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Popular Astronomy

Popular Astronomy Magazine - September-October 2017
See what's in the September-October 2017 edition of 'Popular Astronomy' magazine. Click the cover to find out.

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Forthcoming meetings

Our regular quarterly meetings are held in London, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) which is part of the University of London. Admission is free. Details of how to get there, with maps, are given below. Other events are occasionally held around the country, in which case details of their location will be given. All talks are presented at a popular level and should be understandable by anyone with an interest in astronomy. Please note that as from the January 2018 meeting we will be meeting at University College, London, nearby.

Saturday 28 October 20172 pm. Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London (details below).

Our President, Prof. Tim O'Brien (University of Manchester), speaks on Radio Transients: From Pulsars to Fast Radio Bursts
Fifty years ago, Jocelyn Bell noticed a strange repeating radio signal coming from the direction of Vulpecula. No Little Green Man, it was in fact the first pulsar. In this talk, Tim will discuss the subject of transient radio sources, from pulsars to the mysterious fast radio bursts – flashes of radio emission lasting only a fraction of a second and whose origin is currently unknown. There may even be time to include some of the latest thoughts on messages from Little Green Things.

After the break, Robin Scagell will give a short summary of what's coming up in the sky for the folloiwing for months. Then our Occultation Section Director, Mell Jeffery, will introduce the work of her section in Occultations: What, How & Why. Occultations take place when one body, usually the Moon, hides another one, usually a star. She will tell us how you go about observing one and the equipment needed. What information can be gained from observing and recording them?

London meetings will also be held on Saturday 27 January and Saturday 28 April 2018, at University College, London. Details to come.

Other national events

An updated list of major star parties and conventions is maintained on our Forum.

Meeting videos

You can view videos of the main talks at meetings on your computer. Just click on the image at right to see what's currently available. There are videos of talks about all aspects of astronomy there – they'll keep you entertained for hours!

Society Meetings – Regular Venue


SPA meetings are held on the last Saturday of January, April, July and October in the Khalili Lecture Theatre of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. When you leave Russell Square station, turn left and cross the road straight away. SOAS is on the far corner of Russell Square. Use the entrance marked, which is opposite the Brunei Gallery.Members and their friends are welcome, and entry is free of charge. Members should please remember to bring their membership cards or a copy of Popular Astronomy.

When you enter the SOAS building, please sign in as a visitor to the university at the reception desk, where you will be given a visitor sticker which you should keep visible, and go through the entry gate. The lecture theatre is downstairs – look for the SPA signs. We also have our own signing-in book before you enter the lecture theatre. Meetings start at 2.00pm and last until 5.00pm, including a break for refreshments.

The first section of each meeting is generally taken up by a talk from a guest speaker, while the second has shorter items on current astronomical events, and possibly reports from sections. Prior to the meeting, and during the break, refreshments including tea, coffee, soft drinks and sandwiches are usually available from the Student Union cafeteria though this is subject to closure outside University terms.

Here is a Google map of the venue to help you with directions:



Fri, 20 Oct 2017   - The real October meteors appear

Mon, 16 Oct 2017   - Keep an eye on Iris

Mon, 16 Oct 2017   - Orange Sun seen in sky