La Société Guernesiaise Astronomy Section

Calendar of events in 2018

The last Tuesday meeting of the year will be held on Tuesday, the 11th December. There will be no meetings on the 18th and 25th December, nor on the 1st January 2019. Next meeting on Tuesday, the 8th January.


The Section’s annual Sagittarius newsletter will be issued around the New Year.


Astronomy Section members enjoyed the annual Christmas dinner at Moore’s Hotel on Tuesday, the 4th December.



On 14 November the Channel Island Group of Professional Engineers hosted a lecture by Dr Sami Mikhail, University of St Andrews, entitled: Why Earth developed into the crucible of life, and Venus into a hostile wasteland.


On 04 October Frank Dowding gave a talk entitled Exploring Mars, at the Guernsey Museum, in association with the Photographic Festival’s exhibition artistic exhibition by Xavier Barral: Mars a photographic exploration.


On 19 July we enjoyed a lecture entitled The Sun and Climate Change by Dr Robin Catchpole of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge.

On 14 August there was an excellent lecture entitled Proving Einstein Right by Professor Ian Morison of Jodrell Bank Observatory.



The Open Evening on Thursday, 01 November had a halloween theme, with bats and creepy crawlies, and was well attended by some 200 adults and children.


At the Open Evening of Thursday, 16 August we welcomed special guest astronomer, Robin Scagell, who gave talks and advice.


An Open Day was held on Bank Holiday Monday, 28 May from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm, to observe the Sun using safe equipment, including the Observatory’s special heliostat. There were also be talks and PowerPoint presentations.



Members meet each regular Tuesday evening from around 8.00 pm. Starting at 9.00 pm a discussion usually takes place on a topic led by a member. Suggestions for new topics are welcome, as are offers to lead discussions. These are informal, often with frequent reference to the Internet, and all members present are welcome to contribute to the discussion. The list of planned discussions appears below, and a list of previous discussions appears near the bottom of this page.


If the sky is clear the discussion period may be abandoned in favour of observing, either particular objects suggested by members, or some of the interesting objects listed in the text book Celestial Objects for Modern Telescopes by Michael Covington.


Some possible future discussion topics:

Mars Exploration: Curiosity and Beyond - with Anita Sengupta (Royal Institution lecture)

Spectroscopy in astronomy – Part 1, Visible light (led by Colin Spicer)

Thomas Wright of Durham (led by Jason Hill)

Gravitational waves (led by Jason Hill)

It's about time! (the adoption of GMT) (led by David Le Conte)
The Liberation Monument (led by David Le Conte)
The Moon illusion (led by David Le Conte)

Stereoscopic views of the universe (led by David Le Conte)

Apollo 8 – The 50th anniversary (led by David Le Conte)

Aurora (led by David Le Conte)



The Astronomy Section welcomes a limited number of group visits, by prior arrangement.  See our introduction page for details.



This popular six-week introduction to astronomy started on Thursday 08 February. This is the 17th consecutive year of the course, which has always been fully subscribed.



This new course, led by Jean Dean, started at the Observatory on 05 May. It is a practical course running on Saturdays for five weeks.


The members’ annual barbecue and Perseid meteor count will be held at the Observatory in August on a date to be decided.



The following is a list of topics previously discussed (in reverse chronological order).



05 June            Assembly of NexStar telescope

29 May            Discussion about purchase of NexStar telescope

22 May            General discussion

15 May            General discussion

08 May            General discussion

01 May            General discussion

24 April           General discussion

17 April           Discussion about astrophotography workshop

10 April           General discussion

03 April           Astronaut Mike Massimo. Royal Institution interview.

27 March         Newtonian cosmology (led by Peter Langford)

20 March         The Saros (led by David Le Conte)

13 March         Observing (Ceres)

06 March         Next generation space vehicles (led by Frank Dowding)

27 February     No meeting because of snow

20 February     Astronavigation (led by Jason Hill)

13 February     Annual Business Meeting

06 February     Launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy

30 January       General discussion

23 January       The Concept of Mass. Royal Institution lecture by Jim Baggott

16 January       General discussion

09 January       The Bethlehem Star (led by David Le Conte)

02 January       No meeting



26 December   No meeting

19 December   No meeting

12 December   The Planets. Royal Institution Christmas Lecture No.6, 1977, by Carl Sagan

05 December   Christmas dinner at La Grande Mare Hotel. No meeting.

28 November  The Planets. Royal Institution Christmas Lecture No.5, 1977, by Carl Sagan

21 November  The Planets. Royal Institution Christmas Lecture No.4, 1977, by Carl Sagan

14 November  Some old astronomy books (led by David Le Conte)

07 November  The Planets. Royal Institution Christmas Lecture No.3, 1977, by Carl Sagan

31 October      Administrative discussion

24 October      Molecules with sunglasses – third form of carbon (led by Colin Spicer)

17 October      The Planets. Royal Institution Christmas Lecture No.2, 1977, by Carl Sagan

10 October      The Planets. Royal Institution Christmas Lecture No.1, 1977, by Carl Sagan

03 October      Reorganisation of La Société (led by Colin Spicer)

26 September  The Great American Eclipse (David Le Conte, Elaine Mahy, Jason Monaghan, Tim Langlois)

19 September  Astronomy Section website (led by Tom Harvey)

12 September  A Journey to the centre of the Sun – Lucie Green at the Royal Institution answers questions (Colin Spicer)

05 September  A Journey to the centre of the Sun – Lucie Green at the Royal Institution (Colin Spicer)

29 August       General discussion

22 August       A Journey to the centre of the Sun – Lucie Green at the Royal Institution (Colin Spicer)

15 August       General discussion.

08 August       Summer skies (led by Geoff Falla)

01 August       Cassini and Huygens at Saturn (led by Frank Dowding)

25 July Power cut!

18 July Space tracking in the Apollo era (David Le Conte)

11 July Video: Sean Caroll & Jennifer Oulette: Black hole firewalls, part 2

04 July General discussion

27 June            Video: Sean Caroll & Jennifer Oulette: Black hole firewalls, part 1

20 June            Discussion and observing

13 June            Discussion and observing

06 June            Orbital Elements (led by David Le Conte)

30 May            Discussion and observing

23 May            Newton’s Laws of Motion and Classical Mechanics (led by Colin Spicer and Jason Hill)  

16 May            YouTube Richard Feynman lecture

09 May            Liberation Day – Meeting but no discussion

02 May         Observing

25 April           Globular Clusters (led by Frank Dowding)

18 April           Observing

11 April           Observing

04 April           Visit of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor Vice-Admiral Sir Ian Corder and Lady Corder

28 March         Mini-Messier Marathon

21 March         Observing with the new equipment: Go To Mount, All-Sky Camera, and Planetary Camera

14 March         NASA ScienceCasts (see

07 March         International Space Station update (led by Frank Dowding))

28 February     James Clerk Maxwell - 2 (led by Colin Spicer)

21 February     James Clerk Maxwell - 1 (led by Colin Spicer)

14 February     Observing and imaging (beautiful clear night)

07 February     Introduction to image processing (led by Jean Dean)

31 January       Annual Business Meeting (start)

24 January       Astronomical highlights 2017 (led by David Le Conte)

17 January       Packing of newsletter

10 January       Open discussion

03 January       No meeting



27 December   No meeting

20 December   No meeting

13 December   General discussion

06 December   Christmas dinner at Moore’s hotel

29 November  The Twin Paradox

22 November  The Oort Cloud

15 November  The Foucault Pendulum

08 November  8.30 pm DSLR Astrophotography

01 November  ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

25 October      Ancient astronomers

18 October      8.30 pm. Telescope training

11 October      H-R diagram

04 October      Fred Hoyle

27 September  Tides

20 September  Neptune

13 September  Stars and objects of the autumn sky

06 September  Astronomy apps

30 August       Planispheres

23 August       Collimation

16 August       Astrophotography

09 August       Barbecue and Perseid meteor count

02 August       Tycho Brahe

26 July X-ray Astronomy

19 July             Kuiper Belt

12 July Highlights of the STARMUS Festival in Tenerife

05 July Summer sky stars and objects
28 June            Dark matter and dark energy

21 June            The celestial sphere

14 June            Mars
07 June            Saturn and its moons
31 May            Radio Astronomy

24 May            Edmond Halley
17 May            Virgo & Bootes
10 May            Transit of Mercury results
03 May            Sundials
26 April           Filters used for telescopes and cameras

19 April           Leo – a prominent constellation in the sky at this time
12 April           Exoplanets
05 April           Transits of Mercury
29 March         The Soyuz rocket

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 This page was last updated on 2018 December 07