2019 Convention & AGM

Tickets still available for purchase at the door (13th Sept 2019)

The 2019 FAS Convention will take place on September 14th 2019 at the Institute of Astronomy, at Cambridge University. The convention will start at 9.45am, closing at 6:00pm

Speaker lineup

  • Dr Mark Clilverd, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge – “Solar storm effects on ground-based infrastructure”. The study of solar eruptive phenomena has progressed over the centuries from scholarly recordings of astronomical events, such as sunspots, to advanced modelling of how solar activity may drive geophysical planetary responses, e.g., geomagnetic disturbances. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around the potential economic impacts of extreme space weather on modern society. Geomagnetic storms are potentially hazardous to the activities and technological infrastructure of modern civilization. The largest storms are triggered when coronal mass ejections from the Sun impact the Earth’s magnetic field. The reality of this hazard was dramatically demonstrated during the great magnetic storm of March 1989, when geomagnetically induced currents, driven by the time-varying geomagnetic field with the Earth’s surface layers, caused the collapse of the Hydro-Québec electrical power grid in Canada. Geomagnetically induced currents in ground systems are one of the better recognised hazards that can result from large geomagnetic storms, appearing in many national risk registers as a consequence of damage to power network transformers at high, mid and even comparatively low geomagnetic latitudes.
  • Dr Richard Ghail, Royal Holloway, University of London – “New insights from our closest Earth-sized exoplanet: Venus”.   From another solar system, current technology would reveal two Earth-like planets around our Sun, yet Venus could not be more hostile to life. Why is Venus so different to Earth and what are the implications for Earth-sized exoplanets? Inferences of volcanic activity from Venus Express have driven a reanalysis of Magellan and Venera data to transform our understanding of both Venus and Earth. This talk will summarise our new insights and outline plans for a comprehensive investigation of our enigmatic neighbour.
  • Jenny Lister, 2018 RAS Patrick Moore Medal Winner,Wetherby Preparatory School, London – “Astronomy for all: its place in education”.  Although Space is only taught in all its glory in Year 5 as part of the National Curriculum in England, it has the potential to enhance the teaching and learning in all year groups, beginning with Nursery. Long before children know the complexity of a semi-colon or past participle, they are intrigued by our night sky and what is going on in our universe. Space has the power to reach every child, regardless of background, gender or academic ability. It can be easily fitted in to a range of other subjects and increase the science capital through many pathways. I will share with you my space journey so far and how it has enabled me to excite all of the children I have taught, as well as whole-school and outside communities.
  • Dr Floor van Leeuwen, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge – “Details of the HR diagram as revealed by the second Gaia data release”The astrometric and photometric data of the 2nd Gaia data release (25 April 2018) has substantially extended our knowledge of the stellar relations between temperature and brightness and the way these relations are affected by age and chemical composition. These relations are more generally referred to as the Hertzsprung-Russell or HR diagram. Fine details have become clear which will aid future research in stellar structure and stellar evolution. Much extended coverage towards rare, intrinsically bright stars provided for the first time absolute brightness measurements for massive stars, while parallax and photometry data for low luminosity stars in clusters and associations show us aspects of very early stages of stellar evolution.
  • Prof Carlos Frenk, University of Durham – “Everything from nothing: how our universe was made”Cosmology addresses some of the most fundamental questions in science. How and when did our universe begin? What is it made of?
    How did galaxies and other structures form? There has been enormous progress in the past few decades towards answering these questions. For example, recent observations have established that our universe contains an unexpected mix of components: ordinary atoms, exotic dark matter and a new form of energy called dark energy. Gigantic surveys of galaxies reveal how the universe is structured. Large supercomputer simulations can recreate the evolution of the universe in astonishing detail and provide the means to relate processes occurring near the beginning with observations of the universe today. A coherent picture of cosmic evolution, going back to a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge. However, fundamental issues, like the identity of the dark matter and the nature of the dark energy, remain unresolved.

A copy of the program will be available closer to the date.

A number of traders will be at the Convention including:
Widescreen Centre
Space Rocks

More to be confirmed shortly.

Other activities: tours of the Cavendish Museum with Paul Fellows, tours of the telescopes.


£8 for FAS members
£10 for non-members
£4 for juniors (members and non-members)

Buy tickets for 2019 FAS Convention and AGM

To book tickets please select the link above, where you’ll be redirected to our event page where tickets can be purchased. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased at the door on the morning of the Convention (subject to availability – we recommend you book online to avoid disappointment).

AGM Material

An important part of the FAS Convention is the Annual General Meeting. The AGM documents can be found on our 2019 AGM Material page, which will be updated shortly.

Directions & Map:

Venue address: Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0HA

Parking: It is free to park at the  Madingley Road Park and Ride, if you want to go to Cambridge City Centre it costs £3 for a return. Park and Ride details can be found here.

The map here shows the location of the Park and Ride in relation to the Institute of Astronomy, it also highlights some places where food may be available.

A few car parking places are available on a first come first served basis at the IoA in Madingley Rise (off Madingley Rd.). The main car-park is circled yellow with some extra places a little further up, in the Greenwich House car-park, circled green

A Google Maps link is here.