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Come to the 2017 SPA Convention

Saturday 1 April 2017, 10 am - 5.30 pm

Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge

The SPA Convention is held every two years and is a great opportunity for members and indeed anyone interested in astronomy to get together, hear some great lectures from world-class astronomers and meet many of our section directors.

Everyone is welcome, whether or not they are an SPA member. There is no admission fee, but you will need to apply for a ticket.

The theme of this year's Convention is What We Have Learnt From....We have a superb line-up of speakers for you, covering a range of topics at the cutting edge of astronomy (see the programme below). And as usual there will be tours of the IoA telescopes, trade stands and exhibits from the SPA's observing sections, with the chance to meet many of the section directors and other SPA people.

This year's Sir Patrick Moore Lecture will be given by Dr Karen Masters of the University of Portsmouth on the growing topic of CITIZEN SCIENCE. Today, anyone wishing to get more involved in astronomy can make useful contributions from their home, sitting at their computer.

Trade stands will be provided by a range of well-known suppliers and of course there will be the SPA’s own range of merchandise. 

Refreshments Coffee, tea and fruit juice are available for £3 for the whole day. In addition, we can supply an optional lunch box for £6 to include your choice of gourmet sandwich, fruit and one of Barry's cakes. Please note that this year, all refreshments must be booked in advance as shown below.

Here's the full programme:

9.30 am Doors open

10.00 am Welcome by SPA President Prof Tim O'Brien, Jodrell Bank

10.15 am  The Changing Scene: an introduction to the day. Prof Ian Robson, STFC

10.45 am  Coffee break;  Tour the trade stands

11.30 am  Mars Orbiters, Rovers and Landers -- It's Really Hard! A look at the ways the Red Planet is being explored. Dr Helen Walker, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

12.30 pm  Lunch break  Join one of the tours to view the historic IoA Telescopes.

1.30 pm  Consert. Find out about the instrument that probed the interior of Comet 67P Prof Iwan Williams, Queen Mary University of London

2.30 pm  Tea break  Make sure to visit the SPA Merchandise Stand

Dr Karen Masters

3.00 pm  The Sir Patrick Moore Lecture: Citizen Science Dr Karen Masters, University of Portsmouth

4.00 pm  Late tea break;  Last chance to tour the trade stands

4.30 pm GAIA: ESA's Mission to construct the largest and most precise 3D space catalogue ever made.  Dr Floor van Leeuwen, Institute of Astronomy.

5.15 pm Draw of Raffle.

To book

For refreshments you have two choices, which may be combined as shown below. By booking refreshments you will also receive a ticket for the lectures.

1. For all drinks during the day the cost is £3.00 per person (tea, coffee, orange juice or water on arrival, morning break, lunch and afternoon break). To book this option click this button:

2. An optional Lunch Box is available for £6.00 per person when booked in advance. (Includes gourmet sandwich of your choice, fruit and one of Barry’s cakes). To book this option click this button:  . Enter your preference for standard/vegetarian/vegan/gluten free/lactose free in the Comments section.

Both options combined (£9.00):

To book for the lectures without any refreshments email tickets@popastro.com stating your name, address, membership number if a member, and the number of tickets required.

Alternatively you can book for any of the above options by post by downloading this poster and sending the slip to the address shown with cheque if necessary. All bookings to be made by 24 March 2017.

How to get there

The Convention is in the Hoyle Building, Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA. This link gives a plan of the site. Parking is not allowed on the roadway outside the Hoyle Building. If the visitors’ car park is full, try the additional car park beyond the Hoyle Building. There’s also a park and ride on Madingley Road (the A1303) close to J13 of the M11 – alight at the Cavendish Laboratory bus stop which is very close to the IoA. Click here for a map of a wider area.

NOTE FOR SATNAV USERS: Some satnav systems, when asked for directions to postcode CB3 0HA, instruct drivers to turn up the road to the Observatory/Library Building where there is no public parking and no direct access on foot to the Hoyle Building. Please be aware of this when approaching along Madingley Road and look for the road leading to the Hoyle Building – see the site map above.



Tue, 14 Feb 2017   - Mira the Wonder Star visible with the naked eye

Mon, 06 Feb 2017   - Lunar eclipse this Friday

Mon, 16 Jan 2017   - Vesta at its brightest