Meetings and events in winter 2011/2012

Any changes to our meeting arrangements will be put on our website The list below may include events not held by the Society, but of interest to members or to those interested in astronomy. For those events please check independently about cancellation, admission fees, booking, etc.

Our main venue, the Augustine United Church, celebrates its 150-year anniversary, and hosts three talks in October and November to mark the occasion. Exceptionally, we list these non-astronomy events below. "These lectures followed by discussions, are open to all and we [AUC] hope will offer the opportunity to better understand and explore topics which are very significant in our world today. All Welcome!"

Oct 7th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Dr Peter Davidson, Curator of Minerals, National Museums of Scotland
Meteorites (exact subject to be confirmed)
Oct 8th - CANCELLED !!
19:00, ASE, Dark Site
Draconid meteor shower
In view of the weather forecast, this observing session is CANCELLED!
The following information is from the BAA:

In October 2011 there is, once again, the likelihood of a Giacobinid [Draconid] [meteor] shower. ... Draconid activity is likely to peak somewhere between 16h and 22h UT on 8 October 2011, with the period between 18h and 21h most likely to yield the greatest activity. ... From the British Isles, observers should go out as soon as twilight falls on the evening of Saturday, 8 October. ... there is a considerable spread in the predicted peak rates ... ranging from a few tens of meteors per hour to several hundred ...
For full information from the BAA and their report form, go to
Oct 19th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Oct 24th
19:00, Augustine United Church
Dr George R. Wilkes, University of Edinburgh
Patterns of global conflict and the UK's role within it: The tension of intervention
Nov 4th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Prof Simon Stewart, Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University
Impact craters on Earth - how many are yet to be found?
Nov 9th
19:00, Augustine United Church
Dr Alastair McIntosh, Isle of Lewis-raised writer, broadcaster and campaigning academic
The spiritual challenges of environmental issues
Nov 16th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Nov 24th
19:00, Augustine United Church
Prof Charles Munn, Customer Contact Association Academy
Banking: Deal or no deal?
Dec 2nd
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Prof Richard Brown, Centre for Future Air-Space Transportation Technology, University of Strathclyde
The future of air-space transport
With the recent demise of the US Space Shuttle programme it is timely to look forward to future prospects for access to space. The Shuttle was based on the premise of a re-usable vehicle that could offer very cheap and frequent flights to low Earth orbit - but for various technical reasons the concept was compromised at design stage and the system never lived up to expectations. The reasons for the shortcomings of the Shuttle will be discussed in terms of the huge engineering challenges in designing a craft that can survive ascent through the earth's atmosphere and re-entry from space. It will be argued that a measured and structured approach to developing certain key technologies could result in a new generation of truly re-usable spacecraft. These spacecraft may realise the economic and technical benefits that were promised by the Shuttle.
Dec 5th
19:00, RSSA, Church Centre, AUC
Prof John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland
Science and subjectivity
The Royal Scottish Society of Arts has invited ASE members to this meeting.
(Members of the public are also welcome to attend.)
Prof Brown is also Honorary President of ASE.
Dec 13th
19:30, IoP in Scotland, RSE, 22-26 George Street
Prof Colin Cunningham, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, ROE
Science and engineering challenges of the European Extremely Large Telescope
Dec 14th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Jan 6th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Prof Ian Robson, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Supercool astronomy
Jan 11th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Jan 16th - 18th
Stargazing Live
This three-day broadcasting event returns to our screens in mid January.
Jan 18th
16:30 - 21:00, BBC/ROE/ASE, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (west gate)
Stargazing Live
The BBC is organising a major event to integrate with BBC Stargazing Live at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
ASE will join them with telescopes and volunteers to offer views of Jupiter, its cloud bands and moons, the Orion Nebula etc., weather permitting.
Feb 3rd
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Alan Pickup, Visitor Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Starlab show
The starlab is a mobile, indoor projection system similar to a planetarium.
Feb 15th
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Mar 2nd
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Alice-Amanda Kay, Clydesdale Astronomical Society
Volcanoes in the Solar System
Mar 10th
14:00 - 16:00, BHI, The Square Centre, Nicholson Square, EH8 9BX
Archie McQuater, British Horological Institute
Talk and practical demonstration
This meeting, although arranged by the East of Scotland Branch of the British Horological Institute, is a joint meeting with the Scottish Section of the Antiquarian Horological Society.
The talk and practical demonstration is by one of BHI's most experienced members, Archie McQuater. He has been designing and making many unique clocks over a number of decades. These have included orreries, perpetual, siderial and tidal clocks (including a longcase clock where the upper image above the clock face was a harbour with tides ebbing and flowing, plus clouds operated by a barometer!). However his latest project is a Ptolemaic Orrery with all its added complications. The orrery sits on a hexagonal base with each of the eight faces having an individual indicator.
There is a £2 charge to all attendees to cover room hire. The Methodist Church provides coffee, tea and biscuits, which are available for a donation (say 50p).
Mar 21st
19:30, ASE, Juniper Green Village Hall
Imaging Group
Mar 30th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Special General Meeting
This meeting is called to vote on two amendments of the Constitution.
Details are in the members-only area.

Annual General Meeting
NB: Members only.
Presidential Address
Re-birth of a shooting star