The City-Dwellers Guide to the Galaxy

Astronomical Society
29th January 2009


Do you spend more time looking up than looking down? Are you stirred by the beauty of the full moon or do you marvel at just how far away the stars in the night sky really are? Then you’ll probably be interested to hear that Aston University is home to the Birmingham Astronomical Society – and membership is open to everyone.

2009 is also the International Year of Astronomy, so it’s the perfect time to start discovering the mysteries of the Universe.

As well as weekly meetings at the University, the Society holds monthly lectures with eminent speakers and organises events in the city centre for stargazers and their families who want to learn more. The latest, the aptly named City Dwellers Guide to the Galaxy, is a year-long series of monthly events including sidewalk astronomy events and star and solar parties, plus exhibitions and displays at various locations around Birmingham. 

The first of these takes place on Saturday, 31st January in Centenary Square in Birmingham City Centre between 6pm and 11pm. Local people and passers-by will be able to catch wonderful views of the Moon and Venus through a variety of telescopes.

You may remember that in 1994 the Shoemaker-Levy comet crashed into Jupiter with spectacular results. The Astronomical Society is delighted to welcome the co-discoverer of that comet, David Levy, to Aston University on Tuesday, 10th March to give a talk to members. Levy will also be speaking at Thinktank at Millennium Point on Sunday 8th March at 3pm.

Other forthcoming public events organised by the Society include Moonwatch in the Lickey Hills on Friday, 3rd April, as well as events with local schools throughout the year.

If you are interested in the mechanics of telescopes as well as actually stargazing, the Society has a specialist workshop for making telescope mirrors in the sub-basement of the University. There are many delicate and painstaking processes that go into making a telescope mirror, including cutting glass, grinding and polishing.

Dr John Penny from Aston and the Astronomical Society said: ‘We are always delighted to welcome new members to the Society, so if anyone with an interest in astronomy would like more information please do not hesitate to get in touch. You don’t need to have any previous experience because the Society has a mixture of both novice and experienced members so there will always be someone to help you get started. Our website will give you lots of information and it also carries the dates and times of our meetings at Aston and other events. We’d also like to encourage our students to join the Society.’

The Society meets every Wednesday in its dedicated Club Room in the basement at Aston University. For further information visit www.birmingham-astronomy.co.uk.


For further press information please contact Sally Finn on 0121 204 4552 or email s.l.finn1@aston.ac.uk.

Notes to editors:

• A leaflet giving full details of the 2009 programme is available on request. Please email us for a copy.

• Pictured in the Society’s Club Room at Aston University are members (from left to right) Derek Buckley, Gill Pilfold, Dr John Penny and Ben Stanley.

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