Wednesday 12 December 8:00pm


Galaxy Zoo


Alice Sheppard

Eleven years ago, a PhD student was analysing an enormous sample of images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. When Kevin Schawinski and Chris Lintott went to the pub to discuss what to do with the enormous amount of data made available by modern technology, and hit on the idea of showing the galaxies to the general public, they could not have known that a million people would get involved, that lives would be changed, or just how many discoveries would be made.


Alice Sheppard will take us through the story of what happened when 900,000 images were shown to the public, and the eleven and a half years of science that has come out of that."


Alice  was a community leader on the first Galaxy Zoo forum, looking after hundreds of volunteers, keeping track of discoveries, blogging, arranging media involvement and outings as well as looking after the volunteers. As a result, she has a postgraduate diploma in astrophysics from Queen Mary University of London, and gives regular talks to academic audiences about citizen science and the point of view of the citizen scientist. She writes the Citizen Science column for the Society for Popular Astronomy magazine. She is Community Manager at Extreme Citizen Science, UCL

Something Extra!


What is in the sky for the next few weeks


Following the message on a previous newsletter for items for the committee to consider Barbara Goult came up with a great idea:


"I think it would be interesting to all members, and useful to those of us new to astronomy, to have a small item at the beginning of the meeting that looks at the night sky for the month ahead, highlighting anything of particular interest  to lookout for."


We discussed how to go about it and felt that trying to start it before the meeting might be a bit difficult as people would be arriving and possibly not creating for the best of presentations.  Also we know how memory works (a bit) and that what we might impart before the main talk may easily be forgotten by the end of the talk.  However, we thought that it would be perfectly possible to have the event after the main speaker had finished  - after a 10 minute or so gap to stretch legs, go to the loo etc.


Martin led the first session at the November meeting and it was cleraly a popular addition to our evening so we will be repeating it in the future.


Thanks to Barbara for suggesting it and to Maring for doing it.


If there are any other suggestions from other folk do let us know.

Meetings held at:

The View (Formerly Fairway Tavern)

Panshanger Golf Complex

Old Herns Lane,

Welwyn Garden City,



Tel:01707 336007

Membership details:


● £20 per year*


● Non-members £3.50 first 3 meetings  then annual membership subscription due pro rata for remaining meetings.


● Free to under-18s and full-time students. Proof of status may be required


● Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

What happens at our meetings?


Doors open at 7:00 for the meeting due to start at 8:00 but several club members and friends gather before this to have a drink and chat in the bar.


Following welcome announcements we have a guest speaker who speaks on the subject of the evening for about 45 - 60 minutes.  This is followed by questions relating to the talk.


Announcements about forthcoming events follow.


You can then choose from the following activities:


1. If the weather is clear telescopes and binoculars brought by members are set up outside for some observation.  Members doing so will be pleased to share their scopes with others.


2.  Learn about what will be coming into view in the next few weeks with an extra talk at 9:30.


3. If you need help with some equipment then now is your chance to bring it in.  Others in our club will be more than willing to help you.  Don’t be shy, we get just as excited about a telescope bought at the charity shop for £20 as we do one costing many times more.


4. Just socialise with others - about anything!


We look forward to seeing you.  No need to book - just turn up.


Proposed Programme for 2018-19

(Subject to Change)

September 12th

Roger O'Brien

'oumuamua and other things out there

October 10th

*Mark Thompson

(note change of speaker)

The Bayfordbury Observatory

November 14th

Martin Braddock

Artificial Gravity

December 12th

Alice Sheppard

Galaxy Zoo

January 9th

Martin Hardcastle

Surveying the sky for radio galaxies

*Note: this event is being held in:

Millstream Room, Tewin Bury Farm

February 13th

Paul Money

Images of the Universe - Part 3

March 13th

Alistair Scott

Britain in Space

April 10th

John Timmins

Telescope Choices

May 8th

Bob Marriott

Silver-on-Glass Revolution and AGM

June 12th

Jerry Stone

Apollo 11 - 50 years on the Moon

Club Christmas Dinner


Last year we had an enjoyable Christmas Dinner evening for club members and we wondered if you would like to do it again?


The date in question is Monday 10th December at  7:00pm at the Chieftain Pub in Welwyn Garden City AL7 3JF.  They have a 2 course menu for £14.95 and a 3 course menu for £17.95.


A non returnable £5.00 deposit would needed (which we would collect later) and the menu would need to be pre-selected some days before the event.  You can view the full menu here.


If that is something that you would like to join in with then could you reply below so that we can see if it is feasible please?


All replies will be needed by Wednesday 21 November please.

The Leonid Meteors


Saturday November 17 sees the peak of this year’s Leonid meteor shower. 


Wrap up really warm, take out a recliner - so you don’t get a stiff neck - and a flask with a warm drink.  Remember that the highest rate will be after midnight.


If you want to take photos, you need a camera that c\n take long exposures - e.g. 30 seconds or more.  Set it up on a tripod and just keep taking exposures, deleting those in which no meteors came over whilst the shutter was open.

Nominate a scientist for the new £50 note


The Bank of England has announced that the next version of the £50 note will feature a scientist, and it’s asking the public to submit names.


The Bank said that nominations can include anyone who worked in any field of science including astronomy, biology, bio-technology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, medical research, physics, technology or zoology.


Paul Rincon, BBC News website science editor, said that this could include Stephen Hawking (Cosmology), Ada Lovelace or Alan Turing (Computing), Rosalind Franklin (DNA).


Read more at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46063097 and submit your nominations by December 14 at https://app.keysurvey.co.uk/f/1348443/10fc/


How about Sir Patrick Moore, who probably had a greater influence on attracting people to a branch of science - astronomy - than anyone else?

Next landing on Mars


The InSight spacecraft is approaching Mars and is due to land on the Red planet on Monday, November 26. Similar to Phoenix in 2008, InSight is a lander, not a rover, so it won’t drive around once it’s on the surface, but what it will do which is different from previous craft is to drill down below the surface. It will also deploy a seismometer, and 3 British-built micro-seismometers that were developed at Imperial College and Oxford University.