Forthcoming meetings

Our regular quarterly meetings are held in London, at the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London. Admission is free to members, and we also welcome newcomers who want to get a taste of what we provide before they join. No need to register – just turn up. 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. 

Saturday 26 January 2019, 2 pm. Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College, London. (details below). 

Queenie Chan
Dr Queenie Chan with a sample of the Zag meteorite. Photo: OU

Dr Queenie Chan of the Open University will speak on Meteorites and the Ingredients for Life.

Earlier this year, the discovery of the ingredients for life in two meteorites that fell 20 years ago made headlines. A team headed at the Open University found compounds such as amino acids and hydrocarbons alongside liquid water within the meteorites, supporting the belief that life could originate elsewhere in the solar system. Queenie Chan, lead author of the paper which announced the discovery, will explain how they reached this conclusion, and explain its exciting implications. She will also bring along some meteorites from the OU’s collection to look at!

After the break, Robin Scagell takes a brief look at what’s coming in the sky for the next few months, then Lee Macdonald explains the Victorian origins of deep-sky photography. The application of photography to astronomy was arguably the most important advance since the invention of the telescope itself, and its foundations were laid during the Victorian era, in urban locations which we would now consider most unsuitable for astronomy!

London meetings will also be held on Saturdays 27 April and 27 July 2019. Details to come.

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

SPA meetings are held on the last Saturday of January, April, July and October, normally in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre of University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.

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. Prior to the meeting, and during the break, refreshments are available in the Refectory, which is on the lower ground floor.

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