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South Cheshire Astronomical Society - Talk Archive Item

Notice Issued: 08/09/2020
further information links added 01/10/2020 12:23

Come and enjoy monthly online Zoom talks given by experienced astronomers and leading research scientists, and learn about the latest developments and projects in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.

We also hold monthly club meetings at which we use computer tech to explore and display, talk to each other, question, demonstrate, explain and present.

Public Online Zoom Talk

Thursday 17th Sep 2020

If you would like to find out more about the talk topic in advance, follow some of the links given below.

7:00pm for 7:30pm start

Please login soon after 7:00pm to allow us sufficient time to admit you before the meeting starts - there may be a queue- If you have not received an invitation then apply by email to enquires@scastro.org stating that you would like to subscribe to receiving invitations and provide sufficient information for us to be able to identify you when you login to the meeting (there is no fee).


Speaker: Rob Jeffries - Professor of Astrophysics at Keele University

Talk Title: “Gaia : the billion star mapping machine"


Talk Illustration




Composite Image elements credits:

(image collage by Al W of SCASTRO)

Further Information, provided by the speaker about his talk

The European Space Agency Gaia satellite was launched in December 2013. The aim of the mission was to map the precise positions and motions of a billion stars and nearer objects in our own Milky Way Galaxy and solar system. In April 2018 Gaia released its intermediate results catalogue, which gave us the first fruits of its labour.

In this talk I will briefly recap how the Gaia satellite works, and then spend most of my time explaining what kind of science Gaia can do, and showing some of the remarkable results and insights that have emerged from the first half of its enormous dataset, including the making of our Milky Way and the births, lives and deaths of stars There will be an inevitable skew towards my own speciality, which is understanding how stars like the Sun are born in clusters and associations and how those clusters disperse to become part of the Galactic population.

About the speaker -  Prof Rob Jeffries  of Keele University

Rob has been at Keele University since 1996, where he does both research and teaching on the undergraduate Physics and Astrophysics degree programmes. Before that he was a researcher at Birmingham University, where he received his PhD in X-ray astrophysics in 1991. He is a strong advocate of public understanding of science - and was awarded the 2015 Times Higher Education award for his work with Keele's "Stardome" portable planetarium in schools; and he is the leading contributor worldwide to the Q+A website  "Astronomy Stack Exchange" and 10th highest contributor to "Physics Stack Exchange".

Outside of academia he is a (Scottish) mountaineer and a fell-runner. he completed (sic) the Munros (mountains over 3000 feet in Scotland) in 2009 and has now almost finished the "postgraduate course" of the Corbetts (Scottish mountains over 2500 feet). Last year he ran the Lake District "Bob Graham Round" in under 24 hours, becoming the 2260th person to do so since 1960.

Additional Information from the web

As can be seen by this link (page last known to be updated 30/07/2020), Rob is on the steering committee of the Gaia-ESO Survey Consortium. Note that if you click on the link you will find further links to interesting information about the project.


If you would like to keep abrest of the amazing discoveries being made on this project, then the followinng links will help you on your way: