The new issue of The Sky at Night magazine, available in newsagents now, comes with a free gift – a planisphere!
But what’s it like?
All you need to know here…
(Spoiler: it’s very good, go get one!)
Last Wednesday we were delighted and honoured to have a very special guest speaker – Thomas Ormston, from the European Space Agency. There was a good turnout for the meeting, and the members who came along were able to take home with them a large selection of ESA material – posters, booklets and leaflets – which Thomas had very kindly arranged to be sent to us in advance…
But back to the talk! Thomas very generously gave up a night of his precious holiday time in the Lakes to come to Kendal Museum to give us a fascinating and very entertaining presentation describing what it’s like to work at ESA. We heard just how difficult and challenging it is to operate and control the spacecraft flown by ESA, how they are planned and launched, how they are rescued if things go wrong with them and long a process it is to get them to do – well, just about anything!
Thomas is a very gifted speaker, and his presentation was a masterclass in how to entertain, educate and inspire an audience. Everyone who came to the meeting learned an enormous amount and what ESA is and does, its history, its many successes to date – including an update on the end of the ROSETTA mission – and its bold and ambitious plans for the future, such as the ExoMars mission. There were lots of questions afterwards, always a sign of a good speaker, and then, totally out of the blue, Thomas surprised me by presenting me with this, a model of Comet 67P, as a “thank you” from ESA for my Outreach work on their behalf, which I will treasure forever…
After the meeting Thomas and his wife Mila joined some of us in the pub across the road for a couple of drinks, to thank him for his excellent talk, and he was happy to answer lots more questions…
I think everyone who came along to the meeting last week will agree it was one of our best ever, so thanks to everyone who came along to support it – as I’ve said many times before, it’s always great for a visiting speaker to see a big audience when they arrive – and special thanks to Anna Hall for opening up the Museum for us, making the event possible in the first place. And, of course, a huge thank you to Thomas for taking time out of his holiday to come and speak to us. We really appreciated it.
Many thanks to all the members who came along to our September meeting at Kendal Museum last Monday.
Simon White started off the evening by looking forward to the first “Observing Night” of the new season, describing what can be seen in the night sky at the moment and reminding everyone to keep checking the blog for updates on the date of the next observing night. Looking forward to that, Simon!
Next, EAS Secretary Stuart Atkinson gave a round-up of the latest astronomy and space news, including the exciting discovery of a planet around Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, and the timely discovery of the PHILAE lander on the surface of comet 67P, just weeks before the ROSETTA mission comes to an end.
After the break we were delighted to welcome friend of the Society JEREMY HUNT back as our guest speaker. Jeremy very kindly came down from Cockermouth at short notice (i.e. 24 hrs!) after our scheduled speaker had to cancel, unavoidably. Jeremy gave us a very enjoyable and informative talk about astro-photography, describing the equipment and techniques he uses to take his beautiful photographs, both from his own home observatory and when he’s away on holiday too. We were all very grateful to Jeremy for helping us out and everyone really enjoyed his talk. Several members interested in astro-photography were positively drooling at his spectacular photos!
Our next meeting is this coming Wednesday, when we have the pleasure of welcoming THOMAS ORMSTON, from the European Space Agency, as our guest speaker at a special out-of-programme meeting. Full details on that in a separate post on this blog.
An update on what’s happening Wednesday evening..
On Wednesday evening there will be a special “out of programme” meeting of the Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal, for a presentation by Thomas Ormston from the European Space Agency. The meeting will be held at Kendal Museum, as usual, and will start at 7pm sharp. There will be a £2 per head charge to go towards room hire costs.
Some info about the talk:
“Tales from a spacecraft cockpit: behind the scenes at the European Space Agency”. – Thomas Ormston, ESA
“We’re used to the most amazing images and data from spacecraft that orbit our planet and travel beyond to the furthest reaches of our solar system. In this talk you will find out what goes on behind the scenes at the European Space Agency and all the work that goes on to keep the machines flying and the data flowing. How do we get a picture from Mars? Do we use a joystick? Is it really like Apollo 13? You’ll find all this out and more, along with a summary of the latest news and results from ESA’s missions including the upcoming end of Rosetta’s mission and the arrival of ExoMars at the Red Planet.”
This is a VERY rare treat for us, a fantastic opportunity to hear a real expert talk, someone on the front line of space exploration by ESA, and it has taken a lot of organising, so it would be good to have a REALLY good turn-out for this event. If you can make it, please do.
I should also add that Thomas has arranged for a big – and I mean big – package of ESA material (booklets posters etc) to be sent to us, so if you come along you will go home with lots of fascinating info from the European Space Agency.
Look forward to seeing lots of you at the Museum on Wednesday night!
All Members please note – our guest speaker scheduled for the September meeting has had to cancel for personal reasons, so the second half of our meeting will feature an alternative speaker or activity.