17th March Lecture: Seeing through telescopes large and small.

Images of astronomical objects from ground-based telescopes are blurred by turbulence in the earth’s atmosphere – a phenomenon referred to as “seeing”.

The magnitude of the effect depends on the strength of the turbulence, the size of the telescope and the wavelength at which observations are made.

This talk will discuss how the earth’s atmosphere affects ground-based telescopes of all sizes, how the turbulence strength is measured and some of the methods that can be used to ameliorate its effects.

Details

21st April Lecture: DESI – the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument.

The expansion history and large-scale structure of the Universe is a key prediction of cosmological models, and DESI observations will permit scientists to probe diverse aspects of cosmology, from dark energy to alternatives to General Relativity to neutrino masses to the early Universe.

DESI will measure the expansion history of the Universe using the baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) imprinted in the clustering of galaxies, quasars, and the intergalactic medium and will extract cosmological distance information from the clustering of matter and galaxies.

Details

15th March: Moonwatch & Stargazing Event

Visit the Cygnus Observatory based at the Washington Wetlands Centre for an evening dedicated to our nearest celestial neighbour.

See the moon in stunning detail through many telescopes and enjoy a tour of the night skies from this welcoming and friendly group of amateur astronomers.

  • Powerful telescopes will be available to view:
  • The Moon.
  • Amazing stellar nursery, the Orion Nebula (M42).
  • Andromeda Galaxy (M31).
  • Amazing open star clusters including the spectacular “Seven Sisters”, (M45).
  • Plus many other astronomical wonders of the night sky.

Date: Friday 15th March 2019.

Times: from 7:00 pm – 9:30pm.

Price: Free Entry (Ticket Booking required)

Details

17th February Lecture: The promise of gravitational wave astronomy.

Gravitational waves offer a new way to uncover the universe.

General relativity suggested their existence, but even Einstein wasn’t sure about them. It wasn’t until the 1970s that there was evidence of their existence, but it took 40 years to be able to detect them.

Now we can detect these ripples in space time, what do they tell us about black holes, neutron stars and the fundamental nature of the universe?

There are many wonderful images (public domain) at the LIGO website https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/images

Details

1st February: Beamish Stargazing Event (Cancelled)

The event is Cancelled due to Weather Conditions. See Beamish Website for Ticket Refund(s).

One of the North Easts largest Museums and largest Astronomical Societies have teamed up give the public a truly unique astronomical event, to Inspire, Educate and Inform the public on the amazing show going on above our heads.

Date: Friday 1st February 2019.

Times: from 6:30 pm – 9:30pm.

Price: £5 Ticket Entry (tickets can be booked and purchased via the Beamish website, Beamish Events Bookings).

Event size: 500, so get your tickets asap!

Last year was a sell out within hours of opening event

Join local astronomers from across the North East for a fun night of assorted astronomical treats at the several sites at Beamish.

Details

25th January: Beamish Stargazing Event

One of the North Easts largest Museums and largest Astronomical Societies have teamed up give the public a truly unique astronomical event, to Inspire, Educate and Inform the public on the amazing show going on above our heads.

Date: Friday 25th January 2019.

Times: from 6:30 pm – 9:30pm.

Price: £5 Ticket Entry (tickets can be booked and purchased via the Beamish website, Beamish Events Bookings).

Event size: 500, so get your tickets asap!

Last year was a sell out within hours of opening event

Join local astronomers from across the North East for a fun night of assorted astronomical treats at the several sites at Beamish.

Details

20th January Lecture: Astronomy for Beginners

Astronomy for Beginners – A simplified view of the universe.

  • How to start observing by finding some of the main stars and constellations.
  • Understand how the stars appear to move across the sky.
  • Why does what we see in the night sky change with the seasons and where does Orion go in the summer? What are stars and galaxies and how big is the universe.
Details

18th November Lecture: Viewing the Universe in light of Gravitational Lensing.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity famously unified gravity with the geometry of the Universe, making two remarkable predictions:

  • that light-rays take a straight path through space;
  • that mass bends the space surrounding it.

Together, this means that where there is mass, light appears bent, a phenomenon known today as gravitational lensing and a tool used by astrophysicists to study almost everything in the Universe; from planets on stars neighbouring the Sun to weighing the entire observable Universe.

Durham University’s Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy James Nightingale will give a run-through of the exciting and innovative ways that astronomers are using gravitational lensing to obtain a new and unique view of the Universe and speculate how it may hold our best hope of one day disproving Einstein’s famous theory.

Details