Public Talks

Monthly Talks on Astronomical Topics of Interest

Monthly Public Talks

Our popular monthly talks are for members and the public to learn about some aspects of astronomy. These talks are aimed at ‘middle of the road’ level so the talk will appeal to members of the public with no prior knowledge, newcomers as well as those who have been interested in the subject for a number of years.

Topics from imaging the night sky, through to Cosmology, we invite speakers from all over the UK and the World.

We make a small charge on the door of £3.00 to cover our expenses

Our local venue:

Clanfield Memorial Hall,
South Lane,

If you wish to view this location on MultiMap please click here

All talks start at 7:45pm unless otherwise stated

Friday, 9th December 2016

Herschel’s Incredibly Cool Universe

A talk by Dr Chris Pearson

Cost: £3 for non-members

The Herschel Space Observatory was launched in 2009 and was the largest telescope ever put into space. The UK held a major share in the mission, assembling and testing one of the key instruments called SPIRE. Herschel looks at our Universe in infrared light, illuminating young stars being born and entire galaxies in the process of creation. I will introduce the Herschel mission, explaining why it was so important to astronomy and lead you through the story of our infrared Universe as seen by Herschel. We will travel from the distant reaches of the observable Universe looking at the cradles of creation, through spectacular images of our own Galaxy, right to the doorstep to our very own Solar System and the components that went into making life on Earth.

Dr Pearson's PhD was in “Galaxy Evolution and Cosmology" with Prof. Michael Rowan-Robinson Imperial College, London.

He has worked on cosmological galaxy surveys at infrared wavelengths for both ground based telescopes and space borne missions. He worked for 7 years in Japan on the AKARI space telescope before moving to the UK to RAL Space to work on the SPIRE instrument on the Herschel Space Observatory where he leads the team that produces all the nice maps from SPIRE .

Friday, 13th January 2017

Protecting Space for Future Generations

A talk by Professor Richard Crowther

Cost: £3 to non-members


This talk will discuss the issue of space debris and consider the technical and policy challenges that confront space actors when dealing with the growing man-made collision hazard. Professor Crowther will introduce concepts of Congested, Competed and Contested space in terms of growth in the space population, the competition for orbital slots/spectrum, and the possibility of an arms race in outer space. The talk will explain how governments are positioning themselves to respond re Safety (mission level subjective practices), Sustainability (longer term objective measures) and Security (explanation of the threat, emergence of tiered responses). Finally the talk will examine the intersections of these issues such as shared space, Space Situational Awareness and the emergence of Space Servicing/Recovery Missions.

Friday, 10th February 2017

Isaac Newton and the Surrey Pumas

A talk by Mike Frost, BAA Historical Section Director

Cost: £3 for non-members

An offbeat look at Newton's theory of gravity - featuring hollow Earths, counter-Earths Trojan asteroids, Kirkwood gaps, Lagrangian nodes, the three-body problem, and those mysterious beasts rumoured to haunt Surrey playing fields and Bodmin Moor. 

A quirky talk this month, delivered by the BAA Historical Section Director. Mike has previously delivered this talk on two continents!


Friday, 10th March 2017

Title TBC

A talk by Michael Maunder

Cost: £3 for non-members

Friday, 21st April 2017


A talk by Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Cost: £3 for non-members

The talk details are to be confirmed.

Please note that this talk is on the 3rd Friday, not the usual 2nd Friday.

Friday, 9th June 2017

Title TBC

A talk by Dr Aprajita Verma

Cost: £3 to non-members

Dr Verma, from Oxford University, is part of the team working on the European Extremely Large Telescope.

Friday, 14th July 2017

Title TBC

A talk by Professor Giovanna Tinetti

Cost: £3 for non-members

Giovanna Tinetti is a Professor of Astrophysics at University College London. Details of her tallk will be announced in the future.

Friday, 13th October 2017

Title TBA

A talk by Professor Lucie Green

Cost: £3 for non-members

Ray Bootland Memorial Lecture

Professor Green will deliver our Memorial Lecture this year.

Friday, 10th November 2017

Astrobiology : Tour of the Solar System

A talk by William Joyce

Cost: £3 to non-members

Details to be added.