La Société Guernesiaise Astronomy Section

Calendar of events in 2017



At members’ regular Tuesday evening meetings various topics are discussed, usually starting at 9.00 pm (some earlier as indicated below). 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 following is a list of topics previously discussed and planned for the future in 2017 (in reverse chronological order):


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

02 January 2018  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, 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       TBD

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


For the record, here is a list of the topics discussed in 2016 (in chronological order):

29 March         The Soyuz rocket
05 April           Transits of Mercury
12 April           Exoplanets
19 April           Leo – a prominent constellation in the sky at this time
26 April           Filters used for telescopes and cameras
03 May            Sundials
10 May            Transit of Mercury results
17 May            Virgo & Bootes
24 May            Edmond Halley
31 May            Radio Astronomy
07 June            Saturn and its moons
14 June            Mars
21 June            The celestial sphere
28 June            Dark matter and dark energy

05 July             Summer sky stars and objects
12 July             Highlights of the STARMUS Festival in Tenerife

19 July             Kuiper Belt

26 July             X-ray Astronomy

02 August       Tycho Brahe

09 August       Barbecue and Perseid meteor count

16 August       Astrophotography

23 August       Collimation

30 August       Planispheres

06 September  Astronomy apps

13 September  Stars and objects of the autumn sky

20 September  Neptune

27September   Tides

04 October      Fred Hoyle

11 October      H-R diagram

18 October      8.30 pm. Telescope training

25 October      Ancient astronomers

01 November  ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

08 November  8.30 pm DSLR Astrophotography

15 November  The Foucault Pendulum

22 November  The Oort Cloud

29 November  The Twin Paradox

06 December   Christmas dinner at Moore’s hotel

13 December   Open discussion

20 December   No meeting

27 December   No meeting


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


On Wednesday, 15th November at the Princess Royal Centre for the Performing Arts there was a lecture about Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory Rover, by Professor Sanjeev Gupta, a geologist at Imperial College and a Participating Scientist in the Curiosity mission. His role is to analyse sedimentary rocks on Mars and determine if it could ever have been habitable for life. The lecture was organised by the Channel Islands Group of Professional Engineers.


On Thursday, 28th September Professor David Hughes of Sheffield University gave a lecture at the Frossard Lecture Theatre entitled Mysteries of the Solar System. He  discussed some of the many problems we still face when trying to decide why certain things in the solar system are as they are. He also gave a lecture at Elizabeth College about the planets, and went on to Sark and Jersey to give lectures there.


The final open evening of the year was held on Thursday, 26 October from 6.30 pm. It was Halloween themed, with children in mind, being during half-term. The Astronomy Section was joined by groups detecting moths and bats, as well as the Junior Section. It was a great success with about 200 people attending, including many children.


Open evenings were held every Thursday after dark from 27 July to 31August. Some were cloudy or partially cloudy, but some good views of the Moon and Saturn were obtained, as well as some deep-sky objects, the sky sometimes clearing after most people had left!


The open day held on Bank Holiday Monday, 29 May, to observe the Sun was unfortunately clouded (and rained!) out. However, we had equipment set up, showed a PowerPoint presentation, and was able to explain them to the three dozen or so people who came, including a number of children. We also did a live BBC Radio Guernsey interview, and one with a reporter and photographer from the Guernsey Press. Thank you to the dozen members who attended this event.



This was held on Tuesday, 05 December at La Grande Mare Hotel.



Going to Alderney? Check the regular star parties led by Michael Maunder. Details here.


The members’ annual barbecue and Perseid meteor count was held at the Observatory on Friday, 11 August. Unfortunately it was too cloudy for meteor observation.


The Astronomy Section’s Annual Business Meeting was held on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 at the Observatory. Officers were elected, and decisions were made about purchase of equipment, activities for the year, etc.



This popular six-week introduction to astronomy was run at the Observatory on Thursday evenings from 02 February to 09 March 2017. The WEA brochure is available at the WEA website. This was the 16th year of the course. As usual it was run by members of the Astronomy Section of La Société Guernesiaise, and was fully subscribed. We are grateful to the WEA for a donation to the Astronomy Section’s funds for running this course.



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 This page was last updated on 2018 January 05