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. 

Hubble Deep field
Part of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field – a very long exposure of a very small part of the sky, showing extremely distant galaxies. Credit STScI

Saturday, 25 April 2-5 pm. Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College, London. (details below)
Dr Stephen Feeney (UCL) will talk about The Hubble Constant: a Crisis in Cosmology

Ever since the expansion of the Universe was discovered in the early 20th century, the precise rate of the expansion, the Hubble Constant, has been a continuous source of controversy. The Hubble Constant is a unique cosmological parameter, as we can measure it directly by observing objects in the nearby Universe, and also predict it using the standard cosmological model and measurements of the cosmic microwave background. When we do so, we find the direct measurement and model prediction completely disagree. This could mean our cosmological model is incomplete, and requires new, exotic physics such as early-onset dark energy; however, it could also stem from deficiencies in our understanding of the data.

The precise cause of this “tension” is the subject of intense debate in the field. In this talk, Stephen will present the history of measurements of the Hubble Constant, review the current status of the tension and the community’s attempts to explain it, and consider the potential for upcoming datasets, in particular gravitational wave observations, to arbitrate the dispute.

In the second half of the meeting, following Robin Scagell’s brief guide to what’s up in the sky for the next three months, the inimitable Greg Smye-Rumsby will talk about Myths and Illusions – all about things that have fooled us over the many years of astronomical discovery and understanding, from inhabitants of the Moon and Mars to why even spiral galaxies are an illusion.

Meetings of the society will also take place in 2020 on 25 July and 31 October.

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. Meetings close at 5 pm.

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