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Meetings and events in winter 2016/2017

The main series of meetings held by the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh are its Ordinary Meetings, which feature a main talk by a guest speaker on a topic of general interest. The main talk is often preceded by short presentations by members and by a preview of the month's night sky. Ordinary Meetings are held monthly - except June and August - on the first or second Friday of the month. Non-members are welcome to these meetings, which take place at the Augustine Church Centre. Admission is free, for members and non-members.

Other regular meetings - Imaging Group, in-town or out-of-town observing - tend to be for members only. Occasionally, we also run, participate in, or sponsor events for the public. The annual programme is split in two semesters; the winter semester starts on September 1st, the summer semester starts on May 1st. Any changes to our meeting arrangements will be placed on our website http://www.astronomyedinburgh.org/.

Sep 9th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Vanessa Smer-Barreto, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Astronomy in pre-Columbian civilizations
The architectural characteristics of Mayan, Inca and Aztec buildings are part of the legacy these cultures left from their astronomical studies. The movements of the Sun, the Moon, Venus, the eclipses and the Milky Way all held an important place in decision making and politics of these societies. Of important consideration are their two calendars, one of them of striking similarity to our current one, the other, mysterious and linked to the cycle of agriculture. The acoustic phenomena in some of the pyramids and the written records related to their cosmogony still standing will also be mentioned.
Sep 14th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Members only
Sep 24th
ROE Open Days
10:00 - 17:00, ROE/ASE, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Blackford Hill
ROE Open Days
ASE will be helping out, in particular (and weather permitting) with telescopes to look at the Sun.
Sep 25th
10:00 - 17:00, ROE/ASE, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Blackford Hill
ROE Open Days
ASE will be helping out, in particular (and weather permitting) with telescopes to look at the Sun.
Oct 7th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Surgery on telescopes and other observing aids
Have a problem with your telescope or related equipment? Don't know why the mount turns four ways and usually moves in the wrong direction?
Don't know what scope, book or star chart to buy for Christmas?
If you have any particular queries we should address, let us know some time in advance.
Oct 12th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Members only
Nov 4th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Prof Andrew Lawrence, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Chasing Piazzi Smyth
In 1856 the second Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Charles Piazzi Smyth, undertook a historic expedition to Tenerife, to test his idea that astronomy should be carried out from mountain tops rather than smoky cities. In 2016 we took students from Edinburgh, joined up with students in Tenerife, and tried to re-create his historic measurements - on the quality of seeing, on the nature of the zodiacal light, on the nature of the dark lines in the solar spectrum, and on the infrared radiation from the Moon. This adventure was filmed as part of a documentary being made by a Spanish film maker. I will talk about the results we found, what happened to astronomy between 1856 and 2016, and where it is going next.
Nov 9th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Members only
Nov 19th
10:00 - 20:00, ASE / ROE / National Museum of Flight, East Fortune Airfield
Astronomy Day at the Museum of Flight
Join us for a day of space-themed talks and activities at the Museum of Flight in East Fortune. During the day (10:00 - 16:00), admission is included in the normal museum admission fee. Activities include telescope displays, planetarium show, indoor virtual reality night sky display, astrophotography, displays of meteorites, water rockets, solar observing (weather permitting), talks on astronomy and space. For the evening stargazing session (17:00 - 20:00), booking is required and numbers are limited. Call the National Museum of Flight on 0131-247.4238 to book your place.
Dec 2nd
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Dr Matthew Pitkin, University of Glasgow
Opening the gravitational wave window on the universe
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory comprises two detectors located in Hanford, WA and Livingston LA. These detectors are 4 km long Fabry-Perot Michelson interferometers and the most sensitive length measuring devices in the world. They are able to sense a change equivalent to 1/1000th the diameter of a proton over their 4 km baseline. In this talk I will describe the technology development necessary to realise the LIGO detectors, and also describe the two gravitational wave signals that have been observed in the 1st observing run: GW150914 and GW151226. I will provide some insight into the astrophysics which can be gained from these "dark systems", only observable by listening to the universe.
Dec 14th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Members only
Jan 6th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Nagaraja (Naidu) Bezawada, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Detectors in astronomy: Human eye to modern electronic sensors
A historical overview of the detectors employed to record astronomical observations from human eye, through photographic films, early electronic detectors to the state-of-the-art electronic sensors in optical and infrared astronomy, highlighting their inventions and the revolutionary advancements transforming research in astronomy.
Jan 11th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Members only
Feb 3rd
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
David Woods
The Saturn V launch vehicle
The iconic Saturn V launch vehicle was developed with the specific brief to sent astronauts to the Moon and in doing so, it left a long lasting impression on those who saw it ascend. David Woods describes its origins, development and the truly awesome technology that made it work.
Mr Woods is author of the new Haynes manual on the Saturn V, of How Apollo flew to the Moon, and co-author of the Haynes manuals about the Gemini spacecraft and the Lunar Rover. He is also editor of NASA's Apollo Flight Journal.
Feb 8th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Members only
Mar 3rd
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Lyn Smith, Director, BAA Solar Section
Moons
A brief tour of the larger and more interesting moons of the solar system featuring the stunning images returned from the Cassini Huygens mission.
Mar 8th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Members only
Apr 7th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Dr Nick Rowell, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
The Gaia space telescope:
mapping the Milky Way in six dimensions

The Gaia space telescope is an ambitious mission by the European Space Agency to determine the structure, formation and evolution of the Milky Way galaxy. This is achieved by measuring the precise positions, motions, chemical compositions and other properties for around one billion individual stars in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. In addition to stars, Gaia will discover a large number of asteroids, exoplanets, variable stars and supernovae.
Being at the heart of the mission data processing, the speaker will give a broad introduction to the Gaia space telescope, the basic design and observing principles, the current mission status after two years in space, and some of the highlights from the first release of data, which occurred on September 14th 2016.
Apr 12th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Members only

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