Welcome to Carolian Astronomy Society in Kidderminster

The Carolian Astronomy Society (CAS) is based in Kidderminster, Worcestershire UK. Membership  is open to any individuals who support and wish to further the Objectives of the Society. We welcome new members, particularly the less experienced and newcomers to our fascinating hobby.

If you would like to email us please send to info@carolianastro.co.uk, or to speak to us please telephone 07821 896 304 (Michael Bryce – Social Media Secretary).

Next Carolian AS Meeting:

Carolian Astronomy Society meet at Oldfield Hall, King Charles I School, Comberton Road, KIDDERMINSTER. DY10 1XA. Meetings are open to anyone with an interest in Astronomy and Space. Come along and meet other Astronomers in your local area.

Wednesday 10 July: Annual General Meeting

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 10th July at 7:30pm and will be our Annual General Meeting. I do hope as many of you as possible will attend this meeting which will be held in the Oldfield Hall at King Charles I School as usual. The AGM is required by UK Law every year for the continued running of the Society.

As per the proposed agenda, we will have the Chair’s report and the Treasurer’s report and accounts, followed by the election of the members of the Committee.  Existing committee members officially stand down at the meeting but can stay on if available and elected.  However, we very much welcome newcomers to the committee to help prevent stagnation or repetitiveness. This is your chance to become involved with the running of the Society, as committee roles are open to all Society Members. We will also discuss the Society lecture programme for the 2024-2025 season, so please think about topics or speakers you would like to be included on the programme.  

The AGM is expected to take no more than an hour, so as per last year’s AGM, Dr Steve Barrett (University of Liverpool) will give a short talk over Zoom following the conclusion of the AGM business. 

Wednesday 12 June: Dr Martin Braddock – Extremophiles, and why there must be life elsewhere in the Universe

Our next Carolians meeting will be held on Wednesday 12th June at 7.30pm in the Oldfield Hall at King Charles 1 School, Comberton Road, Kidderminster as usual.  Our speaker will be Dr Martin Braddock who will be giving us a talk on  “Extremophiles, and why there must be life elsewhere in the Universe“.

Martin Braddock lives in Nottinghamshire and is a professional scientist working for a large pharmaceutical company.  Outside of this he is a passionate amateur astronomer and has published papers in several astronomical journals. He is a member of the Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society who own and operate the Sherwood Observatory in Sutton in Ashfield, and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.  

Wednesday 8 May: Gary Poyner – “The monster at the heart of the crab”

Our next Carolians meeting will be next Wednesday, 8th May, at 7.30pm in the Oldfield Hall as usual at King Charles 1 School, Comberton Road, Kidderminster.  Our speaker this time will be Gary Poyner, who will be giving us a talk on “The monster at the heart of the crab“.  

Image Left: The Crab Nebula. Hubble Space Telescope mosaic image assembled from 24 individual Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 exposures taken in October 1999, January 2000, and December 2000

Gary is an old friend of the Society and is currently the Chair of the Heart of England Astronomical Society, who meet in an old telephone exchange building in the village of Furnace End, North Warwickshire.  Gary is a member of the BAA and is primarily a visual observer, his main interests being variable stars – more particularly Cataclysmic and Eruptive Variables, which he observes at every opportunity with his 51cm and 22cm reflectors from his observatory in North Birmingham.

Wednesday 10 April: Change of Speaker – Richard Guest

Our next Society meeting will be next Wednesday, 10th April at 7.30pm in the Oldfield Hall as usual at King Charles 1 School, Kidderminster.

Richard Guest: Astrophotography

We have a change of speaker for this meeting as our advertised speaker, Ben Evans, is now unable to make it.  Instead one of our members, Richard Guest, has stepped in and will present a talk on his hobby of astrophotography, including the set-up and the obstacles encountered.  Those of you who are on Facebook will have seen the many excellent images that Richard posts on the Carolians page, all taken from his back garden in Kingswinford, which is some feat considering the amount of light pollution in this area.  Indeed, his website is called bksastronomy.co.uk, which stands for Beyond Kingswinford Streetlights.

Welcome to BKS Astronomy!

Hi! I’m Richard Guest, I’m the person responsible for these images!

My daily profession is a Metallurgist and Quality Manager for Liberty Speciality Steels, starting way back 39 years ago as British Steel.

I have lived in Kingswinford, a small town situated 5 miles west- southwest of central Dudley since 1997 and have always had a passion for astronomy, but this had taken a back seat over many years due to other projects.

With all the events of 2020, astronomy came back into focus, dusting off my old Skywatcher 5” Maksutov Cassegrain and buying a phone adapter to take pictures of the moon. From there I progressed to a more up to date telescope – a Celestron 8” HDEdge with a dedicated astronomy camera.

All the images you see here are taken straight from my garden. The general perception was it could not be done in a light polluted area, so I did it!

I do hope you like them. If you are interested, please take a look at my website bksastronomy.co.uk, I do post blogs on my overall setup. You can also follow me on Facebook – Beyond Kingswinford Streetlights and Instagram – beyond_kford _streetlights

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday 13 March: Speaker Gerard Gilligan

Our next Society meeting will be next Wednesday, 13th March, at 7.30pm in the Oldfield Hall as usual at King Charles 1 School, Kidderminster.

Our speaker this month is Gerard Gilligan, who gave us an entertaining talk last year. Gerard is a long time member of both the RAS and the Liverpool Astronomical Society.

He will be giving us two talks, before and after the tea break. The first is about the early history of The Liverpool Astronomical Society, one of the oldest astronomical societies in the world, which is also lucky enough to have the use of an observatory. His second talk will be on Richard Compton Johnson, the founder of the Society.

Gerard first became interested in the great science of Astronomy when he was 8 years old, following the Apollo 8 mission around the Moon. He soon took a book off a school library shelf – and yes it was written by Patrick Moore. His mum bought him his own astronomy book and a pair of binoculars for the Christmas of 1969, and after all that he was hooked!

The doors will be open at 7.15pm, and we hope to see many of you there.

Wednesday 14 February: Speaker David Shayler

Our next Carolian AS meeting will be next Wednesday, 14th February, at 7.30pm, in the Oldfield Hall as usual at King Charles 1 School, Comberton Road, Kidderminster.

Our speaker for next week is David Shayler, who will be talking to us about Gemini: Steps to the Moon.

The Gemini project was a vital if sometimes overlooked stage in the race to the Moon. It was used to develop the vital rendezvous and docking manoeuvres used for the later Apollo landings.

David is a spaceflight historian who has had over 25 books published on the subject of manned spaceflight. His life-long interest in space exploration began by drawing rockets at the age of five, but it was not until the launch of Apollo 8 to the Moon in December 1968 that his interest in human space flight became a passion. His first articles were published by the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) in the late 1970s and in 1982 he created Astro(naut) Info(rmation) Service (AIS; www.astroinfoservice.co.uk) to focus his research efforts.

Doors open at 7.15pm, I hope to see you there.

Wednesday 10 January 2024: Speaker – Dr Rene Breton

Our first Society talk of 2024 will be next Wednesday, 10th January at 7.30pm, in the Oldfield Hall as usual at King Charles 1 School, Comberton Road, DY10 1XA.

Our speaker will be Dr Rene Breton, with his talk entitled The Space Orchestra, which is about how scientists take data on star vibrations and turn them into sounds.

Dr Breton received his PhD from McGill University in Toronto and is currently Professor of Astrophysics at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and the Head of Research at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester. His main research interests revolve around the study of pulsars, which he uses to attempt to understand matter under extreme density, gravity and magnetic fields.

Doors open 7.15pm.

Wednesday 13 December 2023: Speaker – Andrew Lound

Our next meeting features Public Speaker Andrew Lound from Odyssey Dramatic Presentations. Andrews Talk is “Out of the Darkness: Pluto and the Outer Worlds“. Following the exploration of the Outer Solar system from the discovery of Pluto in 1930 and the New Horizons spacecraft flyby in 2015.

Having seen many presentations by Andrew in the past, this is expected to be a very entertaining evening.

Wednesday 8 November 2023: Speaker – Dr Julian Onions

Our next Society meeting will be next Wednesday, 8th November at 7.30pm in the Oldfield Hall as usual at King Charles 1 School, Kidderminster. (Doors open 7:15 pm). Our speaker on this occasion is Dr Julian Onions, a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer in the Astronomy Department at Nottingham University and an old friend of the Society. His subject on this occasion is ‘Black Holes – are they all bad?’: Black Holes have had a pretty bad rap from films and books and sci fi in general. Tearing spaceships and astronauts apart if they get too close. But is this bad reputation fully deserved? Julian Onions reveals the truth.


Wednesday 11 October 2023: Speaker – Mike Frost

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 11 October at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7:15 pm) and will feature Popular Speaker Mike Frost with a talk entitled Dark Matter. Is it dark and does it matter? Visitors welcome.

How did we get to the point where we think that 80% of all the matter in the universe is of a form completely unknown to us? I’m interested in how the idea of dark matter developed – the concept goes back a surprisingly long way. Dark matter solves a number of problems in diverse fields, but has stubbornly refused to identify itself. Are we thinking about the problems in the wrong way?

Might we be on the edge of a revolution in the way we think about the universe? It’s happened before…

And the answers … Is it Dark? NO (it’s Invisible) Does it Matter? YES

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Our new season (2023 – 2024) begins this month on Wednesday 13 September. Our Speaker is our own David Hodgson with a talk entitled: “White Dwarfs and Quantum Fluids”.

David Says: This is the story of one of the big developments in astrophysics of the 20th century. How can a teaspoon full of white dwarf matter weigh a ton? The answer has much to do with quantum mechanics which I aim to make palatable. There is human interest too, with big names, big arguments, big conclusions and it all ends happily with a Nobel prize.

Everyone Welcome. Please remember to bring a mug if you would like tea or coffee.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Our Place In the Universe by Steve Warbis, Macclesfield Astronomical Society

Wednesday 10 May 2023

William Lassell 1799 – 1880: Telescopes, Planets and Drinking Beer By Gerard Gilligan, Liverpool Astronomical Society and The Society for the History of Astronomy.

Wednesday 12 April 2023

How You can Measure Solar System Objects for Yourself? By Dr Jane Clark (Observatory Manager, Cardiff Astronomical Society)

Dr Jane Clark is a retired engineering physicist, amateur astronomer, speaker and author of books on the Solar System: Measure Solar System Objects and their Movements for yourself (2009) and Viewing and Imaging the Solar System (2014). Her most recent book, Calculate the Orbit of Mars! (2021), shows readers how to calculate the orbit of Mars, based on their own observations and using observations made by the author.

Jane is currently trying to master the art of photographing galaxies while studying the dynamics of interactions between galaxies.

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Sir Isaac Newton and the Surrey Pumas. By Mike Frost, Coventry and Warwickshire Astronomical Society

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Universal Death – Why is the Universe Trying to Kill Us? By Martin Griffiths, Dark Skies Wales

Wednesday 11 January 2023:

“Proud, thrilled and happy – the Women who put a Man on the Moon” by Sue Dipple, Chairman, Bromsgrove Astronomical Society

This presentation acknowledges the women engineers, scientists and mathematicians at NASA who received little or no recognition for the work they did to make the Apollo 11 moon landing mission the success that it was” 

Sue Dipple has always been interested in Astronomy and as child wanted to be an astronaut! Since retiring from her post as Technician in charge of the Scanning Electron Microscope Unit at The University of Birmingham, she has been able to spend more time on her interests in Dolls Houses and Miniatures, Travel, Gardening and of course, Astronomy. She is currently Chairman of Bromsgrove Astronomical Society where she hopes that she can pass on her enthusiasm and excitement for ‘looking up’. 

Previous Meetings:

Wednesday 14 December 2022: It’s Not Rocket Science by Dr Steve Barrett (University of Liverpool)

Wednesday 9th November 2022: Stellar Evolution Part 1 by Roger Pickard

Wednesday 12th October 2022: Calendars of the World by Professor Colin Steele

Wednesday 14th September: Professor Michael Merrifield: “Telescopes: The Next Generation”.

David Hodgson (Society Member)

Wednesday 8th June at 7:30 pm at Oldfield Hall, King Charles 1st School, Comberton Road, Kidderminster. DY10 1XA.

Lecture Summary: Quasars appeared in the late 1950s as one of the great mysteries of astronomy. For decades they baffled the world’s best astronomers, and rightly so as the necessary physics had not yet been discovered. I aim to trace the progress of physicists, mathematicians and astronomers over 50 years or so until together they achieved our present understanding of black holes and hence quasars.

Biography: I studied physics and mathematics at the University of Birmingham graduating after six years with a BSc in physics and a PhD in elementary particle physics. Subsequent jobs included teaching physics in a girls school, acoustics research at the University of Birmingham, research in the wave problems of underwater acoustics at the Plessey Marine Research Unit in Somerset. I then spent the rest of my working career back at the University as lecturer and senior lecturer in mechanical engineering. This enabled me to maintain my research in acoustics and dynamics of structures. I particularly enjoyed developing new courses in dynamics and mathematics. Early retirement allowed me to indulge my lifelong interest in astronomy, though I have to admit that I prefer development work to freezing under the stars on icy winter nights.

Mary McIntyre FRAS – Shadows in Space and the Stories they Tell

Wednesday 11th May at 7:30 pm at Oldfield Hall, King Charles 1st School, Comberton Road, Kidderminster. DY10 1XA.

The lecture: “Shadows in Space and the Stories They Tell”– from shadows on Earth to shadows on the surface of the Moon we can learn a lot. But it doesn’t stop there; cameras on probes in orbit around other planets and their moons have taught us a lot just by studying the shadows visible there.

The Speaker: Mary is a keen Astronomer and Astrophotographer living in Oxfordshire. A popular Speaker to the astronomical community, Mary has been giving talks for many years speaking to astronomy societies, camera clubs, U3A and WI groups, schools and Beavers/Cubs/Scouts groups. She has spoken at many festivals both in person and online, presented a webinar for Sky at Night Magazine and have presented the Sky Notes at two BAA meetings. A full biography about Mary can be found here: https://www.marymcintyreastronomy.co.uk/biography/

Previous Meetings:

Martyn Filsak (Society Member): Weather, Above and Beyond

Wednesday 13th April at 7:30 pm at Oldfield Hall, King Charles I School, Comberton Road, Kidderminster. DY10 1XA.

Prof. Don Pollacco: The PLATO Mission – The Habitable Zone Explorer

Wednesday 9th March at 7:00 pm at Oldfield Hall, King Charles 1st School, Comberton Road, Kidderminster. DY10 1XA.

PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) is a European Space Agency (ESA) M-class space mission, scheduled for launch in late 2026. The main goal of the mission is the detection of terrestrial planets at distances up to and including the habitable zone of bright, Solar-like stars.

Dr Steve Barrett: University of Liverpool – The LSST

Wednesday 9th February at 7:30 pm

Speaker: Pete Williamson FRAS “Moons of the Solar System”

Wednesday 12th January 2022 at 7:30 pm

Speaker: Paul Money FRAS FBIS “Why are There no Green Stars”

Wednesday 8th December 2021 19:30 to 21:20

This talk explores how we see and perceive colour and why, when we view the stars, there appear to be no green stars out there!

Wednesday 10th November: Stephen Tonkin “The Binocular Sky”

For details about binoculars for Astronomy please visit Stephen’s website at BinocularSky – Home

13th October 2021 at 7:30 pm: Prof Rene Breton (Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at The University of Manchester) “Einstein’s Relativity: Tested to the Limit with Pulsars”

8th September 2021 : Dr Julian Onions from the University of Nottingham: “Aperture Fever: Does My Mirror Look Big in this?

July 2021

Carolian Astronomy Society AGM

New Committee for 2021 – 2022. At the Society AGM on 14 July a new Committee was voted in during a video conference. Details to appear on Society page.

June 2021

Dr Julian Onions with “Galaxies – One Gigayear at a Time

May 2021

Pete Williamson FRAS (Astronomer and Broadcaster) of Astro Radio: “Herschel to Hawkwind”

Astro Radio is a 24 hour radio station dedicated to Rock Music and Astronomy. Listen live here: astroradio.earth or ask Alexa for Astro Radio!

April 2021 Meeting: Professor Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen’s University Belfast

Meteorites: Revealing the History and Evolution of our Solar System. A .pdf file of the presentation slides can now be downloaded. Click here.

March 2021 Meeting: Robin Davies of Reaction Engines.

February 2021 Meeting: Dr Steve Barrett

Our February meeting featured popular Speaker Dr Steve Barrett from the University of Liverpool with two short talks. “Ancient Light” and “Just a Second“. The slides for these and other talks can be found on Steve’s website at: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~sdb/Talks/

January 2021 Meeting: Mary McIntyre FRAS

Mary presented a fascinating talk about producing Stunning Star Trail images on the 13th January. She went into great detail of how she produces the fantastic images she has created. Mary has provided a downloadable handout with details whcih can be downloaded here. She also hinted that she is a keen photographer of Lightning and she has provided a handout for this too which can be downloaded here.

Coronavirus Statement:

We await further governmental advice as to when social group meetings can take place once again.

Privacy Statement

To comply with new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) the Society Privacy statement can be found here.

If you require any further information please email us at info@carolianastro.co.uk.

We also have a Facebook group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/carolianastro/