Federation of Astronomical Societies Annual Convention 2017

Ed and I are here in Birmingham University for the GAS annual convention. This is the first time I have been here after Dave gave such a good write-up of the meeting last year. At only  £5 it is also one of the cheapest astronomical conferences you can go to – and local to us in Staffordshire and Derbyshire too.

There are around 100-150 attendees from a range of Astronomic3al Societies that are members of FAS. The talks are excellent from a range of highly qualified university based astronomy departments. Lots of professors! This makes it quite a different animal from other astronomical conferences for amateurs which tend to use either amateur astronomy lecturers or more junior departmental staff. It therefiee compliments those events well. The current prestigious bunch tend to drop in interesting bits of information that I had heard of before – such as the problem of light scatter experienced by GAIA. The talks today were theoretical and about astronomical research rather than practical astronomy. If Horizon and BBC’s Sky at Night TV does not stretch you ant more then you could have found something here to stimulate your astronomy taste buds. However these talks might have been too much for beginners unless you know a lot of physics and were certainly not aimed at children.

Well worth attending. I hope these events will continue. We will find out at AGM this afternoon – as there is a possibility the organisation might have to close due to lack of volunteers for senior positions within it.

Ed busily collected contact information from many of the lecturers during the day – many of them would make great speakers for future RAG meetings and do give such talks.



The programme for the day:

This picture shows me sitting in the lecture theatre:

Professor John Zarnecki discusses the future of Europe in space:

Professor Ian Shipley speaking about what happened next after Higg’s bosun was discovered. By this he meant the role of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope when it is built (LSST):

Professor Tim Greenshaw talked about the Cherenkov Telescope Array:

Professor Donald Kurtz speaking about planets and pulsations: this was about astroseismology.

Professor Carl D. Murray gave the final talk reflecting on Casini mission to Saturn:

Pictures from the convention outside the talks:


Some impressive kit could be seen in the break. This isn’t a conference with many vendors but this new diagonal has a lovely magnetically held filter slider that therefore does not fall out unlike some competitors. I can imagine this being highly sort after by amateurs if priced right. Or at least it would be great if the manufacturer added a brass compression ring and not just two thin screws to drill holes through your Ethos eyepiece! The large eyepiece changer does have compression rings and us therefore better designed in this respect.


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