The first term has flown by at AstroSoc this year! We’ve been delighted to welcome many new members, had some fantastic events – including the annual Space Race – and some great talks.
After the usual recruitment drive at the Welcome Week events, we were really pleased to find so many new faces at our first meetings this year. These included the Astronomy workshop, where our members were able to try out our equipment for themselves, as well as have an introduction to safe solar observing and astrophotography. This year we were also able to give members the chance to use the department planetarium, and take them for a trip to the roof of the Poynting Building.
The Vale Fireworks were as fantastic as always, and there were some equally loud and colourful costumes at the Space Race Bar Crawl this year! With the theme of ‘Planets and Moons’, there was a lot of creativity on show, and a fun evening was had by all.
This term we’ve had talks about how to build a space station from a couple of the committee members, and an explosive evening when Dr Daniel Perley joined us from Liverpool John Moores University for the ‘Tea, Talk and Telescope’. His talk, ‘When Neutron Stars Collide’ was a fascinating introduction to kilonovae, phenomena that occur when two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole merge, and the exotic origins of the heavy elements. As we moved towards the end of the term, the annual Christmas Quiz contained some particularly unusual rounds and the usual imaginative team names.
The year ended on a high with a brilliant talk from our Patron, Dr Amaury Triaud. The co-discoverer of more than 100 exoplanets – including the TRAPPIST-1 system – Dr Triaud wowed us all with his talk ‘Shadows of Two Colours’, about circumbinary planets.
We have a lot of outreach planned for the new year, with visits to schools and a repeat of our successful British Science Week event in the pipeline. The Mars Rover Challenge will also be back and bigger than ever! As always, we thank the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the School of Physics and Astronomy for their support. We’re aiming to get 2019 off to a big start, leading up to our Annual General Meeting in February, where a new committee will be elected.
As this is my last update as Chair I’d like to extend special thanks to Rob Smith for navigating the room booking system for us this year and the Astrophysics and Space Research Group for their help with the workshops at the start of term. Being part of the AstroSoc Committee for the last two years has been amazing, and I’ve no doubt that the Society is set for bigger and better things in the years to come. Watch this space!