Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

The Star of Bethlehem



Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ is Director of the Vatican Observatory and the President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. He is a native of Detroit, Michigan, received SB and SM degrees from MIT, and earned his PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona. Along with more than 200 scientific publications mostly in the field of meteorites and asteroids, he is also a monthly columnist in The Tablet and the author of six popular astronomy books, most recently (with Fr. Paul Mueller) Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? which includes a lengthy discussion of the topic covered in this talk. In 2014 he received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences.

Zoom Login Information:
Join us on Zoom by following the link below. We shall also be streaming to Facebook Live.
Meeting ID: 236 509 2814

View on Facebook live by typing Edinburgh Jesuit Centre into Facebook
For more information contact edinburghjesuitcentre@jesuit.org.uk

Tuesday 15 December 7pm

Members should by now have received the Zoom log in details for tomorrow. The original intention was to offer a quiz followed by a short AGM but in view of the fact that two of our key office holders can’t now make it tomorrow evening, we shall have to go for the AGM on the evening of our January meeting instead.

Because the Zoom time is limited to 45 minutes (7.00-7.45) I am sending an invitation as well for a second meeting. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s Christmas by not having time to give the answers if we run over the 45 minutes!

Steven (Secretary)

December Programme

You know what they say about London buses – you wait ages for one to come and then 2 or 3 come at once! It’s a bit like that this month because we have 2 meetings scheduled on successive Tuesdays for all members who are able to join us online.

On Tuesday 8 December at 7pm we have a talk by Dr Pete Edwards of Durham University who spoke to us a couple of years ago on the subject of Exoplanets. His theme on this occasion is dark matter and dark energy, so appropriately his talk is entitled, “The Dark Side of the Universe”.

On Tuesday 15th, also at 7pm, we offer a short Astronomy Quiz followed by an AGM, which we hope we might get through fairly speedily given the fact that it has to be conducted online. We usually hold our AGM in May but of course that coincided with lockdown when our meetings had been suspended.

If AGM’s are not your scene please consider coming online on Tuesday 15th at 7pm anyway, as I hear that Santa may be putting in an appearance that evening!

Mark should have sent out the Zoom details for next Tuesday, but if anyone hasn’t received these, please send a message to our Facebook page.


‘AntiMatter in Space’

This is the intriguing title of the talk to be given by Dr Alec MacKinnon of Glasgow University via Zoom on Tuesday 10th November at 7pm. Mark has now sent emails with log in details to members but if anyone would like to participate and has not received these please message us on the Society’s Face Book page and we will make sure you get them.


Thank You to Mark and Hayden – The Geology of Mercury

No, Mark and Hayden will have nothing to do, you will probably gather, with the creation of the Geology of Mercury, but just to offer many thanks to them both. To Mark Toner, for hosting the session on Zoom, and to Hayden for delivering our excellent first talk of this year’s programme on imaging M27 through the Deep Horizon Telescope.

The Clydesdale Club has kindly invited us to take part, if members wish to, in an online Zoom meeting whose subject is The Geology of Venus. This is on Monday evening, October 19th at 7pm. I will ask Mark to send log in details to our members by email.


Autumn Programme

Hi to all our members and potential members, and  I hope you are all keeping safe and well!

In the light of the Coronavirus pandemic it was decided to forego a meeting in September and to resume the programme in October, creating a longer time from the virus’s peak and hoping that infection numbers would have declined further.

Anyway, 3 talks have now been arranged between now and the end of this calendar year.  These will be delivered remotely through Zoom. The plan is for Hayden Goodfellow to begin our programme by speaking to us in October about the Horizon Event Telescope and its imaging of the Black Hole in M87. (Hayden has been a public astronomer at the Kielder Observatory but is leaving for new pastures as a physics teacher at an academy in Edinburgh. We wish him well as a friend of our club!). In November, our speaker is due to be Dr Alex MacKinnon from Glasgow University who will take as his subject, Antimatter in Space, whilst the subject of Dr Pete Edwards, Durham University, in December, has yet to be confirmed.

These talks will be at 7pm on the second Tuesdays of October, November and December.  Due to the ongoing problems with Coronavirus and the increased restrictions on meetings we will be meeting virtually on Zoom. To take part, please email the society at the address given on the right under “Contact Us” and we will send you the connection details ahead of each meeting.

We won’t be able to share refreshments on Zoom, so Ken and Ann why not finish off any lovely chocolate digestives which may still be in the tin?!!


The Way ahead for the 2020-2021 Season?

We continue to live through extraordinary times with the current Global Coronavirus Pandemic, and this has meant that the planning of the programme for the 2020-2021 season has not been an easy task!

We have booked the room at Lochvale House from October through to December 2020, but given the present health and safety problems no speakers have been invited to come in person as there is the strong possibility that even if they are willing to come, there is every chance that they may have to alter their plans in the light of of future developments. I am now though, contacting a number of the guest speakers we have had in the past, to ask if they can offer us a talk using IT remotely.

What we are now looking at is setting a programme in place where we will interact with speakers through an App like Zoom, so that they won’t have to travel from Glasgow, say. It will be very helpful at this stage is to get an indication of how many members would be happy to attend the meetings at our normal venue of Lochvale House with safe distancing, wearing masks etc. or if this seems to our members not to be the way to go,  to indicate that simply connecting up remotely is the best plan.

Can I ask all members to send me an e/mail to indicate if they are happy to come to Lochvale House, or instead whether they they think the best plan is to engage as a club entirely remotely through Zoom sessions and not meet centrally at all for the next several months?

Please e/mail me at stevenballard365@yahoo.co.uk this week if possible, and I will collate the responses and post up the suggestion that the majority of our members come up with.

Thank you for your help and understanding!


(Secretary Dumfries Astronomy Society)

‘In the Footsteps of Giants – Kelvin, Tait, Maxwell, Wilson to Higgs and Beyond’

This is the title chosen by Dr Alan Walker, an Edinburgh based physicist, who will be with us on the evening of Tuesday 10th March.

He adds, by way of what we can expect, that this will be “A random walk amongst Scottish  and other natural philosophers and physicists whose influence shaped a large part of the physics and technology of today”

Dr Walker is both a friend and professional associate of Professor Higgs, (he of the Higgs-Bosum fame no less!), and we look forward to having Alan with us, especially because his visit scheduled to us in the autumn had to be postponed at short notice because of illness.

Lochvale House, Tuesday 10th March, 7pm.