2023 Programme

Meetings are held on the first Friday* of every month
Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.
Non-members are always welcome – please contact us.

* Please note that the January meeting may be held later in the month.

Friday, 6 January 2023
Against the Odds: a Patagonian Eclipse
Mike Frost
On December 14th 2020, the path of a total eclipse crossed the northern part of Patagonia (Chile and Argentina).

Of course, events got in the way. The coronavirus pandemic shut down travel across the world. Argentina and Chile closed their borders to foreigners. Tour companies cancelled trips, and Mike began to resign himself to missing this eclipse.

However … against the odds, a narrow window of opportunity began to inch open. Astro-Trails and Eurotur were able to negotiate permits for small groups of eclipse chasers to enter Argentina, travelling in a bubble like a sports team. Mike was one of their guest astronomers.

He made it to Argentina, safely. He made it back, safely. And in between he saw a stunning eclipse from an estancia (horse ranch) in Neuquen Province, northern Patagonia.


Friday, 3 February 2023
Einstein’s Universe: the dawn, and exciting future, of gravitational-wave astronomy
Prof. Martin Hendry, University of Glasgow
Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time produced by the most violent events in the cosmos: exploding stars, colliding black holes, even the Big Bang itself. They were by predicted in 1915 by Albert Einstein and detected 100 years later by the most sensitive scientific instruments ever built – a discovery awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics.  And yet in just over seven years the detection of gravitational waves has gone from an epoch-making breakthrough to an almost routine occurrence, with almost 100 gravitational-wave events observed to date, and has opened an entirely new way for astronomers to study the universe.  In this talk join Professor Martin Hendry as he explores the exciting dawn – and bright future – of gravitational-wave astronomy, and the remarkable new picture of Einstein’s universe which it is revealing to us.


Friday, 3 March 2023
What makes a planet habitable
Patrick Barth, University of St Andrews and the Institute for Space Research in Graz, Austria
In the last 25 years we have found thousands of planets around other stars, but so far we were not able to detect life on any other body than Earth. After a short introduction into the diversity of extrasolar planets, Patrick will try to shed some light on the fascinating research on the origin of life and to answer some questions regarding the possibility of life on extrasolar planets: What does life need to start? Which environments might be harmful to life? What exotic conditions on a planet can we imagine that can still give rise to and host life? And maybe most importantly: How can we detect life on another planet?”