Milton Keynes Astronomical Society

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Welcome to the Milton Keynes Astronomical Society [MKAS]

Our mission: To spread the interest and enjoyment of astronomy to people of all ages in and around Milton Keynes

We find that there is nothing better than to exchange practical experiences gained under our challenging skies. We like most things related to Astronomy and Space. We book speakers to come and enlighten us on their fields of expertise. We have social events throughout the year and love to talk about all things Astronomical

So, come along and have a chat over a cup of coffee at Rectory Cottages, Bletchley and we'll make out the case that MKAS is the right Society for you!


Upcoming: Online Zoom Talk: Richard Lambert Memorial Lecture: Diamonds in the Sky


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this Astromeet is being held online using Zoom.
If you want to join our virtual meetings, please email webmaster@mkas.org.uk for meeting login details on Zoom.
Image illustrating the topic of the talk

The Richard Lambert Memorial Lecture is an annual talk commissioned by the Milton Keynes Astronomy Society in the memory of its founder Richard Lambert.

This year's lecture entitled 'Diamonds in the Sky' explores the importance of White Dwarfs in Modern Astrophysics. White dwarfs are the used to describe stars when they reach the end of their long evolutions. These are smaller stars typically with a mass of up to eight times as massive as our own sun.

These ancient stars are incredibly dense. A teaspoonful of their matter would weigh as much on Earth as an elephant (5.5 tons). White dwarfs typically have a radius just .01 times that of our own sun, but their mass is about the same. Stars like our sun fuse hydrogen in their cores into helium. White dwarfs are stars that have burned up all of the hydrogen they once used as nuclear fuel. Fusion in a star's core produces heat and outward pressure, but this pressure is kept in balance by the inward push of gravity generated by a star's mass. When the hydrogen used as fuel vanishes, and fusion slows, gravity causes the star to collapse in on itself.

Scientists have theorised that the dense stellar core white dwarf can become so cold that its carbon has crystallized, effectively forming a diamond the size of Earth.
For more background, go to: Cold Dead Star May Be a Giant Diamond and White Dwarfs


Presented by Professor Martin Barstow

Speakers image

Professor Barstow is Pro-Vice-Chancellor Strategic Science Projects, Director at the Leicester Institute of Space and Earth Observation and Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester.

Degrees - BA Physics (York) 1979, Ph.D. Physics (Leicester) 1983.

Professor Barstow has a strong background in the analysis of X-ray, EUV, UV, optical and infrared data from white dwarfs. White Dwarfs are the end of the evolutionary stage of stars like our Sun after a lifetime of fusing their Hydrogen stores into Helium. He has been involved in numerous projects described by the various acronyms: GO (IUE, EXOSAT, ROSAT, VOYAGER, EUVE, ASCA, HST, FUSE, GALEX), Archival (EUVE, IUE, Einstein, EXOSAT, FUSE, HST), Instrumentation (ROSAT, J-PEX, WSO, GAIA). All the projects are Space Observatories which have access to frequencies blocked by our atmosphere.

Complementing this has been an active programme of theoretical studies of the white dwarf atmospheres and the interstellar medium.
For more background, go to: About Professor Martin Barstow



Milton Keynes Astronomical Society has been meeting remotely since June as public assemblies are not allowed under COVID-19 rules at our usual venue at Rectory Cottages, Bletchley. We are sticking to the framework of our disrupted programme as much as we can and guest speakers are happy to present their talks remotely.
We have decided to open our virtual meetings to visitors as our physical meetings were before this crisis flared up. Same rules apply with 2 meetings permitted before we ask you to consider membership.

Join us at MKAS

So, what is MKAS offering you for your subscription?
   (currently £28 per annum and concessions £14)

  • 26 fortnightly meetings on average per year.
  • We aim to invite 5-6 guest speakers to our talk nights each year (Some members will also present their own talks)
  • Astromeets are the platform for members to present their observations, ideas or projects to others.
  • Occasional trips out to places of astronomical interest.
  • In the autumn, a residential observing weekend in Shropshire.
  • An annual dinner in March.
  • A pre-Christmas social.
  • Outreach events in schools, youth and general interest groups.
  • Our instruments can be taken on loan for a fee of £2 per fortnight.
  • A library of books and current magazines.
  • The AGM is held in November.

And of course, visitors are welcome to attend a couple of meetings before considering membership. So, come along and have a chat over a cup of coffee and we'll make out the case that MKAS is the right Society for you.
                Click here to apply to be a member

Jewels of the Night Sky over MK

Images taken by our members. You could be taking images like this!

Jupiter - King of the planets

The Orion Nebula