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January Meeting 30th 6pm


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Just a reminder that our next Astronomy Society meeting is on Thursday the 30th January.


Start time is 6pm with refreshments from 5:45pm.


Our guest speaker is Liam Harris of Leicester University. Liam is an Astro-biologist who is working with the ExoMars team. ExoMars is the European mission to Mars, searching for signs of life. The talk will be on his involvement with the program and the background into the mission.


Following the talk there will be an opportunity for some observing if the weather allows, including hunting the newly discovered SN in M82.


All are welcome, under 16's must be accompanied by an adult. Non members are asked for a donation of £2 this goes towards the cost of refreshments, members free. Annual membership is now due, forms available on the night. Cost is £10 per year pro rata.

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The Long Eaton School, Thoresby Road, Long Eaton, Nottingham, NG10 3NP


When arriving follow the signs or ask for the rotund.


Numbers are growing slowly, usually 20-30 though. We are hoping this will increase this year after a period of inactivity last year when Hayley moved to London. We have speakers booked every month from now until the end of summer term. Autumn / winter are currently being planned.

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Bum, just checked my diary and i'm on call that evening and booked into the trent university open dome event, but i will try and come in the future.

Have you advertised your meetings with the sky at night magazine, and astronomy now; both will advertise your meetings for free but they need 2 months or so warning for them to get in paper copies of the magazines.

I hope it's well attended; the speaker writes nice articles so i would have been interested to hear him talk.


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I think it's unlikely i'll be there as i can't see that i'll be able to leave work before 5.30 and can't face the drive to long eaton at that time.

But i hope it's a successful event. Do feed back any learning points.


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Fascinating talk by a PhD student, Liam Harris, from Leicester University, on exomars:




The talk covered what we know about Mars, and what we don't know; its atmosphere, presence of water ice, lack of magnetic fields etc. Talked about some of the past missions to Mars and how the various surface probes have landed on the surface, and how space scientists work out how to get space craft there in the first pace rather than miss the planet by a country mile (inter-stellar mile).


A fascinating video (very dramatic and Americanised) about how curiosity landed on Mars:




Liam then talked about what the exomars project was about. He talked about some of the instruments which will be on exomars and which have been withdrawn.


Liam is involved in designing one of the analysers, which works by Raman Scattering. He told us about Raman himself, and how the process works.


The plan is that a drill drills down 2m onto the Martian surface, pulls out a pellet and then sends that pellet to the various analysers. Laim's spectrometer will looks for patterns particular for certain molecules, inorganic and organic, and their relative proportions, to give an idea of whether there was life in the past on Mars, but also to look at the geology etc.


As part of the laboratory work he is doing, is building up a data base of known molecules and their spectrometry profiles here on earth, by taking lots of samples from all over the world and analysing them. The project is less about looking for new molecules, but ascertaining what existing ones are on Mars and in what proportions.


Lots of questions, and most from a very clever kid.


It was a fascinating talk.


I had to then leave, but I believe Mr Perkil8r then gave a talk and a tour which I'll have to hang around for next time.


A really great venue, and a warm welcome and I look forward to supporting these events in the future.



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Nice report James, thanks for the kind words :)


It was nice to see you both there. We actually had 6 new faces last night, but probably 8 or so regulars missing. It looks like the word is slowly spreading, we don't want it to grow too big or too quickly though.

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