PART 1: LATEST NEWS

Next Talk

Please note that all talks until the end of 2020 (and possibly later) will be held on the Zoom video conferencing platform. Invitations to Zoom talks are sent to CAS members shortly in advance. Members planning to watch a talk should try to enter the Society's Zoom "Waiting Room" before 7.30 p.m., as late entry may be distracting for everyone.

Thursday 21st January 2021 at 7.30 p.m. "Las Cumbres Observatory: a global network of robotic telescopes for science, education, and sustainable development" presented by Dr Edward Gomez, Cardiff University & LCO

Las Cumbres Observatory is a unique, revolutionary network of robotic telescopes used for science and education projects by thousands of people across the world. I will talk about some of science discoveries, including being part of the detection of the first ever kilonova event, which was heralded by the detection of gravitational waves from LIGO/VIRGO. During the current global pandemic, we have seen a surge in the educational use of LCO and I will also talk about some of the inspiring education projects we support. They range from high-school students publishing their projects in peer-reviewed scientific journals, to projects to visualise astronomical data through sound and touch for visually impaired audiences. I will also show some of our amazing astrophotography images, taken by amateur astronomers with LCO.

Dr Edward Gomez currently holds the following posts: Director, Las Cumbres Observatory and Honorary Lecturer, School of Physics & Astronomy, Cardiff University.

He describes himself as an Astronomer, Coder, Educator and Enthusiast.

He received is first degree and his PhD whilst at Cardiff University where his thesis was on "Instability in the winds of hot stars: Theory and Simulation".

He has been recognised through several awards most recently in October 2020 the Lise Meitner Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics. This Silver Subject medal is awarded for distinguished contributions to public engagement in physics. The Cardiff University news item recording this achievement wrote "Dr Gomez, lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy, has scooped the award for his incredible work spanning public lectures, science comic books and the creation of innovative resources used in classrooms across the globe."

One of Edward's projects (of which he was the founder) to which CAS contributed via a modest donation was the production of the Ada's Adventures in Science comic books, inspiring young people to achieve their potential by giving them that all-important confidence to participate through asking questions. More than 15,000 comics were sent out globally and their popularity has led to translation into 5 languages.

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Take a look at two short extracts from recent talks

Dr Rachael Livermore talked to us on 17th September about Magnifying the Distant Universe

Callum Potter, BAA Vice-President, gave us a talk on 1st October on Planetary Nebulae

Watch a part of Rachael's talk -

Watch a part of Callum's talk -

The Society's activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

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During the coronavirus crisis the Society wishes to ensure that the risks to CAS members and the wider public are minimised. Accordingly, please note that:

  • we currently expect that all the fortnightly talks in the 2020/21 season will need to be held using the Zoom video conferencing platform (see the guidance below); and
  • no CAS Star Parties at our Observatory at Dyffryn Gardens are currently planned, and the Observatory is closed until further notice.

We will keep members updated on future developments via this website and other suitable means. We hope everyone stays well during the crisis.

GUIDANCE ON ZOOM: See this short video on how to join a Zoom meeting and this specific CAS guidance

A Guide to the Night Sky - Friday 19th February 2021 at 19:00 GMT a Virtual Star Party via Zoom.

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Registration Details - Free Event - Non-Members Welcome
Overview
Phill Wallace, FRAS (Cardiff Astronomical Society) will take you on a tour of the night sky from the comfort of your own home, dressing to mitigate against the cold normally experienced at an outdoor tour is optional. There will be a guided tour describing what can be seen from the UK in February and March embellished with myths, legends and history behind the naming of Constellations. Phill will use Stellarium a free open-source planetarium to guide you on this journey.
Registration
To obtain a ticket please make a request to Zoom@cardiff-astronomical-society.co.uk
Your request will be acknowledged shortly after you make your request, and you will receive full details on how to access the event to your mailbox on the 17th February 2021.
Note to CAS members - this is a bookable event.
The event is being held as part of the Cardiff Science Festival 2021

CAS Social on Tuesday Evenings via Zoom (Members Only)

Every Tuesday evening from 7pm to around 8:30 we hold a social get together on zoom where we chat about both astronomical and non-astronomical subjects, have a quiz and have presentations by members. These presentations are usually on either member's hobbies or their travels but can be on anything they think others will find interesting.
Why not come along one week to see what you think. You do not need to stay for the whole session and people often arrive late or leave early because of other commitments. It is very informal!
To register your interest email Zoom@cardiff-astronomical-society.co.uk please include your Membership Number and you will be sent a link to the next session.

Possible things to do during the lockdown or in self-isolation

  • NEW: Enrol on one of the free talks being run by The Geological Society of London about the Geology of Space. For more details see here
  • NEW: Book tickets for the family friendly virtual Stargazing event being run by RAL on Friday 22nd January. See here
  • NEW: Book tickets for free, online Astronomy talks being run by Royal Observatory Edinburgh. See here
  • Catch the very latest astronomy news from Space.com See here
  • Monday 21st December Great Conjunction Saturn & Jupiter on Slooh. Link viewed from the Canary Islands from 19:00 GMT/UTC.* (still available on YouTube)
  • National Astronomy Week 14th - 22nd November 2020 website (still available on YouTube)
  • Buy the recently published book The Search for Life on Mars: The Greatest Scientific Detective Story of All Time by Elizabeth Howell and Nicholas Booth - see here
  • Watch video: 10 Unsettling Astronomical Incidents and Phenomena - see here
  • Watch the eighth series of How the Universe Works on the Discovery Channel - now being rebroadcast. Series 1 to 7 also available
  • Watch a video of a talk given to the Society for Popular Astronomy - this 77 minutes talk, being shown with the kind permission of the SPA, is by Dr Rene Breton and is entitled Einstein's Relativity: Tested to the Limit with Pulsars
  • Join the Virtual Astronomy Club
  • NASA At Home provide a range of activities - details here. Or watch NASA TV
  • Astronomy Citizen Science Projects - see here
  • Stargazing sessions (most nights) on Twitter with experienced astronomer, Mark Thompson - see here and also his NEW hour-long video on imaging using robotic telescopes
  • The Sky at Night - and watch old and not-so-old episodes on the BBC iPlayer including the 800th episode shown on BBC4 on 10th May 2020!
  • Astrophotography with only a DSLR camera or a smartphone - see here and also here
  • Podcasts - for instance, the BBC Sounds podcast includes The Life Scientific series which features a number of astronomy-related sessions including an interesting interview with Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell who, scandalously, was not awarded a Nobel Prize after her discovery of radio pulsars
  • Fine-tune and clean your astronomy equipment - guidance is available on the internet including in the BBC's online Sky at Night magazine

The night sky this month

(Courtesy of BBC Sky at Night Magazine)

Day-by-day guide to this month's night sky

- text and photos

PART 2: THE SOCIETY'S UPCOMING EVENTS

Next Star Party

NO STAR PARTIES ARE PLANNED FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE

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Next Observing Session

NO OBSERVING SESSIONS ARE PLANNED FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE

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PART 3: OTHER NEWS

The i4is is a UK-based international membership organisation which promotes technical research into, and education about, interstellar exploration. More details (including in relation to taking out a subscription to their free Principium magazine) are available here.

Black Lives Matter in Astronomy

See this update from the Royal Astronomical Society

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PART 4: THE CARDIFF ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY

Introduction to CAS

The Cardiff Astronomical Society (CAS) is a thriving society located in South East Wales. It has been in existence for over 40 years and is one of the largest amateur astronomical societies in the UK. CAS provides a range of facilities for both Society members and the public at large including a varied programme of talks on Thursday evenings (except in August) at the Physics and Astronomy Department of Cardiff University. In addition, regular night sky (and occasional solar) Observing Sessions are held at the Society's own Observatory at Dyffryn Gardens.

Our members come from all walks of life and their knowledge of astronomy ranges from complete beginner to advanced. You don't need any specialist knowledge to join us and neither do you need to own a telescope or binoculars. It's also possible to try us out before joining!

More details about the Society and what it does are available here

We are keen to get more Society members on board to assist with the running of CAS events - please see here how you can Help Us

Society help for schools etc

SADLY, THIS ACTIVITY WAS SUSPENDED IN JANUARY 2020 BECAUSE OF A LACK OF RESOURCES WITHIN CAS. IT CAN BE RESUMED ONLY IF MORE VOLUNTEERS COME FORWARD TO PROVIDE HELP

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As shown here, Cardiff Astronomical Society welcomes all invitations from organisations such as colleges, schools and guide/scout/brownie groups located in Cardiff and surrounding areas for an outreach stargazing/astronomical event for all ages and levels of knowledge. Society members very much enjoy bringing our passion for the subject to a wider audience and helping everyone to get started in this fascinating subject. We do not charge a fee for our expertise and participation; the enjoyment is enough reward and we will do our very best to ensure a worthwhile and enthralling evening. We would, however, be grateful for reimbursement of travelling expenses and petrol costs to venues outside of Cardiff and its environs. Otherwise the cost would fall on individuals and the non-profit-making Society. It should be noted that CAS has a formal Policy on Child Protection and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults

PART 5: JOIN OR SUPPORT CAS

Join the Society

Come and join some of the Society's 275 members at one of our talks or observing events. We promise a warm and friendly welcome for all. Only £15.00 per annum also means you can make use of our Library

Gift Aid

CAS is registered for Gift Aid. This means that, if you are a UK taxpayer, we can claim back the standard rate tax on subscriptions (and on any donations) giving an effective 25% boost to the amount the Society has received. However, in order to reclaim these monies from HMRC, we need all members who pay tax to complete and return a Charity Gift Aid Declaration form. Please note that if you have paid your subscriptions by PayPal, you will have already been asked if you would consent to those subscriptions being Gift Aided - but we still need a completed Charity Gift Aid Declaration form in order for us to reclaim the tax paid as Gift Aid.

If you are eligible, please take a form (using the button opposite) and then complete it and pass it to us at one of the fortnightly talks or send it to CAS by post or email (see the bottom of the form). Thank you for your help!

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