Talks for Astronomical Societies
Duration: Talks typically last for about an hour, which includes about 15 minutes for questions/discussion, but this can be varied if you wish.
Cost: I do not charge a fee to Astronomical Societies, but ask that the cost of travel from base (nr Fordingbridge, Hants) at actual public transport cost or AA "running costs" rate (depending on transport used) and, if appropriate, overnight accommodation, is met by the Astronomical Society.
Queries/Booking: See the bottom of this page.
*NEW* Are We Alone?
In 1961, Frank Drake introduced his eponymous equation. In the half-century since then, we have a much better idea of the likely values of some of the parameters. This talk examines the state of play with respect to SETI and potentially habitable exoplanets, and examines our current understanding of the likelihood of there being similar planets to Earth. It "reboots" the Drake Equation in the light of these developments.
The Star of Bethlehem
Many theories abound for the Star of Bethlehem. In this talk, we look at the actual evidence and the historical context, and discuss some recent astrological and astronomical interpretations, before arriving at some definitive conclusions about the story.
Ten Ways the Universe Tries to Kill You
From gamma-ray bursts to asteroid impacts, an overview of cataclysmic events. This light-hearted but scientifically robust approach incorporates a lot of fundamental cosmological processes, from stellar evolution to galactic interaction. It is appropriate for both beginning and intermediate amateur astronomers.
The binocular is not limited to being a beginner's instrument and an adjunct to a telescope, but is an exceptionally valuable astronomical instrument in its own right. Discover how to choose and use binoculars for astronomy. I will bring a number of binoculars and mounting options for the "hands on" experience. Because of this, quite a lot of space is needed (see video), so the talk may be unsuitable for smaller venues. I also need to be able to park at the venue to unload kit. Please contact me prior to booking if space or parking may be an "issue".
(Video taken impromptu on a cheap point-and-shoot camera, so quality leaves a lot to be desired!)
From Myths to Maths
This illustrated talk traces the development of ideas about the cosmos from the dawn of history to the 1st Century CE.
And Yet it Moves
Galileo famously muttered, "And yet, it moves." There was, however, no direct evidence of this until almost a century after his death, when James Bradley accidentally discovered the aberration of starlight whilst trying to determine stellar distances. This talk traces the story of heliocentricity.
Time and Calendars
The measurement of time has always been a facet of Astronomy. The phases in the development of the Gregorian calendar most (but not all!) of us use today make a fascinating story which blends science, history, sociology, religion and psychology.
If you have any queries prior to booking, please to email me using your default email client.