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November Talks

We have two talks planned this month. On Friday 4th November our very own Reinhold Gasser will be giving a talk about the Autiumn Sky when he will show us some of the many interesting sights currently available to us in the skies above.

The second talk will be on Friday the 18th November when Hayden Rampardarath of Manchester University will be joining us to talk about the Square Kilometer Array.

Talks normally start around 8.15 and there is no admission fee. All are welcome but please be aware that seating is limited in our lecture room.

Open Evening Saturday 8th October 2016

Despite the poor weather we had lots of visitors to whom we are very grateful. We hope that everyone enjoyed themselves and that we wil see you again soon.

How to Build a Universe - 7th October

A fascinating talk explaining how the universe was created was given by Dr Stuart Muldrew of Leicester University at the observatory on the 7th October.

Our secretary, Marilyn has written the summary below of this excellent talk.

Dr Muldrew gave us an informative talk on his work modelling the universe.  He told us observations of galaxies are constantly pressing to new depths, giving us a series of snapshots in time after the Big Bang.  Ideally we want to understand how galaxies evolve, linking the observed snapshots to produce a galaxy family album.

To astronomers, computers are becoming equally as important as telescopes in explaining the Universe in which we live.  Building computer models of how the Universe evolves allows us to explain evolution between the different types of galaxies that we observe.  He showed us current predictive computer models and compared these with the actual data.  They were strikingly similar.

He told us of the key ingredients that go into building a computer model of the Universe.  He then used this to explain how galaxies trace the underlying dark matter distribution, and are affected by the energy released from their supermassive black holes and internal supernovae.

The talk generated many questions from members and Dr Muldrew commented afterwards that he had enjoyed the exchange.  We took him into the Dome and Sue gave him a potted history of our telescope and he was very impressed.

Our thanks to Stuart for his time and his excellent talk in which he conveyed complex concepts in a very clear manner.


The Chesterfield Barnett Observatory

Our observatory is open every Friday from 8pm onwards until the last person leaves. We always give visitors a warm welcome so if you'd like to join us, please feel free to do so. You don't need to book your visit, just pop over to see us and we'll show you around and make sure you get the opportunity to do some stargazing too if the weather is with us. We rely on the generosity of the local community to keep the observatory open so please can you place a small donation of £2 in out visitors' pot when you visit.

If you'd like to learn more about the observatory, click on the menu item 'Our Observatory' at the top of this page.

We very much hope that you will come and visit us on a Friday evening when we will make sure you have an astronomically good time 🙂

Address : Hastings Close, Newbold, Chesterfield, S41 8RH

Tel: 0751 751 0083

Please go to the bottom of this page for a map showing the location of the observatory

Talk on the 16th September

Unfortunately the talk entitled 'Is there life out there?' due this Friday at the observatory has been cancelled. Instead there will be a talk introducing newcomers to atronomy. The talk will start at approximately 8.15 and should last around one hour.

We apologise for the change but hope you will attend and enjoy the alternative talk.

Gravitational Waves Talk by Ed Daw

Friday the 5th of August saw Ed Daw of Sheffield University give us a talk on the FIRST DIRECT DETECTIONS OF GRAVITATIONAL WAVES BY LIGO. (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory)

 He has been working on the project for 19 years and told us of the difficulties of building the detector.  Even getting it straight on the curved surface of the Earth was a problem.  They even had to compensate for the pull of the Moon's gravity!

He made the story funny and even made the maths humorous. They even had to contend with crocodiles in the water filled channels which run down the sides of the concrete tubes housing the detector, which can be seen in the above image.

When the LIGO experiment, conceived in 1972 by Rai Weiss at MIT, had successfully detected gravitational waves from binary black hole collisions approximately 100 million light years away, it was met with apprehension.  The first wave came through on the 14th September 2015.  They spent weeks checking whether it was really the gravitational wave or a misinterpretation of the data.  Ed said the hardest part was not being able to say anything until the official announcement was made in February of this year.

The second wave to come through again took everybody by surprise.  It was on Boxing Day and at the time Ed was caving and didn't know until he surfaced and read his emails later.  This time they knew what they were looking for.

Ed is obviously very enthusiastic about his work and this shone through in his talk.  He enjoyed the questions and was surrounded after the talk by members wanting to know more.  He was very complimentary about our telescope calling it "some feat of engineering".

You can learn more about LIGO at this website:


Our thanks to Ed for giving such an entertaining talk about this amazing project.

CAS visitor Ed Daw 7152

Ed Daw at the Chesterfield Observatory

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