Covid-19 Please note that all gatherings are cancelled until further notice
Brighton Astro is a place for cosmic enthusiasts from all walks of life to meet up, talk about the universe and gaze at the stars. Every month we host a FREE talk with drinks and nibbles and the opportunity to go out with our telescopes afterwards – weather permitting!
We're open to everyone, from beginners to experts. So why not join us and look to the stars?
Once a month (usually the final Tuesday) we gather at 68 Middle Street, Brighton for a presentation on an aspect of the universe. Our speakers range from experts in the field to members of the group; you don't need to know a lot when you come, but you'll definitely leave knowing more!
We're always on the lookout for our next speaker, so if you have something to share we'd love to hear from you.
After the meetings you'll find us on the seafront with our telescopes, or sheltering from the elements in the pub. Brighton Astro is a great place to meet new people, have some fun and learn together.
Please note that due to Covid-19 all gatherings are cancelled until further notice
Tuesday 25th February 2020
The Search for Intelligent Life in Deep Space
Are there other intelligent beings in the universe? How can modern science try to answer this age-old question? Prepare for a glimpse into the scientific method applied to the search for alien intelligence.
The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence attempts to discover, once and for all, an answer to the age-old question of whether other intelligent life exists among the stars. This discussion describes how searches for signs of intelligent life are conducted and informed by scientific astronomical considerations. The implications of search results to-date are explored including thought-provoking ideas such as the concept of Galactic colonisation and a possible glimpse of the future with speculation about interstellar travel.
Tuesday 28th January 2020
Ciaran Fairhurst, Sussex University
10 Hubble Images we just can’t get enough of. You won’t believe number 4!
The Hubble space telescope turns 30 in April. From detailed images of the planets of the solar system to studies of the entire Universe’s evolution - Hubble has possibly been the most successful space science project in a generation. To celebrate three decades in the sky, join me for a rundown of its greatest hits the only way millennials know how - with a numbered list.
Tuesday 10th December 2019
Brighton Astro Xmas space quiz
Back by popular demand... come and join us for a Brighton Astro xmas space quiz!
Don't worry if you don't know people, we'll be putting together teams on the night, so just come along.
A bit of space knowledge may help but it's not essential, we'll try to make sure the teams are evenly matched.
Tuesday 27th November 2019
Dr Dirk Froebrich, University of Kent
HOYS-CAPS - Hunting Outbursting Young Stars
I would like to introduce to you our observational citizen science project Hunting Outbursting Young Stars with the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (HOYS-CAPS) at the University of Kent.
The project aims to measure the brightness of young stars in selected young clusters/star forming regions in multiple optical filters over a long (~20yr) time with a high cadence (1-5days). Given weather constraints we aim to do this as a collaboration of amateur astronomers from the UK, Europe and from across the globe. The light-curves we are obtaining will be used to study multiple aspects of the formation of stars and planets. In particular we are aiming to characterise the structures in accretion disk around the young stars in unprecedented detail and to study the mass accretion history of stars. We are of course also keeping an eye out for the most unusually behaved objects.
We have so far 54 people/observatories that are actively participating in the data taking for our 21 targets, and we have obtained ~8800 images. In total our database now contains ~91.5 million brightness measurements of stars. Some of these have already been used in 3 publications with amateurs (if they wish) as co-authors, and several more are in preparation.
Friday 1st November 2019
Professor Lucie Green
Our Brilliant Sun
110 times wider than Earth; 15 million degrees at its core; an atmosphere so huge that Earth is actually within it: come and meet the star of our solar system. Light takes eight minutes to reach Earth from the surface of the Sun, but its journey within the Sun takes hundreds of thousands of years. This talk will take you from inside the Sun to its surface and onwards to Earth, to discover how the Sun works. Find out how a solar storm can threaten the modern technology that society relies on and learn more of the latest research in solar physics.
Lucie Green is Professor of Physics at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory. She studies the Sun and is particularly interested in the Sun’s magnetic field and how solar weather can affect us here on Earth. She is well known for her appearances on Stargazing Live and The Sky at Night.
Presented with Brighton Cafe Scientifique
Tuesday 24th September 2019
Melanie Vandenbrouck, Royal Museums Greenwich
Picturing the universe
The winners of the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition will be announced at Royal Museums Greenwich on 12 September 2019. Long time judge and art curator Melanie Vandenbrouck will be talking about some of her favourites from this and previous years of the world’s greatest amateur astrophotography. She will show that you don’t necessarily need expensive equipment or deep astronomical knowledge to create inspiring, moving or impressive pictures of the universe. Creativity, an eye for composition, or being there at the right time are sometimes all it takes.
Tuesday 27th August 2019
Meirin Oan Evans, University of Sussex & ATLAS Experiment at CERN
A tunnel to the beginning of time
As astronomy enthusiasts, you may have heard of ways to study the Big Bang using telescopes and space satellites. But is there any other way? CERN, the biggest science laboratory in the world, is trying to do just that. 100m underground at CERN, there’s a 27km round tunnel called the Large Hadron Collider, where we’re trying to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang here on Earth. This will allow us to tackle really big questions such as: What are the building blocks of matter? What are the forces between them? What happened to antimatter? What’s dark matter? What was the early universe like and how did it evolve? What about gravity? Is there anything else we haven’t thought of…?
Tuesday 30th July 2019
Melanie Vandenbrouck, Royal Museums Greenwich
Curating the Moon
Melanie Vandenbrouck is Curator of Art post-1800 at Royal Museums Greenwich. In 2019, she is curating two exhibitions about the Moon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. Moonlight at the Hasselblad Foundation (to 22 September), focuses on contemporary lens-based artists responses to the Moon since Apollo. The Moon at Royal Museums Greenwich looks at humanity’s long fascination for our cosmic companion. A long-time lover of the Moon, she found a new fascination for astronomy thanks to the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition of which she has been a judge since 2013.
Tuesday 25th June 2019
How We'll Live on Mars
Colin is an astronomy speaker and author who has talked to over half a million people about the universe, ranging from schools and the public to conferences and businesses.
His books have sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide and he's written over 150 popular science articles for publications including The Guardian, New Scientist, BBC Focus and the European Space Agency.
Tuesday 28th May 2019
Apollo 11 - The Inside Story
Local author David Whitehouse will recount the story of the Apollo moon landing as told by the crew of Apollo 11 and the many other astronauts who paved the way or followed after the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, alongside Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Astronauts, engineers, politicians, NASA officials, Soviet rivals – all tell their own story of a great moment of human achievement.
Tuesday 30th April 2019
In physics, quantum refers to the smallest packet of something and, in this meeting, Brighton Astro will be hosting four short but beautifully-formed talks in one evening. Presented by Brighton Astro members, we will cover a wide array of subjects such as supernovae, astro-photography, the Apollo missions and animals in space. A lot of ground will be covered in a short time so hang on to your hats for an information blitz and whirlwind of fun and interest.
Tuesday 26th March 2019
Art inspired by astronomy, physics and maths
Local artist Nick Sayers will talk about his science-inspired interactive art projects, including Cycle The Solar System, Bicycle Drawing Machines and sun-capturing pinhole cameras. He will discuss how - through these works - he has creatively explored astronomy, physics and mathematics, making these abstract subjects more accessible to a wider audience.
Monday 25th February 2019
Melanie Davies, Creative Space
The Pleiades: History, myths & science
The Pleiades, in the constellation of Taurus and has been an object of fascination throughout human history.
This lecture starts with a historical overview of the oldest known representations of this glistening cluster of young stars. It goes on to discuss some of the better known myths and legends associated with the group. Drawing on scientific papers, the lecture then lays out some of our current knowledge about the Pleiades including their evolution, properties and the possible fate of this most beautiful open cluster.
Tuesday 29th January 2019
Dr Stephen Wilkins, Sussex University
Exploring the End of the Dark Ages
As we look out in to the Universe we also look back in time. Eventually we reach a period of the Universe's history before stars (and galaxies) had formed; these are the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages were brought to an end by the formation of the first stars and super-massive black holes some few hundred million years after the big bang. The identification of these first objects is one of the goals of modern extragalactic astronomy.
While tremendous progress has been made with Hubble, its small mirror and lack of infrared capability limits its ability to probe this critical period of the Universe's history. However, in the next decade a number of new facilities will be coming online that will shine a light on this critical period in the Universe's history. These include: the Webb Telescope, the successor to both the Hubble and Spitzer space observatories due to be launched in 2021; the new generation of "extremely large" ground based telescopes; and the Square Kilometre Array, the next generation radio telescope currently under construction in Australia and South Africa.
Tuesday 27th November 2018
Viewing the high redshift Universe (in 3D)
(No 3D glasses necessary!)
I will present some of my research which focuses on the study of very distant (i.e. high redshift) galaxies using 3D integral field spectroscopy in order to better understand how galaxies evolved. High redshift galaxies are of great interest as they give us a direct view into the past allowing us to explore the depths of the early Universe. However studying them is not an easy task as these extremely distant galaxies are very faint and notoriously difficult to detect. But we like a challenge!
I will discuss some of the underlying physics, techniques and the motivations behind these studies, while drawing on my own results for examples.
Tuesday 30th October 2018
Professor Stephen Hawking
Professor Stephen Hawking is an internationally renowned scientist. Why is it that someone once given only two years to live in his twenties was still working after most of us would have retired. What drove this extraordinary person towards learning and sharing the great mysteries of the universe for over half a century? This talk aims to provide some background on Prof. Hawking, his life and times, how he became the most famous scientist in the world, and the legacy he leaves behind.
Tuesday 25th September 2018
Earth: a planet for life
Are we alone in the Universe? Is our planet so unique that we only find the conditions for the development of intelligent life here on Earth? During this talk Francesco will explain what makes the Earth so special and how its physical properties led to the development of life. He’ll then ponder how likely it is we will find similar conditions elsewhere in space.
Francesco Andreoli is a Professional technical translator and interpreter Born in San Giovanni Lupatoto, small town near Verona, Italy. Grew up in Milan. Moved to London in 1974. Moved to Lewes in 2010, to Brighton 2015. Likes photography and Videoing. Interested in Sciences, Astronomy, Evolution of Man, Science-Fiction, Bible studies, All combining to produce the Speech about the Universe, Life and Man. Tendentially skeptical about everything.
Tuesday 28th August 2018
Casting Light on Light
Pollution from lighting has a negative impact on observational astronomy and this impact may well get considerably worse, without opposition. However, it is not just astronomy that it is affected. This presentation will examine the effects and side-effects of lighting.
Paul Marchant is a Chartered Statistician (CStat) of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) with a PhD in astrophysics. He has served on the Council of the RSS and chaired the Leeds and Bradford RSS Local Group. Since retirement, he holds visiting fellowships at both Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds. He was involved in the Loss of the Night Network (LoNNe), an initiative of European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) and is an affiliate of the Consortium for Dark Sky Studies, based at the University of Utah. He takes an interest in evidence-based policy generally and sees good statistics as essential in separating ‘the wheat from the chaff’. He has submitted evidence to Select Committee Inquiries into both Research Integrity and Light Pollution … and there is a link! He is sceptical of claims of significant safety benefits of brighter, whiter public lighting, see Marchant P (2017) ‘Why Lighting Claims Might Well Be Wrong’, International Journal of Sustainable Lighting 19, 69-74
Tuesday 31st July 2018
Dimitrios Theodorakis, Sussex University
A mini tour of the outer solar system
A mini tour of the outer solar system - current missions/research on the gas giants and then my area of research which is objects past Neptune such as Pluto, Sedna and maybe Planet 9
Tuesday 26th June 2018
Professor Kathy Romer, Sussex University
Clusters of galaxies - the shy giants of the universe
Clusters of Galaxies, when viewed with telescopes on Earth and in space, are amongst the most beautiful objects in the night sky. Theirs is not a benign beauty: they play host to the most violent and energetic explosions in the present-day Universe. This lecture will review the historical contributions of that studies of clusters have made to the theory of Big Bang Cosmology, and also describe how current research into clusters at Sussex is uncovering the mysteries of dark matter, dark energy and black holes.
Tuesday 29th May 2018
Astronomy author, writer and speaker
How To Weigh A Universe
The universe is a wondrous place filled with extraordinary objects. Just as extraordinary is our ability to understand them. In this talk – packed full of stunning visuals and the latest scientific thinking – you'll hear how we're able to put the universe on the scales. To work out what things in space weigh without ever leaving the Earth. We'll meet some of the most colourful and eccentric astronomers in history and marvel at just how much of space we're yet to understand.
Colin is an astronomy speaker and author who has talked to over a third of a million people about the universe, ranging from schools and the public to conferences and businesses.
His seven books have sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide and he's written over 150 popular science articles for publications including The Guardian, New Scientist, BBC Focus and the European Space Agency.
Tuesday 24th April 2018
Irv Bartlett, and Dark Skies Dan from the South Downs National Park
An Introduction to Astrophotography and Telescopes
A double-header talk, first we will have an introduction to astrophotography from local photographer and Brighton Astro regular Irv Bartlett, followed by an introduction to telescopes from Dark Skies Dan from the South Downs National Park
Tuesday 27th March 2018
Cassini's mission to Saturn
A look at the history, science and findings of the Cassini missions since it's launch in 1997 - including stunning images captured across 2 decades of discovery...
Cassini began the first in-depth, up-close study of Saturn and its system of rings and moons in 2004. After its four-year prime mission, it’s tour was extended twice.
During the two-year Cassini Equinox Mission, the spacecraft made 60 additional orbits of Saturn, 26 flybys of Titan, seven of Enceladus, and one each of Dione, Rhea and Helene.
And in 2010, the spacecraft began a second, seven-year-long, extended mission called the Cassini Solstice Mission, concluding with 22 deep dives between Saturn's cloud tops and innermost ring before it plunged into the giant planet's atmosphere.
Tuesday 27th February 2018
Ciaran Fairhurst, Sussex University
What keeps astronomers awake at night
Astronomy is ridiculously ambitious: we are attempting to chart the history of the entire universe - and everything in it - from the Big Bang to the present day. So far we've done a pretty good job; we know why eclipses happen, how planets form and how stars die. We know about planets around other stars, distant galaxies and even how galaxies clump together to form structures inadequately described as humongous. What I want to do is talk about the gaps, the things we almost know but not quite. I'll try to show you why they are so tough, and how we're attacking them. We call them "open questions" but really they're what have kept astronomers observing and theorising for millennia: they're what keeps us up at night.
Friday 16th February 2018
Dr Francisco Diego, UCL
Think Universe! (part of the Brighton Science festival)
Mysterious creation myths still influence our culture, but what does science say about the origins of the universe? Join astronomer Dr Francisco Diego for a fascinating talk on the relevance of science to modern culture.
Tuesday 30th January 2018
José Vieira, Sussex University
Cosmology is perhaps best described as "the study of the Universe as a whole". What does the Universe look like at the largest scales? How did it come to be? How will it evolve in the distant future? These are all important questions which cosmology deals with.
In this talk we will briefly review the history of cosmology - from when it was "born" of Einstein's theory of relativity until recent years, when remarkable observational successes have allowed it to mature into a fully-fledged scientific field.
Tuesday 12th December 2017
Brighton Astro's xmas (pub) quiz!
Come and join us for a Brighton Astro xmas space quiz!
We have space (sorry) for 50 people. 8 teams of 6. Don't worry if you don't know people or have a team ready, we'll be putting together teams on the night, so just come along...
A bit of space knowledge may help but not essential, we'll try to make sure the teams are evenly matched.
Tuesday 28th November 2017
Triton - Neptune's major moon
Join us to hear all about Triton, the largest moon of Neptune. Nick will tell us about its origins, nitrogen geysers, and its retrograde orbit.
Triton's recent occultation of a star gave astronomers the first opportunity since the 1990s to detect atmospheric changes.
Tuesday 31st October 2017
Moons of the solar system
"Moons...they're just boring lumps of rock aren't they?"
Our Solar system moons vary hugely and in total there are...well come to our October meet and find out!
Tuesday 26th September 2017
The Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux
Twenty(ish) ways the universe wants to kill you
The universe is not your friend! You might think that the universe is a nice stable place that has allowed life to develop but we're a freak, a long shot, a straight flush in the poker hand of life and the cosmos stacks the cards against you and we're never more than a statistic away from annihilation.
In this light hearted look at our own extinction Jarvis Brand discusses a range of ways from the small to the large in which the end could come from rogue asteroids and greenhouse effects to the big rip and membrane collision. How dangerous are they and where can we stand at a safe distance to watch the fireworks?
Jarvis Brand (B.Sc. (hons), M.Sc., PGCE) studied Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Birmingham where he was a research associate. He now runs the planetarium for the Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux.
Tuesday 29th August 2017
Dr Stephen Wilkins, Sussex University
An introduction to Relativity
Einstein's special and general theories of relativity are physical theories regarding the relationship between space and time in addition to being the current description of gravity in modern physics. Since their development in the early 20th century they been subject to intense scrutiny and empirical validation, with the most recent example being the discovery of gravitational waves. Relativity has also drawn significant attention outside the physical sciences because of some of the seemingly counter-intuitive implications such as time dilation and length contraction, concepts which have become science fiction staples. In this talk I'll attempt to provide an accessible introduction to relativity and its implications.
Tuesday 25th July 2017
The Voyager Missions
40 years ago, two spacecraft were sent on a journey, not of one lifetime but thousands of lifetimes. Meet the Voyagers and marvel at their missions into the unknown!
Tuesday 27th June 2017
Daniel Moinar, Sussex University
What would the sky look like through eyeballs the size of tennis courts? What could we see if we had radio-wave vision? Come and find out at our next Brighton Astro meet up on Tuesday 27th June where PhD student Dániel Molnár will be talking about the giant machines that allow us to do this, and what we learn from them. In his PhD, he studies all different types of galaxies, from "average" ones to violent and intense so-called active galaxies.
Tuesday 30th May 2017
Ciaran Fairhurst, Sussex University
Detecting the most distant galaxies
One of the salient questions in Astronomy is "How far away is it?". As our equipment both literally and philosophically has improved, this question has driven our view of the universe to completely change. From a flat disc in the centre of the universe below a static, unchanging heavens to the modern day view: that the universe is an ever changing mess in which we just happen to be along for the ride. During this talk I'll try to talk about the how measuring distances is done, describe what kinds of celestial objects hold the records for farthest object, and briefly outline how to use a telescope as a time machine.
Tuesday 25th April 2017
Group astrophotography show-and-tell
Tuesday 28th March 2017
Monday 27th February 2017
An introduction to Astrophotography
Gordon is the locally based founder and editor of cameralabs.com, the site to visit for the most comprehensive camera reviews and discussions. He'll be taking us through the popular subject of astro-photography, sharing his vast knowledge of photography and technical know-how to help us all achieve those stunning shots of the night skies that we love. We doubt you'll find anybody that knows a camera inside and out better than Gordon and we are excited to have such an authority address the group. There'll be something for all levels and it's sure to garner wide interest so make sure you arrive early to 68 Middle Street and take this rare chance to pick the brains of a real expert.
Tuesday 31st January 2017
Tuesday 29th November 2016
Tuesday 25th October 2016
Tuesday 27th September 2016
The big bang
Tuesday 30th August 2016
Tuesday 26th July 2016
The night sky - beyond our solar system
Monday 20th June 2016
Equinoxes and Solstices
Tuesday 24th May 2016
The night sky - our solar system
If you would like to come along, please sign-up for free via our meetup page.
If you sign up via meetup but can no longer attend, please update your status to say that you are no longer attending so that someone on the waiting list gets a place.
Please only come along if you've signed up, as we're limited on space so won't be able to fit anyone else in.
Are you under 18? Please see our juniors section.Register on Meetup.com
What's astronomy without stargazing? If you've never seen the moon up close, been awe-struck by the rings of Saturn or wondered at the Milky Way then this opportunity is not to be missed.
Stargazing is always at the mercy of the weather and meet ups can be at short notice, so keep an eye on our social media feeds and the sky for updates!
Our meetings are held on the last Tuesday of the month at:
68 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL
All children under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
Junior members between the ages of 16-18 are asked to obtain consent from their guardians and make themselves known to us when they arrive, so that we can get emergency contact details.
Brighton Astro is an open event that may have alcohol present for members over the age of 18.
68 Middle Street is fully accessible by wheelchair. If you do have any specific needs regarding accessibility or health please contact us and we'll do everything we can to make sure they are accommodated.Back to top