19th January Lecture: SALT-HRS spectrograph

The SALT-HRS spectrograph has been developed and assembled between 2008 and 2013, with the main integration happening at the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation (CfAI) of Durham University.

Jurgen, himself member of the CfAI SALT-HRS team (and of Sunderland AS) provides an overview about astronomy in South Africa, the technical novelties of the 11m SALT telescope and some intimate details of how to assemble a large high resolution spectrograph that can be used to find extrasolar planets or to study stellar atmospheres.

At the end, Jurgen also presents some self-made images of the southern skies using a tracked camera at the observatory.

Details

15th December 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.
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17th November Lecture: Gravitational Waves – Einstein, Einstein, give us a wave!

Just over one hundred years ago Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves on the basis of his General Theory of Relativity.

For over 20 years physicists have been trying to catch the first gravity wave without success until February 2016 when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced that they had recorded the ripples from two black holes colliding.

The Dr Pete Edwards talk will focus on this historic discovery, the technology behind gravitational wave detectors and explore the dawn of multi-messenger astrophysics.

There are many wonderful images (public domain) at the LIGO website 

https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/images

Gravitational waves offer a new way to uncover the universe.

Details

Membership Subscription Renewals for 2019-2020

September is the start of our new season. SAS Memberships will be due from 1st September 2019 (payable throughout September) for this season 2019/2020.

Joining/Renewing helps support your local astronomical society & community.

So come on down to the Cygnus Observatory join or renew your SAS membership.

The SAS the largest & probably most active astronomical society’s in the North East, for advice, information, observing the night sky, and get together at various meet-ups, events, visits and join in the ‘Craic’ on all things astronomical.

Details
Kielder Camp Site

30th October – 4th November: Kielder Forest Star Camp

The Kielder Forest Star Camp runs from Wednesday 30th October 12:00pm to Monday 4th  November 2018 12:00pm.

The Kielder Forest Star Camps are run twice a year, in the spring (usually in Feb/March) and in the autumn(usually in October).

Originally setup and organised by members of Sunderland Astronomical Society(SAS), and now organised by the Kielder Forest Camp Site.

All activities on the main day Saturday are free to attend.

Details

20th October Lecture: Giant Impact Simulations: Why Does Uranus Spin on its Side?

Uranus spins on its side. With its spin axis pointing almost at right angles to those of all the other planets, the common explanation is that a proto-planet at least as large as the Earth crashed into the young planet, sending it spinning in this new direction.

Giant impacts like these were common events in the early solar system and help explain many other mysteries such as the origin of the Moon, as well as features of the exoplanets we see around distant stars.

Jacob’s team run supercomputer simulations with millions of particles to re-create and study these cataclysmic events.

In this talk, Jacob will focus on our recent work with Uranus and how this violent impact might also explain the planet’s extremely cold surface, strange magnetic field, and unusual satellite system.

Details

25th October: Stargazing Event (Northumberland Park)

Back by popular demand, Sunderland Astronomical Society are will visiting Northumberland Park).

  • Date: Friday 25th October 2019.
  • Time: from 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
  • Entry: Free (Contributions to SAS fundraising nonetheless welcomed).

SAS have been asked by the Northumberland Park (the park in North Shields) to hold a Stargazing event on Friday 19th October 2018 from 7.00pm till late.

Details

13th October – Sunderland Astronomical Society AGM

The Sunderland Astronomical Society AGM will be taking place on Sunday 13th October 2018 from 7:00 pm.

SAS members are invited to attend, listen to chairpersons reports and vote in the election of the committee and nominations are asked from the SAS members.

At the AGM all committee members will stand down and members are nominated elected/re-elected.

There are a possible 15 committee places, which includes the named officer posts for the chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, treasurer roles.

Details