We are holding only online meetings until further notice.
Online meeting, Saturday 24 April at 2 pm
Prof Geraint H Jones, UCL-MSSL: The Comet Interceptor Mission.
In 2019, the European Space Agency selected its latest planetary mission: the three-spacecraft Comet
Due for launch in 2029, the mission’s aim is to target a new comet that is approaching the Sun, preferably for the first time. All previous missions have studied comets that have been altered by passing the Sun many times, but so far we lack data on a pristine long-period comet, fresh from the Oort Cloud. So this mission will be launched to lie in wait for a suitable comet to come along.
The mission will comprise a main spacecraft and two smaller probes, one of which will be provided by the Japanese space agency, JAXA. The talk will explore the challenges of planning a mission to an unknown target, and the exciting measurements that the mission team plan to make. It will also briefly cover the important contributions that amateur astronomers can make to our understanding of comets. Geraint Jones is the Mission Principal Investigator for Comet Interceptor, with a team that extends across Europe and Japan.
In addition, Robin Scagell will give a short presentation on what’s coming in the sky for the next three months.
The link to this Zoom webinar will be sent to members in advance. Alternatively you can view it on the SPA’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/popastro.
Online meetings will also be held on Saturdays 31 July and 30 October 2021 at 2 pm.
Friday Night Live with Vicky Video
Our own chat-show host Vicky Duncalf runs a live event on the SPA’s Facebook page usually on Friday evenings, from 8 to 9 pm. This is a chat show rather than a regular meeting, and as well as interesting guests from the world of astronomy there are quizzes and the chance to win some SPA merchandise! You also have the opportunity to chat or ask questions online.
Online meeting on 30 January 2021 with Dr Stephen Feeney on The Hubble Constant: Cosmology in Crisis.
Online SPA meeting with Dr Susanne Schwenzer, Saturday 25 July 2020: Curiosity at Gale Crater
Dr Susanne Schwenzer explains how NASA’s Curiosity probe has been exploring the geology of Gale Crater on Mars.
Online SPA meeting with Prof Lucie Green, Saturday 23 May 2020: Solar update
We are currently at a minimum of solar activity. But what causes the Sun to vary its activity level, and when can we expect the next maximum?
You can view a recording of this meeting in full at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoXJTIV58_4
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!