the collection of the Open University, where he is a tutor.

 

May 2016 - Prof. Colin McInnes of Glasgow University, an expert on space technology

Professor Colin McInnes'  topic will be 'The Search for Extraterrestrial Technology', a preview of the presentation he will give the following weekend at the Satellite 5 science fiction convention in Glasgow.   The topic was requested by AOTF members after the controversy earlier this year about 'Tabby's Star', KIC8462852, which appears to be eclipsed at unpredictable intervals as if there are very large objects, possibly artificial, in orbit around it.   A first suggestion that the effect might be due to clusters of comets seems to be ruled out by the failure to detect accompanying clouds of gases.   Still more strangely, the light from the star is now known to be have been decreasing for at least a century.   Prof. McInnes has promised that his talk will include an update on Tabby's Star and the latest thinking about it.

 

June 2016 - Robert Law of the Mills Observatory in Dundee

Robert will be talking about his recent visit to Kennedy Space Centre, including the new SpaceX launch and landing facilities, the new Space Shuttle museum and the memorial to the astronauts lost on the Challenger and the Columbia.

 

July 2016 - John Pressly, curator of the Coats Observatory

Tycho Brahe was the last of the great pre-telescope era astronomers. From revolutionising astronomical instrumentation to changing observational practice, Tycho's work helped lay the foundations of the modern era of astronomy. However, his scientific achievements are almost overshadowed by his somewhat colourful life, a story which includes kidnapping, duelling, strange pets and an even stranger demise. This talk takes a look at the life and times of Tycho Brahe, his astronomical work and the multitude of incidents which mark him as one of the most interesting characters to grace the stage of scientific advancement. 

 

August  2016 - Duncan Lunan talking about Sydney Jordan and his work.

On September 7th, 2016 at 7 p.m., Astronomers of the Future Club Chairman Duncan Lunan's collection of science fiction stories, featuring time travel by earth, water, air and fire, will be published as The Elements of Time on 7th September by Shoreline of Infinity. The launch will be at 7 p.m. as an evening of music and readings, part of Shoreline of Infinity's national series of 'Event Horizon' performance events. The book is illustrated by Sydney Jordan from Dundee, creator of the world's longest-running science fiction comic strip, which appeared as Jeff Hawke in the Daily Express and Lance McLane in the Daily Record, lasting over 34 years. Duncan Lunan contributed stories to the last ten years of the comic strips, and Sydney Jordan will be a special guest of the AOTF Club at the book launch.

 

In preparation for the September 7th event Duncan Lunan will give a talk about Sydney Jordan and his work at the August meeting of the AOTF Club, on Thursday August 25th, at the R.S.A.S. Barassie Works Club, 4 Shore Road, Troon, KA10 6AG, off West Portland Street. at 7 p.m..

 

Both events are free and all are welcome.

 

September 2016 - David Woods of the BBC talking about The Gemini Spacecraft: Prelude to Apollo

David Woods will present a wide-ranging discussion of the Gemini spacecraft, a largely forgotten craft that was nonetheless critical in giving NASA the experience they needed in space flight in order to reach the Moon on Apollo. Without Gemini, there would have been no Apollo.

David will bring four of his books for sale, which he will be happy to sign. These are:

How Apollo Flew to the Moon - £25
Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual - Lunar Rover - £22
Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual - Gemini - £23
Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual - Saturn V - £23

 

October 2016 - Daniel Williams, a researcher from the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow, will talk about the story and science of LIGO

14 September 2015 marked the dawn of a new age in astronomy, with the first ever detection of gravitational waves. This new discovery promises to provide an entirely new way of perceiving the universe. Daniel Williams, a researcher from the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow, will talk about the story and science of LIGO, the observatory which made the detection, and the role that Scottish physicists, astronomers, and engineers had in the event

 

November 2016 - Duncan Lunan

Duncan Lunan will be talking about the Winter Stars

 

December 2016 - AOTF Club Annual Xmas Party - Sunday, 11th December 2016 at the Maharani Restaurant in Troon.  All Welcome but please contact chairman Duncan Lunan on 01292 739 014 if you wish to join us.

 

January 2017 - David Warrington from the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

The Lunar X Prize is a competition, a new space race designed to inspire a new generation of interest in the Moon and spur on a new age of privately funded spaceflight. We'll look at the ideas behind the competition, what it takes to get to the Moon and some of the teams taking part to send a robotic lander to the surface of the Moon.

David Warrington studied astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire and is the Resident Astronomer at the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory (an astronomy education and visitor attraction in the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park)

 

February 2017 - Mark Toner from Shoreline of Infinity will be talking about "The Art of Space"

Mark Toner has been living a number of parallel lives, although it is unconfirmed whether some time travel device has been used.

One life took him through the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, and to the Mauna Kea Observatories in Hawai’i. In this life he was an astrophysicist and got to play with giant telescopes and orbiting observatories.

Another life had him teaching programming and desktop publishing in an ITeC in Dumfries before training as a maths teacher and teaching maths and physics in Dumfries and Galloway College of Technology.

Another life is being chronicled by bandmate Noel Chidwick and saw the extradimensional creation of prog band Painted Ocean currently touring a universe near you.

Work has tended to settle on the artist’s life which has seen Mark hijack his school newsletter and make it into a comic, join in the 80s independent comic revolution with the ‘Humphrey’ cartoons, and now making electronic comics at www.spacepilot.co.uk, including SF epics ‘Meanwhile’ and ‘Gail Scott: Space Pilot’ which is being reissued occasionally in Shoreline Of Infinity magazine. Mark’s original, drawn on paper, art is displayed in the Yellow Door gallery in Dumfries.

He now has a proper grown up art job as art director for Shoreline of Infinity magazine where he tries to encourage younger artists to take up the noble work of illustration

 

March 2017 - Natasha Jeffrey, researcher in solar flare astrophysics at the University of Glasgow

Solar flares and high energy observations of the Sun

Abstract:

The Sun is a magnetically active star and solar flares (large explosions in the Sun’s atmosphere) are a dramatic signature of this and a key area of space weather. The Sun radiates light across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, but high energy X-rays and gamma-rays are only observed during solar flares. In this talk, I will summarise solar flare observation and theory, and discuss how high energy observations with current and future space instrumentation play a vital role in understanding solar flares, and other far away and exotic objects in the Universe.

 

April 2017 - Prof. Kenneth A. Strain, FRSE Deputy Director of the Institute for Gravitational Research School of Physics and Astronomy

'Update on gravitational waves'.

 

May 2017 - Prof. James E. Faller, Fellow Adjoint of JILA (of CU and NIST), Adjunct Professor, University of Colorado, and Honorary Professor University of Glasgow will be talking about lunar laser ranging experiments.

Professor James E. Faller is a semi-retired physicist from JILA and the Univ. of Colorado and have a Glasgow/IGR appointment as 'Honorary Professor.' he more or less 'invented' the idea of the lunar laser ranging experiment [NASA placed on the moon corner cube arrays during the Apollo missions (11,14, and 15) that are still being regularly ranged to now measuring the Earth-Moon distance to a few millimeters.] Incidentally, its not the distance that is important but rather the systematic changes with time of this distance that contains all of the science.

James Faller says  "I will tell you about the scientific adventure that is called Lunar Laser Ranging, and which has been described as “NASA’s most cost effective experiment” and “the near-complete relativistic gravity
experiment.”  ‘Good luck’, as you will learn, played a critical role in this experiment as it was not approved as an Apollo 11 experiment until the last possible moment.

My presentation will be understandable to and enjoyable by scientists and lay persons at all ages.  During the talk, everyone in the audience will be given the opportunity to ‘range’ to an Apollo 11 retro-reflector (one that I’ll bring with me; not one of the reflectors that is presently sitting on the Moon).   In the talk, I will try to answer every thinking person’s question, “How do ideas come about.”  I will also talk about how Lunar Laser Ranging tested and showed for the first time that gravitational energy falls at the same rate as do rocks and stones and all other forms of matter and energy (Einstein’s postulated strong principle of equivalence).

In order that each of you has something to carry away from and perhaps even think about after my talk, I will briefly bring up some related ideas that I have written about e.g. ‘Telescopes and the forces that mold them,’ ‘Scientific personalities...scientists do want to be loved and respected,’ and ‘Nature never deals off of the
bottom of the deck...but she holds all of the aces.’

Jim Faller
Fellow Adjoint of JILA, Professor Adjunct of Physics at the University of
Colorado, and Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow"

 

June 2017 - John Pressly from Coats Observatory

"William Herschel - Royal Astronomer, telescope maker, discoverer of new worlds. These are all epithets that can be placed at the feet of Herschel with great ease. Yet he led quite a chequered life, having a variety of careers before astronomy claimed him as one of its own. This talk will look at the life and times of William Herschel, highlight some of his more important discoveries and examine the impact he has had on the science of astronomy." 

 

July 2017 - Dr. Alexander McKinnon, “Stars: giants and dwarfs, red and blue”

Abstract: Stars are enormous bodies on a human scale, but so far away that all but a handful remain points of light, even in the biggest telescopes. Despite this we have been able to learn a lot about them. A lot of this knowledge is summed up in the famous Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram. We will discuss how we know about stars, draw our own HR Diagram and look at some famous examples of giants, dwarfs etc.

 

August 2017 - Launch Event

Launch of Issue No 4 of "Space and Scotland" magazine featuring the Preswtick Spaceport, before the Scottish Airshow, 1st to 3rd September.  Joint event with "Shoreline of Infinity" magazine.

 

September 2017 - Marion McNeill from Inverclyde Sky Watchers Astronomy Group

ICELAND AND THE AURORA BOREALIS - A presentation on Iceland, the Tectonic Plates and the Aurora Borealis. When we gaze at the sky, what are we looking for? What are we forgetting?

Educated in Islay and Glasgow, Marion McNeill pursued a career in banking and subsequently moved into the education of children with special needs until her retirement in 2012. 

Marion then turned to one of her great passions, Astronomy, and founded Inverclyde Sky Watchers Astronomy Group (www.isw.space) in the spring of 2015.

Marion, along with co-founder, Margaret Lees, organises their diary of events, books many distinguished guest speakers, organises trips and star parties. Marion and Margaret have also successfully run children's summer astro workshops, worked with and tested Beavers on their Astronomy Badges and have organised two Astro Exhibitions to date.

 

 

 

 

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Speakers for 2014/2015 - funded by Awards for All Scotland

 

July 2014            - Duncan Lunan speaking about the Autumn Stars

 

August 2014        - John Pressly (Coats Observatory) speaking about the 'Scottish Astronomy: A Historical Perspective'  - looks at the contribution Scotland has made to the science of astronomy from the mid 17th century to the present day. Many pioneers of astronomy came from Scotland, some spread the science to other parts of the world, and today our universities are at the forefront of astronomical discovery. This talk takes a brief look at some of the Scottish people that have contributed in their own way to the discipline of astronomy over the years, and gives an insight into the extent that our nation has helped to shape this branch of science into that which exists today.

Some bio stuff - I have been the Observatory Officer at Coats Observatory for the last 9 years, which is a bit of a dream job as I have had an  interested in astronomy from a young age, which can be traced back to seeing Star Wars at the cinema when it first came out. I was 6 years old and the resulting Star Wars obsession led to the purchase of a book called 'The Stars Wars Question and Answer Book About Space', a children's astronomy book covering most of the basic astronomy concepts interspersed with drawings of R2D2 and C3PO. My academic background though is in archaeology and most of my working life has been in museums - it was through this that the Coats Observatory job came up. My role now entails looking after the observatory and its collection of Victorian scientific apparatus, conducting research for exhibition and talks and running our public viewing nights throughout the winter, amongst a load of other non-astronomy related stuff which has to happen as well to keep the place ticking over!


 

September 2014   - Alan and Sandi Cayless (Stirling Astronomical Society) speaking about The Sun - Our nearest Star.

The Sun is our nearest star and is far more than a flaming ball of gas.  Using the latest high-resolution images the talk will explore the active surface and inner workings of the Sun, look at the phenomenon of space weather and explain our Sun's relationship with the billions of other stars in our galaxy.

About the speaker:

Alan Cayless is a member and former chairman of Stirling Astronomical Society, with interests including outreach and astrophotography.  Alan also teaches physics and astronomy with the Open University.

 

October 2014       - Euan MacKie speaking about The nature of British Neolithic Society:  is a revolution approaching?

             Years of accurate surveys in the 1960s and 1970s by Alexander Thom  of standing stones and stone circles suggested that in the fourth millennium BC Britain’s Neolithic population possessed advanced skills in observational astronomy, geometry and measuring.  However there were no traces of this in traditional archaeological evidence and this caused a problem.   Another was that the data that Thom collected  was hard for the profession to understand.    Thus his work was increasingly ignored, helped by  Clive Ruggles who claimed to highlight its fundamental flaws.    Today it is rarely mentioned, although a general interest in astronomy in ancient times is accepted.

             Yet  archaeological tests in the scientific manner have been carried out on Thom’s ideas and have proved positive.    The implications are profound;    a  professional priesthood existed in Britain in the third millennium BC, and perhaps in other parts of Europe too.     Its advanced knowledge is geared to the latitude and terrain of the British Isles and is unlikely to have come from Egypt or Mesopotamia.

             These tests serve as beacons to light up the emerging new Neolithic landscape.    The long alignment hypothesis was vindicated by excavations at three standing stone sites .     The accurate lunar alignment hypothesis has been proved by Thomas Gough’s analysis of groups of Scottish standing stones.    The geometrical structure of stone circles has been vindicated and the existence of the solar calendar has been independently confirmed in Irish rock art.  Finally traditional archaeological research has uncovered a temple complex,  suitable for a priesthood,  in the Orkney islands;   there are also clear signs in the Stonehenge area of major ceremonial activity with links as far north as Orkney.

     The situation for British archaeology is becoming critical.   Most of the profession still refuse to accept that Alexander Thom discovered anything important but this attitude is beginning to appear comparable to that of a religious sect maintaining that only it has access to the truth.  This is becoming nothing short of a national scandal.

 

 November 2014    - Jay and Ann Tate (The Spaceguard Centre) talking about The Science of Armageddon

 

Outline Biography - Jonathan R. Tate

Director, The Spaceguard Centre

 

Jonathan Tate was a serving Army Officer for 26 years, specialising in surface to air missile systems.  He served in UK, Germany and Canada, and also worked in many other countries.  His activities concerning the impact hazard were undertaken in a totally private capacity without the sanction or support of the Ministry of Defence.

 

In June 1996 Tate submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defence and the British National Space Centre proposing the establishment of a British National Spaceguard Centre to study the threat posed to the UK by the impact of an asteroid or comet. Scientists worldwide lent their support, including Dr Arthur C Clarke, Dr Gene Shoemaker, Professor Edward Teller and many others. The Ministry of Defence dismissed the proposal, but the Department of Trade and Industry later decided that further study is appropriate and established a Task Force to investigate the threat.  The subsequent report validated the hazard, and made significant recommendations for action.  Implementation of these recommendations did not happen.

 

In January 1997 Tate established Spaceguard UK, which is now the largest independent Spaceguard organisation in the world. Thanks to the efforts of the members the subject of Spaceguard has been publicly debated in both Houses of Parliament, and Tate has been a regular contributor on television and radio, also in professional and popular journals.  Tate and other members of Spaceguard UK advised the government Task Force on NEOs.

 

Tate is a member of the Board of Directors of the international Spaceguard Foundation, a consultant to the International Astronomical Union Working Group on Near Earth Objects, an associate of COSPAR, the vice-president of the Space Development Council and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.  He is the Director of the Spaceguard Centre in mid-Wales, the co-ordinator of the Comet and Asteroid Information Network (CAIN) and leads the International Spaceguard Information Centre.  The Spaceguard Centre has become a leading focus for public outreach and education and took over the role of National Near Earth Objects Information Centre in October 2013.  Also in 2013 Tate was awarded the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement in Planetary Science.

 

In recognition of his work Asteroid 15116, discovered by the Spacewatch programme in 2000 has been named “Jaytate”.

 

December 2014 - Annual Dinner - Saturday 13th December 2014 at 19:00hrs at the Maharani Restaurant in Troon.

 

January 2015  - Professor Martin Hendry (University of Glasgow Astronomer) will be speaking on "Did we really land on the Moon?"

More than 45 years after Neil Armstrong's famous "One small step", the Apollo programme remains one of the greatest scientific and technological achievements in history. Yet a surprising number of dissenting voices - on the internet, on television and DVDs and in books - contend that the Moon landings never actually took place, but were an eleborate hoax perpetrated by NASA on an unsuspecting public.  From waving flags to the absence of stars in the astronauts' photographs; from strange shadows and misbehaving dust to deadly radiation belts, the conspiracy theorists point to a range of "evidence" which they claim indicates that the Apollo missions were faked.

Is there any scientific basis to these conspiracy theories?  Join University of Glasgow astronomer Professor Martin Hendry as he casts a critical eye over the hoax theorists' claims and asks "Did we really land on the Moon?"

 

 

February 2015 - Chris O’Kane (Vice President of The Astronomical Society of Glasgow) will be speaking on The Pharaoh, the stars and a God called Horakhti.

Chris O’Kane is a Vice President of The Astronomical Society of Glasgow and has worked in Audio/Visual technology in education for over 30 years.  He is Managing Director of Vistamorph Ltd, a media production company that specializes in unique visual concepts.  Chris has had a life long interest in space exploration and astronomy and engages in public outreach with The Astronomical Society of Glasgow and other groups.

The Pharaoh, the stars and a God called Horakhti - It is taught by Egyptologists that the Pharaoh was the Earthly representative of the divine god “Horus”.  The Pharaoh’s role was to enact the will of the god Horus by maintaining law, order and justice throughout Egypt, a process they referred to as “Maat”.   It has recently been realised that this process of Maat relates to astronomical observations.  It is known that the Pharaohs worshipped the Sun and in particular the god of kingship called “Horakhti” often referred to as a Sun god.  This talk will explain the role of astronomy in ancient Egyptian kingship rituals and the overall concept of death and eternal life.  In the process revealing what the gods were and the importance of the astronomy, which has relevance to our religious beliefs today.

 

March 2015 - Alice-Amanda Kay and Gary Thomson (Clydesdale Astronomical Society) will be speaking about The Moon: Where it came from and how to observe it.

Alice-Amanda Kay, chairman of Clydesdale Astronomical Society and graduate of the Open University will give a short talk on the origins and geological make up of our nearest celestial neighbour, the Moon.

 Gary Thomson, observing coordinator for Clydesdale Astronomical Society will give a talk on observing skills and how to apply them to the lunar features

 

April  2015 - Robert Law from Mills Observatory will be speaking about the planet Mars.

The history of Mars observation begins with Christiaan Huyghens and his contemporaries in the 17th century, continuing with a succession of early telescopic observers and peaking with the 'Mars mania' of the late 19th century.   The Coats Observatory in Paisley, the oldest public observatory in Scotland, was one of many established around the world in response to the great scientific and public interest in Mars at that time.   Since the beginning of space missions in the early 1960s far more has been learned about the planet, as regards its history and current conditions there.   In 2015 there are more spacecraft orbiting Mars or on the surface than ever before, and new discoveries are coming thick and fast, while plans for manned missions to the planet are continuing to develop and may soon become a reality.

 

May 2015 - Colin McInnes (Glasgow University) will be speaking on Terraforming: A problem of applied Astronomy

Contemporary interest in climate Geoengineering may ultimately set the scene for some genuinely impressive macro-engineering ventures in the far future - whether greening deserts or greening Mars. This talk will consider what it would take to engineer planetary bodies and speculate on the political and economic requirements to do so.

 

June 2015 - Lembit Opik speaking about Avoiding Armageddon

Lembit Öpik is one of the best known, and colourful, political celebrities in Britain.  Born in Bangor, Northern Ireland, his parents  come from Estonia in North-East Europe.  Elected to Parliament in 1997, Lembit quickly became one of the few MPs who also held his own on satirical T.V. shows such as Have I got News for You and just about every political comedy programme on air.  Losing his seat in 2010, Lembit’s career then blossomed into television presenting, music management and public speaking on politics, celebrity and space related matters. 

It is this last field which many find most surprising.  A surprisingly accomplished star-gazer, Lembit owes his cosmological insight to his father, who was a physicist, and his Grandfather, Ernst Öpik, who made a global impact as a professional astronomer with his claims that earth had been struck by large asteroids and comets in the past, and that it WILL happen again. Taking this warning to Parliament, Lembit caused a stir by warning of the inevitability of a catastrophic impact.  He convinced the Government to commission a report – which proved him right! 

In this talk, Lembit takes the audience on a gripping and hugely entertaining roller-coaster ride through the fact and fiction surrounding the issue.  He illustrates the peril of ignoring the awesome power of our cosmos.  And, in doing so, he shows how, with a little effort and a lot more commitment, we can, literally, avoid Armageddon.

 

July 2015 - Duncan Lunan - Talking about Pluto

Since the discovery of Pluto in 1930, almost everything about it has remained a mystery – even its size was uncertain until the 1980s, and its orbit and rotation were unlike any other planet's.   When its satellite Charon was discovered in 1978 that only added to the puzzles, because they were unlike any other planet-satellite pair.   Their origin is as mysterious as everything else, and even the Hubble telescope could make out only faint markings on them.   But by the end of July everything may have changed:  the Pluto mission which has been on and off since the 1980s was finally launched in 2006, and on July 14th the New Horizons spacecraft will fly between Pluto and the five moons it's now known to have.   If all goes well, the images will be sharp enough to show features the size of New York's Central Park.   But will the spacecraft survive to send them back?   Don't miss the next thrilling instalment

 

August  2015 - Alan and Sandi Cayless (Stirling Astronomical Society) speaking about The Sun - Our nearest Star.

The Sun is our nearest star and is far more than a flaming ball of gas.  Using the latest high-resolution images the talk will explore the active surface and inner workings of the Sun, look at the phenomenon of space weather and explain our Sun's relationship with the billions of other stars in our galaxy.

About the speaker:

Alan Cayless is a member and former chairman of Stirling Astronomical Society, with interests including outreach and astrophotography.  Alan also teaches physics and astronomy with the Open University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Awards for All Grant

We are pleased to announce that we were an Awards for All Scotland grant recipient. The award allowed us to purchase a projector, a screen and book speakers for our Astronomers of the Future Club.

 

©actascio2013

 




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