Guildford Astronomical Society


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John Axtell on Brooklands Radio

(Click on either BR image to go to the Brooklands Radio website)

Listen to the Podcast here.


The programme came about as the result of a suggestion from the station’s Programme Controller – Graham Laycock. As a member of GAS’s Outreach Team I got involved in the organisation of our regular flagship outreach event at Newlands Corner, near Guildford. The last such event was on Saturday 1st April and before that I contacted local media seeking publicity for the stargazing event. This included Brooklands Radio, a local internet station, and I was invited in to the studio for a 10 minute on air chat about astronomy in general and Newlands Corner in particular. The chat seemingly went well, was placed as a podcast on their website – it was subsequently downloaded some 600 times! It’s till available at the time of writing at As a result Graham suggested I do a regular monthly slot, the first of which has now gone out.

The 30 minute programme is called Stars Over Surrey and is broadcast on the last Friday of the month at 7.30 pm and then repeated the following Monday at 11.00 pm. After that it gets placed as a podcast on their website. The general format is that I work in the studio with Dave Jemitus, one of the station’s regular presenters. With David I cover what’s interested me in terms of astronomical and spaceflight news in the previous month, then my constellation of the month, finishing off with what’s to be seen in the night sky and of local interest for the coming month. The programme is aimed at the general listener, so I try to keep items to a basic level – but even then it’s easy to slip up; for example in April’s programme I said Messier worked in the 1850s rather than 1750s! Aaargh!

In the first programme I also reported on how well the Newlands Corner stargazing session had gone, and told listeners about the Equinox Star Party from which I’d just returned. Surrey’s five astro societies got a mention together with their May meetings – Guildford, Walton, Farnham, Ewell & Croydon. I’ve already contacted these societies to ask them to send me notifications of any events they’d like promoted. The programme can be heard at where there is also a splendid image of The Rosette taken by GAS member Martin Baker, and also a monthly set of slides I produce for my Woking U3A Astronomy Group that I use as a prompt for my radio what’s up session. Hope you like it!

John Axtell FRAS


Mole Valley Geological Society Meeting 14th November

What Stalagmites tell us about Climate Change in the Last Ice Age

The next talk at the MVGS is presented by Prof David Mattey of the Royal Holloway University.

Their flyer

MVGS website

SAGAS Summer Meeting

The Southern Area Group of Astronomical Societies (SAGAS) held their Summer Meeting on the 22nd June 2019.

The SAGAS Report is on their website here .

Stars over Surrey with John Axtell. January 2019

Tonight’s (Friday 25th January) Stars Over Surrey (at 7.20 pm) was recorded yesterday. We start with the Total Lunar Eclipse, the meteor strike that occurred during totality, finding fresh lunar craters. Then we move on to the Chinese farside mission, New Horizons at Ultima Thule and then discuss White Dwarf stars crystallising out. We managed also to squeeze in about half of the topics in my What’s Up for February, the rest being of course in the podcast. Other podcast topics are news from Blue Origins, Space X, the UK’s Black Arrow rocket and Cassini’s mapping of Titan using infra-red. Depending upon where you live this can be heard on DAB radio as well as the internet. The podcast lasts about 20 minutes longer than the broadcast version and usually becomes available over the weekend.

Repeated Monday at 11:00pm UK

For the live episode click here and click on listen live at the top of the page.

The podcast is published here.


A talk from the MVGS in Dorking.

The Anthropocene – A new Geological epoch driven by Human Impacts.
Presented by Dr Colin Summerhayes, University of Cambridge.

Meetings are held in the
Dorking United Reformed Church Follett Hall
off Church Street & West Street,
RH4 1BS.

Coffee & biscuits served from 7.30pm.
Lectures start at 8.00 and finish at about 9.30. Visitors are most welcome.
Non-members as Guests £4.00 Children under 18 & students £1.00.
These fees include complimentary tea or coffee and biscuits, sometimes even chocolate ones.

IIAPY 2018: winners announced – in Sky at Night Magazine

Sky at Night Magazine has an article showing the winners here

For the full selection, including shortlisted entries, go to Royal Museums Greenwich

Mars Rover Curiosity science packages coming back online

NASA has announced that it’s rover was getting back into normal science operations.
Read more here

Stars over Surrey with John Axtell. October 2018

John Axtell with Stars over Surrey from Brooklands Radio is repeated on Monday 29th Oct, at 11pm UK.

water on mars

This month as John says in his FaceBook post he talks about the Soyuz mishap, Virgin Galactic, Hubble gyro problem, BepiColombo, Hyabusa 2 deploys MASCOT, 1st Exo-moon discovered, Mars subsurface water and of course my What’s Up. The eventual podcast will contain all of this plus The Goblin & Planet X (sounds like a Sci-Fi B movie!), SETI with lasers, mystery at Tau C. Pegasus & Andromeda are joint Constellations of the Month.

For the live episode click here and click on listen live at the top of the page.

The podcast is published here.

Stars over Surrey with John Axtell. This episode for September 2018

John Axtell with Stars over Surrey from Brooklands Radio is repeated on Monday 1st Oct, at 11pm UK.

In this instalment as he mentioned on his Facebook post, he talks about SSTL’s Remove DEBRIS net fling, and also their “cheesegrater” satellite, fixing the Soyuz air leak, Moon loop on Space X BFR, Hayabusa asteroid mission and the “finding” of Mr Spock’s planet! Plus of course my Constellation of the Month (Cassiopeia) and What’s Up. The extended podcast will also include JAXA’s cargo ISS re-supply vessel, tracing ‘Oumuamua to its possible origin, Opportunity spotted from orbit at Mars, origin of Phobos and finally dust storms on titan.

For the live episode click here and click on listen live at the top of the page.

The podcast is published here.

John Axtell’s latest episode of Stars Over Surrey (July 2018)

John’s Stars Over Surrey from Friday will be repeated tomorrow (Monday 30th July at 11:00pm UK) & is also available as a podcast from Brooklands Radio

In this 40 minute episode he talks about water on Mars, the possibility of life on the early Moon, 12 new moons for Jupiter and the first ever imaging of an exo-planet in the act of forming. My constellation of the month is Lyra. There’s a What’s Up for August and of course mention of the Total Lunar Eclipse. The extended podcast will include a further 10 minutes or so, covering Space x, Blue Origins, ESA launches, the possibility of launches from Sutherland in Scotland, Kepler signs off, and the long-ago collision of our Milk Way with a dwarf galaxy. John hopes you like the programme.

For the live episode click here and click on listen live at the top of the page.

The podcast is published here.

John Axtell’s Stars Over Surrey

As John posted the other day, in this episode of Stars over Surrey he talks about the latest Block 5 version of Space X’s Falcon 9 launcher and also mentions Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
Mars features quite a bit in both the programme and the extended podcast – InSight Mission, Mars 2020’s Helicopter, Curiosity rover, Phobos & Diemos, – even the current BBC Sci-Fi series ‘Missions’!
The second discovery of an interstellar asteroid gets a mention as does the discovery of Hydrogen Sulphide in the gas clouds of Uranus plus Gaia’s mapping of 1.7 billion stars.
Local Society news is included and also my What’s Up for June.
The podcast also features the Sun’s current paucity of Sunspots and the identification of a rocky asteroid in the Kuiper Belt.

The programme is repeated tonight (Monday the 4th of June 2018) at 11pm. The podcast, my What’s Up slides and a video for my constellation of the month (Bootes) will appear on the Brooklands Radio website soon.

For the live episode click here and click on listen live at the top of the page.

The podcast will be published here.

The next edition is scheduled for Friday 29 June at 7.30pm.


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