Using Celestial Signposts
Jan
4
8:00 PM20:00

Using Celestial Signposts

Orion_Hyades_Pleiades.gif

To kick the year off a session primarily aimed at our newer members (but experienced members will also learn a thing or two!) and all about using the constellations and key stars as celestial signposts to those exciting astronomical objects we all like looking at. We’ll also have our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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Observing Multiple stars
Feb
1
8:00 PM20:00

Observing Multiple stars

Learn about the different types of double star and also multiple stars. You’ll need to make sure your scope is in tip-top condition so that you can work at high magnification and resolve those close together ones. We’ll also have our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

Albireo.jpg
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Planetary observing and webcam imaging/processing
Mar
1
8:00 PM20:00

Planetary observing and webcam imaging/processing

The Society’s favourite topic according to the last Questionnaire we carried out! We’ll cover what to observe with each of the planets and we’ll discuss how to image the planets with webcams and software. We’ll also have our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

Saturn.jpg
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Lunar Observing
Apr
5
8:00 PM20:00

Lunar Observing

If planetary observing is the favourite pastime of our members, Lunar Observing runs it a close second. We’ll cover all aspects of lunar observing, from phases to libration, crater formation and tidal locking. And if there are any queries following last month’s session on Planetary imaging with webcams, we can cover some of that ground again. We’ll also have our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

Rupes Recta.jpg
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Astro-imaging exhibition
Jul
5
8:00 PM20:00

Astro-imaging exhibition

Since it’s the time of year when because of long day lengths we can’t really do astronomy, this is your chance to show off your best astro-images taken during the last twelve months. Last year’s exhibition was a major success and resulted in the first WAS Calendar being produced. Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

Exhibition.jpg
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Perseids BBQ
Aug
12
8:00 PM20:00

Perseids BBQ

The Perseid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 12th August 2018. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 23rd July to 20th August. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location is around 80 per hour. The Moon will be out of the way too, so with luck we should see plenty of meteors. 

Perseids.jpg
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Comets and Binocular astronomy
Sep
6
8:00 PM20:00

Comets and Binocular astronomy

We’ll try and combine two topics in this session. Many members do not have scopes but they do have binoculars. We’ll cover the different designs and demonstrate how to use them. And we may be able to see Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner which reaches closest approach on the night of 10th/11th September, after which it rises after midnight. Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

Comet.jpg
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Telescope collimation and polar alignment
Oct
4
8:00 PM20:00

Telescope collimation and polar alignment

Collimation.jpg

As the evenings draw in again, it’s time to get some serious observation and photography in! Now is the time to make sure your scope is in good condition and we’ll run through some of the key steps to get the most out of your instrument. But whenever we come to talk about this, we tend to skim past collimations and polar alignment till right at the end. So we’ve decided to make them a topic in their own right. We’ll talk about tools that can be used for this and software solutions too. Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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Astrophotography workshop – taking the picture – remote imaging – guiding
Nov
1
8:00 PM20:00

Astrophotography workshop – taking the picture – remote imaging – guiding

It’s clear that more and more of our members are at the stage they’d like to dip their toes into the complex business of astrophotography. But even getting to the stage of attaching a camera to your scope can be daunting. It isn’t, and we’ll show you how. And hopefully we’ll be able to take some sort of image on the night. You’ll need to bring scopes and cameras (whether they’re CCDs or DSLRs, or even your smart phones!). Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month

DSLR Astroimaging Setup.jpg
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Astrophotography workshop – image processing
Dec
6
8:00 PM20:00

Astrophotography workshop – image processing

Now for cool part (though some call it the Dark Art!) of processing those astro-images you’ve so carefully and painstakingly taken. For this you’ll need your image files and your computer. You’ll need to have some stacking software on your computer (we shall be demonstrating Deep Sky Stacker). Also we shall be using Adobe Photoshop so you need to have that on your machine as well. We’ll be covering the Levels and Curves routines to bring out the detail of those images and showing you a couple of sharpening techniques to improve those images even further. If you haven’t managed to capture images at this stage we’ll have a few we prepared earlier for you to work with. We may even have time to delve into PixInsight. Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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Astroimaging – Part 2 – Image processing
Dec
7
8:00 PM20:00

Astroimaging – Part 2 – Image processing

Now for the cool part (though some call it the Dark Art!) of processing those astro-images you’ve so carefully and painstakingly taken. For this you’ll need your image files and your computer. You’ll need to have some stacking software on your computer (we shall be demonstrating Deep Sky Stacker). Also we shall be using Adobe Photoshop so you need to have that on your machine as well. We’ll be covering the Levels and Curves routines to bring out the detail of those images and showing you a couple of sharpening techniques to improve those images even further. If you haven’t managed to capture images at this stage we’ll have a few we prepared earlier for you to work with. Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month. Now for the cool part (though some call it the Dark Art!) of processing those astro-images you’ve so carefully and painstakingly taken. For this you’ll need your image files and your computer. You’ll need to have some stacking software on your computer (we shall be demonstrating Deep Sky Stacker). Also we shall be using Adobe Photoshop so you need to have that on your machine as well. We’ll be covering the Levels and Curves routines to bring out the detail of those images and showing you a couple of sharpening techniques to improve those images even further. If you haven’t managed to capture images at this stage we’ll have a few we prepared earlier for you to work with. Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

 

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Astroimaging – Part 1 – Taking the picture
Nov
2
8:00 PM20:00

Astroimaging – Part 1 – Taking the picture

It’s clear that a number of our members are at the stage they’d like to dip their toes into the complex business of astrophotography. But even getting to the stage of attaching a camera to your scope can be daunting. It isn’t, and we’ll show you how. And hopefully we’ll be able to take some sort of image on the night. You’ll need to bring scopes and cameras (whether they’re CCDs or DSLRs, or even you smart phones!). Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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Telescope maintenance and set up
Sep
7
8:00 PM20:00

Telescope maintenance and set up

As the evenings draw in again, it’s time to get some serious observation and photography in! Now is the time to make sure your scope is in good condition and we’ll run through some of the key steps to get the most out of your instrument. Plus our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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Perseid BBQ - Woodrow House (by WAS Observatory)
Aug
12
8:00 PM20:00

Perseid BBQ - Woodrow House (by WAS Observatory)

The Perseid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 12th August 2017. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 23rd July to 20th August. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location is around 80 per hour. The Moon will be 21 days old at the time of peak activity, and so will present significant interference in the pre-dawn sky. 

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Solar astronomy (Wednesday instead of Thursday)
May
3
8:00 PM20:00

Solar astronomy (Wednesday instead of Thursday)

** on Wednesday instead of Thursday**

There is probably still time for you to book a ticket to the USA to witness the total eclipse which will take place on 21st August 2017 and will be visible in a band right across the United States – the last time that happened was before their Independence! We’ll only see a partial eclipse here in the UK and then not all of it because the sun will set before it is complete. We’ll cover the practical and safety aspects of solar viewing and imaging. And, of course we’ll have our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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Constellations, key stars and finding objects
Apr
6
8:00 PM20:00

Constellations, key stars and finding objects

A session primarily aimed at our newer members (but experienced members will also learn a thing or two!) and all about using the constellations and key stars as celestial signposts to those exciting astronomical objects we all like looking at. We’ll also have our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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Cosmic Kidz & Star Gazing Live
Apr
2
2:15 PM14:15

Cosmic Kidz & Star Gazing Live

The planetarium

The planetarium

The spacesuit

The spacesuit

Our Cosmic Kidz event is back by popular demand and this year we are incorporating it with the BBC's Stargazing Live which will be returning to our televisions at the end of March.
 
For children and adults - come and experience the planetarium with shows being run throughout the afternoon. See science experiments and wear a genuine space suit. Look down the microscopes and see a variety of telescopes. There will be mini talks on astronomy, members photographs to look at, a competition and raffle with some super prizes!
 
The venue is Amersham School, Stanley Hill, Amersham, HP79HH
 
Time 2.15 to 5.30pm
 
Cost £5 per person (children and adults)
 
If the weather is clear there will be observing in the school grounds between 8 and 10pm
Download the event flyer

Purchase tickets online - see tickets to the right of the page.

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Alternatively, tickets can be bought on the day but please register your interest by completing the form below and click the Register button.

 

 

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Helen Fraser - "The Cosmic Chemical Cauldron"
Mar
15
8:00 PM20:00

Helen Fraser - "The Cosmic Chemical Cauldron"

In regions of space where stars and planets are forming, there are a plethora of molecules. It turns out that our molecular universe plays a key role in governing the processes that lead to star and planet format. But why is chemistry in space so important? In this talk we'll go on a journey from interstellar space to early solar systems, to see how chemistry helps us to understand the astrophysics of star and planet formation, and the potential for the origins of life itself.

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Messier Objects
Mar
2
8:00 PM20:00

Messier Objects

This is the time of year where in one night you can see almost all the Messier Objects. We’ll run through some of them and if we’re lucky with the weather even see some of them. As an aside, we shall also be covering the planet Mercury – the best chance to observe this planet will be between the middle of March until the end of the first week of April, for it will set around 20.00 UT (21.00 BST). The best dates for this will be from the 29th March to the 1st April, because in the same region will be Mars and the young crescent New Moon. We’ll also have our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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Webcam imaging of the Moon (and Planets)
Feb
2
8:00 PM20:00

Webcam imaging of the Moon (and Planets)

Coming up on 10th/11th February there will be a Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon. There are three kinds of lunar eclipses: total, partial and penumbral. A penumbral eclipse is very subtle. At no time does a dark bite appear to be taken out of the moon. Instead, at mid-eclipse, observant people will notice a shading on the moon’s face. They might say the moon looks strange. Others will notice nothing at all. We’ll use this as a background to discuss webcam imaging and processing. We’ll also have our regular items – planetary round-up, Cullen Objects and a Book of the Month.

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