Hertford Astronomy Group

2014-15 Programme

September 10
8:00 Roger O'Brien
The growth and development of the cosmos
February 11
8:00 Marcus Allen
Lunar conspiracy theories
October 8
8:00 Chris Woolston
Astronomy since Copernicus
March 11
8:00 Alan Davies
The Science of Rainbows
Stargazing Live – Observing session
Forthcoming solar eclipse.
2015 is the 'Year of light'
November 12
8:00 Roger O'Brien and others
Observation Session
Finding your way around the sky with and without a telescope. Star hopping, setting circles and collimation.
April 8
8:00 Stephen Tonkin
Binocular Astronomy
December 10
8:00 Elias Brinks
Unveiling the invisible sky: the power of radio astronomy
May 13
8:00 AGM followed by
Jerry Stone
Is Pluto a Planet?
January 14 2015 Observation Session - The Hyades,
Pleiades, the Orion Nebula & Jupiter.
Talks if cloudy.
June 10
8:00 Carla Natario
Star formation in our Galaxy

Membership details:

Download application form

Free Weather Widget
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Past, Present and Future Events

What else is going on that might be of interest to you?

Bayfordbury Open Evenings

The next one will be in October 2015

Institute of Physics Lectures University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

Epidemics and Viruses: the mathematics of disease


Julia Gog

Lindop Building

College Lane


Wednesday, April 29 at 7:00pm

Free to attend but as a courtesy drop Diane Crann a note to say you would like to attend.

Meetings held at:

Welwyn Garden City Golf Club


High Oaks Road

Welwyn Garden City



What is an Aurora?

What causes It?

What do we know about the Aurora?

Can we see any from the UK?

What happens at our meetings?

Doors open at 7:30 for the meeting due to start at 8:00 but several club members and friends gather before this to have a drink and chat in the bar.

Following welcome announcements we have a guest speaker who speaks on the subject of the evening for about 45 - 60 minutes.  This is followed by questions relating to the talk.

Announcements about forthcoming events follow.

You can then choose from the following activities:

  1. If the weather is clear telescopes and binoculars brought by members are set up outside for some observation.  Members doing so will be pleased to share their scopes with others.
  2. If you need help with some equipment then now is your chance to bring it in.  Others in our club will be more than willing to help you .  Don’t be shy, we get just as excited about a telescope bought at the charity shop for £20 as we do one costing many times more.
  3. Just socialise with others - about anything!

We look forward to seeing you.

May 13

AGM followed by:

Is Pluto a Planet?

Jerry Stone FBIS

8:00pm - Doors open at 7:30 although the bar is open earlier for a drink

Jerry is a freelance presenter on astronomy and space exploration.  He gave his first talk on space over 45 years ago, whilst he was at school; now he does this all over the UK and abroad.  He has spoken about space at the British Science Festival, the Royal Observatory, the Palace of Westminster, the Royal Institution … and a rock festival!

Pluto will be in the news in 2015 as the New Horizons spacecraft - which has Jerry's name on it - finally reaches Earth’s distant cousin in the outer reaches of the Solar System, after a journey of 9-1/2 years.  But will it actually encounter a planet?

Just 7 months after New Horizons was launched back in January 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted to re-classify Pluto as a Dwarf Planet, resulting in uproar in the astronomical community and starting a controversy that still divides opinion among astronomers and the general public alike.  But does it need to?  Is there not a simple answer?

“Is Pluto A Planet?” covers the thorny question of the status of Pluto.  It looks in detail at the IAU definition of a planet and some of its unexpected - and unintended - consequences.  To give an example, Jerry can show that Jupiter - the biggest object in the Solar System after the Sun - is actually a dwarf planet!  He can also show that it isn’t a planet at all …

So how many planets do we really have?  Is it 8, 21 or maybe only 3?

This is Jerry's most controversial presentation, and includes some things that one astronomer has told him he shouldn’t be saying!

Copies of Jerry's book commemorating the Moon landings - “One Small Step” - will be available, priced £15, which he will be happy to sign.

Author of "One Small Step", commemorating the first men on the Moon

Founder, The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards

President, The Mars Society UK

Leader of The SPACE Project

STEM Science Ambassador

Interplanetary Poet