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Hello everyone,

I am Tutku (Tuts), the new Chair of AstroSoc. This is my first time writing for the EPS newsletter and it is my pleasure to update you on the amazing activities we had with the Society during the Spring Term!

 Termly Social Meal

Termly social meal

After the Christmas break, we were happy to welcome everyone back! We kicked off with our termly social meal and the Mars Rover Challenge! During the event, the teams have selected their Rovers and completed many challenges while going through a maze! Don’t worry, all of the control room teams and Rovers were safe at the end of the event and some of them even won “Mars” chocolate bars!

Mars Rover Challenge

The control room (left) and the person navigating the maze (right)

We had some interesting talks on “Space Rocks”, “AstroParticle Physics” and also played a Dungeons and Dragons game “Planets and Pioneers” all prepared by our committee members! Further in the term, we have gathered for Valentine's Day Movie Night watching our favourite love and space-themed movie, Wall-E!

AstroParticle Physics Talk

AstroParticle Physics talk

Continuing the term, we have concluded our Annual General Meeting by electing our new committee members who are dedicated to keep you busy and entertained with fun events befitting our Society! After the election Emma Willett gave a talk as it is customary for the outgoing Chair. Her topic was the “1930s View of Sunspots”.

Emma Willett presenting on the 1930s View of Sunspots


For our Tea, Talk and Telescope event we had the fortune of hosting Professor Christopher Conselice from the University of Nottingham as our gues speaker. He covered the evolution of the Universe and the formation of the galaxies in a brilliant presentation. We also had our Postgrad Talk of the term on Death Lasers by George Smetana who is a PhD student within the Physics Department. His exciting speech included gems like estimating the laser power of the Death Star of Star Wars and the use of lasers in LIGO Interferometers.

Professor Christopher Conselice on our Tea, Talk and Telescope (left) and George Smetana on the Postgrad Talk (right)

Tea, Talk and Telescope lecture (left) and the postgraduate talk given by George Smetana

Outside of our normal activities the committee also organised trips to a retirement home, schools and had some night sky observing with brownies!  During British Science Week, we welcomed more than 40 school children. One of the guest teachers was our former AstroSoc’s Chair Alice Perry! We took them to have a tour around the Solar System, explored Mars by playing a game, showed how to set up telescopes and shared cool facts about the Sun.

AstroSoc and the British Science Week

Participation on the British Science Week

Getting closer to the end of the term, we have built our own rockets and launched them using a high air pressure system. After several hundreds of attempts, two members of AstroSoc finally hit the target using a very intelligent technique! 

Rocket Building

Rocket building

As the new Chair of AstroSoc, I would like to congratulate the new committee and also to thank our outgoing committee members Emma Willett and Paul Swallow for everything they have done for the Society in the past couple of years. They will be missed deeply.

The new committee for 2019/2020

Members of the new committee

I would like to thank our former Patron, Dr Amaury Triaud once again for his amazing lecture during the last term, his colourful personality and his interest in AstroSoc.

I am also proudly welcoming our new Patron, Dr Sean McGee. His research interest is galaxy formation and evolution. Hopefully, as another tradition, he will deliver a Christmas Lecture for the next academic year but for now, no spoilers!

The Spring Term came to an end so did the news from us.

We are looking forward to the next academic year which is again full of fun, outreach and society activities. We also are very excited to meet with the new faces and to expand our AstroSoc family! If you had fun with us this year, found any of our talks interesting, loved building rockets with us or enjoyed participating in the British Science Week, please don't hesitate to nominate us for the EPS Societies' Awards! 

Tutku Kolcu
Chair - University of Birmingham Astronomical Society