Virtual Astronomy Club


The very last meeting of VAC was on Tuesday the 17th of May 2022.

Links to our previous meetings and videos of many of the talks are available at the bottom of this page.

The end of VAC.
As life now seems to be going back to some sort of normality, I have been thinking for some time about the future of VAC.
I am getting increasingly busy, so cannot always put in as much time into VAC as I would like, so I have sadly made the decision to stop holding VAC meetings after the May meeting.
I will miss the meetings, and the people who have joined me in making VAC the huge success it has been.
A very big thank you to everyone who has been involved and joined in, contributing to that success.
As winter approaches, I may resurrect something, but maybe in a more informal manner.
Perhaps more of a sociable ad-hoc get-together, or some live on-line streaming through the telescope, or live launches, which I always wanted to do a lot more of during our meetings to share with everyone who wants to join in.

I will leave this VAC Web page active, so that our past meetings can still be viewed below.

Keep Safe
Keep Well
Keep Looking Up


If I do hold some more virtual events in the future, would you like to be alerted?

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Thank you to everyone who posted their fabulous images on the VAC Padlet.
Due to inactivity, I have now deleted it.

Recordings of past VAC meetings.

Our last meeting of VAC was on Tuesday the 17th of May.

Karim Jaffer told us all about:
Two-Eyed Seeing – Ancient and Indigenous Astronomy from across the Globe.

19th of April 2022.

A practical meeting, where we shared some of our knowledge we all learnt something new. ?
“Observing” the Tonga volcanic eruption from the UK.
John’s slides and the links can be downloaded from here:

Simple DSLR Astrophotography.
Introduction to Histograms, Levels and Curves.

22nd of March 2022.
Steve Tonkin. The Right Light at Night.

Light Pollution was first identified as a problem by astronomers, but its consequences reach far wider. It is now widely recognised that artificial light at night, especially bright white light, can have profoundly negative effects on human health, and this is just the tip of an iceberg of harm. The effects on wildlife have been devastating, leading directly to the death of millions of birds each year and being the major driver of the insect apocalypse (studies suggest that 40% of insects will be extinct within the next few decades).

The solutions are at hand, are simple to implement, will have a net saving (of money, energy use and carbon emissions) and will not compromise security or our ability to safely work, travel and play at night. We need to act now before it is too late.

Below are the links shared during the meeting.

Steve Tonkin’s E Mail Address:

IDA for all
Use the app F.lux to change your PC lighting to suit the time of day:
Get your MP to join the parliamentary lighting group.
Details in the following two links:

ITW They Inspire us video by Robert Fosbury.
Is light Pollution really a problem?
More lighting alone does not create safer cities. Click here to see what research with young women tells us.
Medscape Medical News. Lights On During Sleep Can Play Havoc With Metabolism – Marlene Busko.

15th February 2022.

Paul Fellows – Snowball Earth.

A look at the evidence that around 600 million years ago the Earth became entirely covered in thick ice in a super-glaciation event that saw global temperatures drop to -40 degrees C for millions of years, and yet somehow life endured these conditions, and once the climate recovered saw the emergence of the first complex creatures. Was this event somehow the trigger for the development of advanced life on Earth? What does it hint at for the prospects of life elsewhere?

11th January 2022.
Phil Price NASA Does Nostalgia: Items & Artifacts Sent to Space.

Here are the links that were posted during the meeting.
What’s on the Voyager Golden Record:

Mars DVD Code Clues:
The Codes:
The solutions:

Microgravity Toys in Space:

21st of December 2021.
This was a Practical Session.
Phil Price – Space Missions in 2022.
Image Processing.
Star Tools Demonstration – Dave Harvey.
SCT Collimation.
Using dedicated Astronomy Cameras.

16th of November.
19:00 UT.
We were joined by the inimitable Paul Money.
Who answered the question:
Why are there no Green Stars?
This meeting was not recorded.

Tuesday the 19th of October.
Practical Session on Telescopes, Mounts, Eyepieces and Accessories.

The PDF file of the slides I showed on the night can be downloaded here:

Tuesday the 5th of October.
Pete Williamson.
The Imaginary Universe: My Childhood Journey.
We had a cracking talk from Pete Williamson last night for his debut of The Imaginary Universe.
A totally fantastic nostalgia trip of space based television. Definitely one that you must not miss.
So if you missed it on VAC, do try and catch it if you can.


Tuesday the 28th of September
A great turn out for the re-starting of VAC.
It was so good to catch up with everyone after our summer break.
We discussed the future of VAC.
VAC is going ahead with some speaker meetings as well as some meetings dedicated to practical astronomy and techniques.
We’ll also meet once a month from October.
It was such fun hearing all about your late at night scare stories.
Here’s the newspaper clipping of Pete Williamson’s police investigation into his rocket launcher he told us about:

Sunday 5th September.
Live-streaming solar images.
White Light

Hydrogen Alpha

Sunday 11th July.
Live launch watch event.
We held a a live watch party for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic first fully crewed launch.
Whatever your opinion on this, it was great again to share this exciting event with like-minded enthusiasts. 

Tuesday 15th June.
End of Term Party.
Thank you to everyone for closing this term of the Virtual Astronomy Club.

Tuesday 1st June.
Philip Price.
History of the Space Shuttle.

Tuesday 18th May. 19:00 BST (18:00 UT).
Paul Money
Through the StarGate: Alt Az imaging with a GoTo Dob.
This meeting was not recorded.


Tuesday 4th May 2021.
Katrin Raynor-Evans.

Exploring Astronomy and Space through Philately.

Here’s that link that Chris Hudson mentioned about the rocket launch stamps.
Rocket Post – blog post from The Postal Museum:

Saturday the 24th of April.
I assisted with the Society For Popular Astronomy’s virtual meeting.
Professor Andrew Coates gave a talk about Current and Future Mars Missions.
Robin Scagell gave us his guide to watch to look out for in the summer skies.
Then Martin Ratcliffe talked about Mars, his travels and imaging it during last years very favourable opposition.

Tuesday 20th April.
Julian Onions.
Crazy Interstellar Rockets!

Tuesday 6th April.
John Thatcher.
The Webb Space Telescope

23rd of March – VAC’s first anniversary.
WOW!!! Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?
For this very special occasion we were delighted to welcome Jim Al-Khalili.
The World According to Physics.

Thanks to John Murrell, here’s a link to a new paper released on anomalies in the decay of Beauty Quarks:

Tuesday 16th March. 7:00pm UT.
General Astro Chat, Get-Together and Q & A Session.
We also had a great tour around people’s home-made observatories.
This meeting was not recorded.

Tuesday 2nd March – 7pm
Dr David Boyce
Imaging Uranus’ Moons

This meeting was not recorded.

18th February.
Live Watch Party of the landing of NASA’s Perseverance Probe on Mars
Joint GoSpaceWatch and AstroRadio Event

Tuesday 16th February.
Mary McIntyre
Shadows In Space & The Stories They Tell
Catch up on Mary’s talk here:

Friday 11th February.
Pop-Up gAstro Pub 

Monday 8th February.
NNHS Astro Meeting.
Mike Frost
Prominent Women of the BAA.
Catch up with Mike’s talk here:

Tuesday 2nd February.
Nicholas Booth.
With Perseverance and Hope – Despatches from a Red Planet.

Nick’s book The Search for Life on Mars, co-written with Elizabeth Howell, is available to buy here:

Tuesday 19th January – 7pm GMT (19:00 UT).
Paul Fellows.
Quark Stars & Strangelets.
This meeting wasn’t recorded.

Monday 11th January – NNHS Astro Meeting.
Martin Griffiths, from Dark Sky Wales.
Contact with ET. How will it affect us?

Tuesday 5th January.
It’s all about you.
Thank you to everyone who told us about themselves.
Your Astronomy Journey, w
hat you are up to.
And what your astro plans for 2021 onwards were.

Tuesday 15th December 7pm.
Thank you to everyone for their entertaining talks,
 quiz, sing-a-long, funnies and banter.
That really did help c
elebrate making it through this crazy old year.
And a very big Thank You to everyone who’s joined us on this crazy VAC journey this year.
See you all in an improving 2021.


Dusko – My Underwater Observatory.
Roger – Roundup of the year.
John – Singalong.
Pete – Quiz.
Nick – Funnies.

Friday 4th December.
Pop-Up gAstro Pub.


Tuesday 1st December.
Paul Money.
Images of The Universe (Part 2).
This meeting was not recorded.

Tuesday 24th November.
Practical Evening.
Spaceflight Missions, Image Capture, Post-Processing, Polar Alignment, Focusing & Auto-Guiding.
Thank you to Phil and Roger and everyone for their questions.

20th November. POP-UP gAstro Pub.

Tuesday 17th November.
Dr Nick Hewitt.
The Great Debate.

Monday 16th November.
Live watch party for the Crew-1 launch to The ISS.
Thanks for joining me everyone. Real good fun.

Friday 13th November.
VAC Pop-Up gAstro Pub.

After our first week of lockdown Part II, we had a great get together over a tipple in The Nag’s Head.
Thanks for joining me folks.


Tuesday 3rd November (Late session).
Live streaming telescope views of Mars and a tour around The Moon.
This is the image of Mars I took while we were live.


Tuesday 3rd November (Early Session).
Tim Gregory.
Beyond the Blue Sky: Science for the Sake of Science.
Why bother studying meteorites?
Are there any societal benefits to studying stones from the sky?
What have we learned?

Tim’s new Meteorite book is available from all good (and bad) bookshops:


Tuesday 20th October.
Live Watch Party for the Live Bennu TAG Sampling by OSIRIS-REx.


This meeting was not recorded.

Phil Price.
Space Missions for 2021 and Mars explorers.


Tuesday 6th October.
Pete Williamson.
Herschel To Hawkwind.


Good to get your glad rags on and dance away, or just listen to Pete from Astro Radio.
Pete took us all on a nostalgic space-themed musical journey.
This meeting was not recorded.
Listen to Astro Radio here:

Tuesday 29th September.
Grant Bowskill.
The Ikarus Observatory.

Ikarus Observatory links.
Ikarus Observatory on Stargazers Lounge:
Eagle Nebula Data:
Crescent Nebula Data:
Pixel Skies (Spanish host of the Ikarus Observatory):

Monday 21st September.
Paul Money.
Images of The Universe (Part 1).
This meeting was not recorded.

15th September.
General Meeting.
Julian Onions – Venus and Phosphines.
Mineral Moon Saturation Demo.
Deep Sky Stacker – Stacking Tips.
Registax and Affinity Photo Image Processing Demo’s.
The Opposition of Mars.

8th September.
Martin Hardcastle.
Surveying the Sky for Radio Galaxies.

Citizen Science LOFAR Radio Galaxy Project.

1st September.
Nick Hewitt & Shaun Reynolds.

25th August.
Prof. Brad Gibson.
Liquid Mirror Telescopes (Wave of the Future, or Just a Ripple…).
E. A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics Web page:

18th August.
General meeting on planet observing and imaging.
Also looking forward to the coming opposition of Mars.

Here is the Mars Features BAA Web Page Nick Hewitt mentioned.

11th August.
John Maclean
The Golden Age of Islamic Astronomy.

4th August.
General meeting, shared our astronomical experiences and pictures.
Q&A Session.

This meeting was not recorded.

Tuesday- 28th July.
Chris Lintott
Adventures In The Zooniverse

Join in with The Zooniverse by clicking the link below.

Signed copies of Chris’ book “The Crowd and The Cosmos” can be pre-ordered from the link below.

Tuesday – 21st July.
How to do Webcam Planet & Moon Imaging.
Your NEOWISE Comet Stories and Images.
This meeting was not recorded.

Tuesday – 14th July.
Ian Ridpath
Pictures in the Sky

Ian’s constellation Star Tales Web site:

Thursday – 9th July.
Celebrating this months 25th anniversary of the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp.
Alan Hale

Ice & Stone Web Page –
Earth Rise Institute Web Page –

Tuesday – 7th July.
Martin Lewis
Venus night-side infra-red imaging

Tuesday – 30th June.
Mark Gibbons
Fast Radio Bursts
This meeting was not recorded.

Dr Susan Cartwright  25th June.
Footprints of The Big Bang
Susan’s talk is available to view on YouTube.

Mike Poxon – 23rd June 2020. 
Variable Stars
Mike’s talk is available to view on YouTube:

The AAVSO Web site Mike mentioned is here:

Sam Cornwell – 18th June 2020.
The Solarcan
Watch Sam’s presentation on YouTube.

The 15% Solarcan discount code is: solareagle

Dr Johanna Jarvis – 16th June.
Astronomy in a Volcanic Landscape.
If you missed Jo’s talk, it is available to view on YouTube:

Open University Online Course Links.
Open University – Moons Of The Solar System Online Course:
Open University – Astronomy with an Online Telescope:

Thursday – 11th June
Star Clusters and some challenges for the Summer.
General Discussion and social get-together.

Robin Scagell 9th June
Stars Ancient And Modern
Robin’s talk is available on my YouTube Channel:

The link for the online star motion simulator Robin demonstrated to us is:

Thursday – 4th June 7:00pm.
Moon Observing and Imaging.
General Discussion and social get-together.

Dr Susan Cartwright. 2nd June.
Footprints of The Big Bang.
Unfortunately, Susan had Internet issues and couldn’t present.
I will try and re-book her.

Saturday 30th May 2020.
LIVE Launch Party tonight for the second attempt of the
Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch from Cape Canaveral.
****Doug & Bob’s Accelerant Adventure.****
It was a very successful live event with us all getting together to watch this historic launch.

Thursday 28th May 2020.
General get-together.
How to computer control a mount.

Wednesday – 27th May 2020.
Crewed launch from Cape Canaveral.
Launch Scrubbed. But we all went outside and saw the ISS go over.
Plus I was able to live stream video images of The Moon.

Tuesday – 26th May 2020.
Mike Frost.
How To Lose Weight.
This meeting was not recorded.

Thursday – 21st May
Phil Price. Missions To The Sun. 21st May 2020
Plus what to see in the sky.

Peter Jenkins. 19th May 2020.
My Astrophotography Journey.
Peter’s Web site:
Telescope Live:

Thursday – 14th May.
Latest on the comets and what to look for in the sky.
Plus a run through of Affinity Photo to show it is used for processing astrophotography images.

David Warrington. 12th May 2020.
The Scottish Dark Skies Observatory.

Thursday 7th May 2020.
John McEvoy – Asteroids Bennu and Ryugu.
Dave Eagle – Update on Comet SWAN and what we MIGHT expect.
Here is the link to Stuart Atkinson’s Flickr site where he has posted lots of maps for Comet SWAN.

Pete Lawrence. 5th May 2020
Upcoming Observing Challenges.
Click here to watch Pete’s presentation on YouTube.

Here are some links to lists of Moon Clair-Obscure features Pete mentioned:
Astronomy Magazine.–on-the-moon
Mary McIntyre’s Lunar X & V Spotting Guide.
Sky & Telescope’s Lunar 100 Observing Guide.

Thursday – 30th April.
Roger gave us some image processing demos using Pixinsight and StarStaX.
Ian also showed us some of his fabulous images and told us about his astrophotography journey.

Tuesday – 28th April.
Joint Meeting with NNHS Astronomy Section.
Bob Lambourne
Developments in the Science of Black Holes.
This meeting was not recorded.

Joint Meeting with Go Space Watch to mark the 30th anniversary of the deployment of The Hubble Space Telescope.
Dr Steve Barratt. 25th April 2020
The Legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope.
The presentation can now be watched on YouTube:

A pdf file of the talk Steve’s  be downloaded from here:

Thursday 23rd April 2020.
Question and answer session and sharing of recent astronomy images / observations.
Live streaming of Venus (if clear).
Phil Price. Astronomy with a iPhone.
Sandy Whitton. Recent images.

Tuesday – 21st April 2020.
Paul Fellows.

Hawking’s Black Holes and the Edge of Physics.
Pauls’ presentation can be viewed on YouTube.

Thursday – 16th April 2020. 
Many thanks to Roger, Kevin and David for sharing their pictures and astronomical journeys.

Here are the links to the OU online courses.

The Royal Astronomical Society are hosting an online talk to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope  – Book via Eventbrite.   

Tuesday – 14th April 2020. 
Terry Lovejoy (Comet discoverer extraordinaire).
Terry Lovejoy’s Top Ten Comets.
Watch on YouTube.

Saturday 11th April 2020.
Dave Eagle – Apollo 13 50th Anniversary Presentation.
Saving Apollo 13: Houston We’ve Had a Problem.

Joint meeting with Go Space Watch.The presentation is now available to watch on YouTube.

Thursday – 9th April 2020.
Szabolcs Nagy (Space Station Guys – @metrolinaszabi).
ISS Imaging and Demonstration.

Szabi’s Presentation is now available to watch on Youtube:

Tuesday – 7th April 2020. 
John Spencer – Planetary Scientist and New Horizons Science Team Member.
A Billion Miles Beyond Pluto: New Horizons Explores Kuiper Belt Object Arrokoth.
This meeting was not recorded.

Steve Tonkin – 2nd April 2020
Two Eyes Are Better Than One.

Download Steve’s presentation by clicking the image below to visit our Dropbox folder.

Dave Eagle.
Solar Webcam Image Processing.
Download the AVI from the solar imaging demo from here:
I would be really interested in seeing what people can do with the image.

Shaun Reynolds. – 26th March 2020.
Shooting The Milky Way.
This meeting was not recorded.

Julian Onions – 24th March 2020.
Cold Dark Matter. Is It Cold, Dark or Matter?
Click on the image below to download Julian’s slides.

This meeting was not recorded.