Forthcoming meetings

Saturday, 29 April 2023, 2 pm – 5 pm. Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London, Gower St, London WC1.

This artist’s concept shows a young star surrounded by a dusty protoplanetary disc. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Our main speaker is Prof Paola Pinilla (UCL-MSSL), on Probing planet formation around other stars.

In recent years there has been an explosion in the discovery of exoplanets – planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. For example, NASA’s Kepler mission alone discovered more than 2,500 and today we know that planets are as common as stars are in our Universe. The growing number of exoplanets in our catalogues means we understand better the characteristics of planets in general, which in turn is leading to new discoveries in how planets actually form in the dusty gas surrounding young stars. Paola Pinilla is leading efforts to understand planet formation and will join us to speak about her work investigating the first steps of planet formation using simulations of gas and dust evolution around young stars, and what we learn by comparing the simulation results with multi-wavelength observations from different telescopes.

After a break, Robin Scagell will highlight the events coming up in the sky for the next three months, and then the director of our Solar Section, John Chapman-Smith will talk about the section’s observations of the Sun during the run-up to solar maximum in 2025.

Details of how to get to the venue are shown lower on this page. Doors open 1:30 pm and the meeting closes at 5 pm. The meeting will also be available to members on Zoom. The link will be emailed to members in advance of the meeting. 

SPA meetings will also be held on Saturday 29 July 2023 at UCL and Saturday 28 October. Details to be announced.

Sunday, 21 May. Starting from Scratch: Astrophotography for Beginners

Humfrey Rooms, Castilian Terrace, Northampton

A complete overview of astrophotography and astroimaging, from basic star trails to planetary and deep-sky imaging through a telescope. Discount rate for SPA and BAA members.

Speakers: Mary McIntyre, Dave Eagle, Robin Scagell

For more details and for how to book, please see this page.

BAA meetings

In a reciprocal agreement, SPA members are welcome at meetings of the British Astronomical Association. Forthcoming BAA meetings are as follows:

Wednesday 29th Mar 2023

A Special General Meeting on Wednesday 29th March 2023 from 17:00 to 20:00 at the Institute of Physics, 37 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9BU.

Preliminary Programme

Prof Alan Harris – (via Zoom) “The Truth about Near-Earth Asteroids: There’s Good News and Bad”

John Rogers – Jupiter

Mike Foulkes doing Sky Notes

Saturday 13th May 2023

BAA Spring Meeting – Cosmology: Galaxies and Stars

The BAA will be holding their spring meeting in Cardiff on Saturday 13 May 2023 from 10:00 to 18:00, on the topic of Cosmology: Galaxies and Stars.

You can book your place here on Ticket Tailor. Details of the SPA member discount will be published in the May issue of Popular Astronomy.

Ticket prices

Adult: £9 with BAA member discount or £12 to non-members

Under 16: £6 with BAA member discount or £8 to non-members

The speakers will be:

Prof Mark Birkinshaw
Dr Timothy A Davis
Dr. Ana Duarte Cabral
Dr Nicolas Peretto
Dr Patricia Schmidt – Gravitational Waves: Messengers from the stellar graveyard


How to get to the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre

The nearest tube station is Euston Square (Circle and Metropolitan lines). Turn left on leaving the barrier, which brings you to the top of Gower Street. Walk 150 m down Gower Street and the entrance to UCL is on your left.
Enter the quadrangle and cross to the door on the far right. This area is publicly accessible, and there is no need to sign in or report to security. 

Climb the stairs to your right to the 2nd floor, or take the nearby lift.
The Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre is nearby, with its main entrance through double doors. There are a few steps up to this, but there is a wheelchair lift should it be needed.

About the meetings

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.  Meetings start at 2 pm (doors open 1:30 pm) and continue until 5 pm.

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


Meeting videos

You can view videos of the main talks at previous 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!