Forthcoming meetings

Online meeting: Saturday 29 January at 2 pm

Annual General Meeting (members only)

followed by the ordinary meeting with Prof Geraint H Jones, (UCL-MSSL) on the Comet Interceptor Mission.


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.

After a break, Robin Scagell will give a short presentation on what’s coming in the sky for the next three months. Then our Planetary Section director, Alan Clitherow, will be looking at recent amateur contributions to planetary science. Even as spacecraft orbit the planets and the Hubble Space Telescope sends back images from space that are more detailed than anything obtainable from Earth, amateur astronomers using telescopes in their back gardens can still make discoveries.

Note: it was intended to hold this meeting in-person at the Institute of Physics, but we have been told that the building will be undergoing refurbishment so this meeting will now be held online. A link to the Zoom webinar will be made available to members in advance.

Saturday, 30 April at 2 pm at the Institute of Physics, 37 Caledonian Road, London N1 9BU

The speaker will be Professor Graziella Branduardi-Raymont (UCL-MSSL) on the subject of Exploring the Solar System in X-rays. 

SPA meetings will also be held on Saturdays 30 July and 29 October 2022 at 2 pm.  Details will be posted here in due course.

Pop Astro Live with Vicky Video

Our own chat-show host Vicky Duncalf runs a live event on the SPA’s Facebook page currently on Tuesday 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 occasionally the chance to win some SPA merchandise! You also have the opportunity to chat or ask questions online. Also available on

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!