University of Birmingham Astronomical Society

ASTROSOC - Join us @ 7:30pm, Thursdays, ARTS LR2

Mission to Mars

A witty Undergraduate talk by Vincent Emery, including the history of mars exploration (Mariner missions), why we should travel to mars, the physics behind the space crafts and the Hohmann transfer orbit. He highlighted the importance of space exploration for science to keep inventing, for example Velcro invented for holding things in place during zero gravity.

Mission to mars

The Mysteries of Black Holes

Physicist, comedian and magician, what more can you ask for in one evening? The mysteries of black holes talk was brilliantly given by Professor Cole Miller from the University of Maryland, who incorporated many practical demonstration in to his talk including juggling, magic tricks and throwing objects at the audience. It was masterfully done so that it appealed to all the different members in the audience; children, students and academics alike. We also had time at the end for him to answer some very interesting questions from the audience and below is a picture of him with the committee, Dr Christopher Berry and Professor Ilya Mandel.

Don’t just listen to us though, here’s what a member of the audience had to say:

Cole Miller

Christmas quiz

As is the tradition, the calendar year ended with the AstroSoc Chair’s Christmas quiz! It was an enjoyable event and although some teams did better than others, everyone had a great time. What a fun and enjoyable way to end 2016!

Christmas lecture

A captivating lecture given by Dr Christopher Berry entitled: Black holes, neutron stars and the quest for gravitational waves. Being a theoretical astrophysicist and part of the LIGO collaboration, his talk was especially interesting as we got to see how the research on gravitational waves can be used for other theoretical conundrums.

Mars lander challenge

Fun night building landers out of paper, string and straws for eggs to survive the drop from the bridge by the guild. However, this was made more difficult by making each item priced and each team having a budget, making it more challenging and realistic. There were a few Schiaparelli moments but two managed to survive!mars lander

Tea, talk and telescope: Evolution of the Earth

A very interesting talk by Professor Albert Zijlstra from the University of Manchester, giving a very detailed run through of how the earth was formed and how the knowledge we have from our own planets formation tells us about other planets, our solar system and the universe.


An Undergraduate talk by Nathan Adams about astrophotography talking about cameras, guiding the telescope for imaging and creating composite images (layer separate frames on top of each other) as well as many other tips and tricks! A very informative night which was followed by our first observing evening this year! Talk about timing!moonobserving

Space Race Bar Crawl!

What a great night!

The costumes were brilliant, and the teams competitive. Starting at Joe’s Bar the pods (teams) were given instructions for the night….

Following a story of landing on different planets (arriving at each pub) we had to face the challenges of new civilisations, and what better way to make peace than to drink.

Well done team Star trek for winning the pod race!

And well done to Eleri Worsley for winning Best Dressed for her ‘shooting star’ costume.

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The Drake Equation

Fun evening competing in groups to solve the Drake Equation, where Luke also showed how and why the result can vary so much (basically depends on how optimistic you are).

We had answers ranging from 10^-14 (Extremely pessimistic) and 6000000000 (maybe a little too optimistic), the closest answer being 0.74 which was only a factor of 100 out.

Unfortunately it was cloudy yet again but we headed over to Joe’s to end a very energetic and competitive evening.


Hope you learnt something new at last night’s AstroWorkshop, where we had four different stalls:



Solar Scope


Gravitational waves and Outreach




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See you next week where we have an undergraduate Talk by Luke Scantlebury-Smead (our Events Officer) about the Drake Equation.

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