Guildford Astronomical Society


Aerial view of the University with labels

Our meetings are held in Lecture Theatre L in the Lecture Theatre Block (Level 2) of the University of Surrey, Guildford.

Click here for a map to show you directions to the University Main Car Parks. If you’re travelling using a SatNav the postcode is GU2 7XH.

A detailed map (available here) shows the location of the Lecture Theatre Block (pale blue and near the middle of the map), Main Car Parks 1-4 and Bus Stops next to Senate House and North of the Austin Pearce Building. There are also more convenient car park spaces available for disabled drivers at various nearby locations. The University also has a web page here for newcomers to the campus.

For a preview of the lecture room see here

Meetings start at 7.30pm on the first Thursday of each month (except August when there is no meeting) and usually finish around 10pm. One or two meetings in the year, (including the AGM), are set aside for members only; these are indicated in our list of Talks for upcoming meetings.

Note for Visitors: To help cover the cost of the room hire, we charge just £5.00 (£4.00 for Junior/Student guests) per meeting. On arrival, please introduce yourself to any member of the Committee (look for their badges) — you’ll be very warmly welcomed!

Tea/Coffee (biscuits included) available in the break for just £2. However, we respectfully ask that you don’t bring any food or drinks into the lecture theatre.

If you have any special access requirements, please contact the Secretary, .

See you there…

Meeting Format

Meetings generally take one of two formats:

  • An invited expert gives a talk/presentation – illustrated and/or animated – of an aspect of astronomy. Subjects are chosen because they’re topical, practical – or just interesting to astronomers. Each year we arrange a balanced mix, covering a wide range of topics. and levels.
  • A ‘members evening’, in which members present short talks on their own interests, projects, and topics of general interest.

Occasionally, invited speakers have to cancel, (usually at extremely short notice), and at these times the meeting often takes the form of an informal quiz, a question and answer session, or a hands-on Workshop.

Typically,the main talk of the evening lasts for an hour or so, after which we have a 15-20 minute comfort break. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available from the adjoining refreshments room.

A view of the Duke of Kent Building across the lake

Following the break, the remaining time until 10pm usually features Society news and business, (such as the latest reports from the Observatory, Observing Evening Reports, etc), and a short ‘What’s on?’ feature describing events happening later in the current month.


If there’s time at the end, some members go for a drink and chat. You’re welcome to join us in the bar in Wates House (see the map).

The 2016-2017 Session

Subject to change

DateTalk/Presentation TitleSpeaker
1 Sep 2016Exploring the Non-Thermal Universe: the Cherenkov Telescope ArrayProf Tim Greenshaw
6 Oct 2016Spacecraft I Have Known and LovedProf John Zarnecki
3 Nov 2016Extraterrestrial Resources: Mining the Moon and AsteroidsProf Ian Crawford
1 Dec 2016Black Holes and Spin-offsProf Katherine Blundell
5 Jan 2017Variable Stars: a vital area of observing for amateur astronomersGuy Hurst
2 Feb 2017The digital window to the Universe: Using computers to understand the CosmosDr Ramón Rey Raposo
2 Mar 2017Astronomy and Sex: the historical relationship between Women and the CosmosProf David W Hughes
6 Apr 2017The Greatest Light Show on EarthDr Colin Forsyth
4 May 2017Is there Life on Proxima b?Prof David Waltham
1 Jun 2017Planets and Pulsations: The New Keplerian Revolution

NB: This is a change to the previously advertised talk.

One of the biggest questions humans can ask is, "Are we alone?" Does Earth harbour the only life in the universe? Everyone has an opinion on this question but, as scientists, we want to know. A first step is to find other planets like the Earth, planets with rocky surfaces and liquid water where conditions are similar to home. The Kepler Space Mission has done this. With the discovery of nearly 5000 planets orbiting other stars Kepler has revolutionised our view. It has found entire solar systems orbiting other stars and it has even found planets orbiting double stars: Yes, Luke Skywalker's fictional home planet Tatooine really does exist out there. The Kepler mission measured the brightnesses of 200,000 stars for four years, giving us a view of the stars 100 times more precise than is possible from the ground. From this a jewel box, exotic stars have been discovered, and astrophysics that used to be purely theoretical is now also observational. This talk introduces the concepts of asteroseismology and shows a selection of exciting results from the Kepler mission in a multi-media performance of science, animations and the physics of music and the stars.

The speaker is a co-author of the fundamental textbook, "Asteroseismology" and (past) Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Prof Donald W Kurtz
Professor of Astrophysics, Jeremiah Horrocks Institute of Maths, Physics & Astronomy, University of Central Lancashire
6 Jul 2017Members Only
AGM & Members Presentations
GAS Committee & Members
Aug 2017Note: There is no meeting in August 

The 2017-2018 Session

Subject to change

DateTalk/Presentation TitleSpeaker
7 Sep 2017TBA (Gaia)Dr George Seabroke
Senior Research Associate, MSSL, UCL
5 Oct 2017From Quark to the CosmosProf Ian Shipsey
Head of Particle Physics
University of Oxford
5 Jul 2018Members Only
AGM & Members Presentations
GAS Committee & Members
Aug 2018Note: There is no meeting in August 

Click here to see the profiles of past and forthcoming speakers.

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