Historical Section Meeting

Saturday 8th Jun 201908:00

Our Historical Section meeting this year takes place on Saturday 8th June 2019, at the Mencap Centre, Enborne Gate, Newbury, RG14 6AT from 10:00 to 17:00 (doors open at 09:30).

The cost will be £10 for BAA members and £15 for non-members, including both refreshments and buffet lunch.


09:30               Doors open

09:30 – 10:00  Refreshments & Registration

10:00 – 10:00  Introduction and Welcome – Mike Frost

10:10 – 11:05  Dr Stuart Eves – “William Herschel and the Rings of Uranus”

The textbooks claim that the ring system of Uranus was discovered during an occultation experiment in 1977. Stuart’s presentation will propose that William Herschel may actually deserve the credit for discovering the Epsilon ring in 1789, and will suggest a variety of mechanisms that may explain the lack of observations over the intervening period.

11:05 – 12:00  Eddie Carpenter – “The History of Visual Aids in Astronomy 1824-1940”

Eddie will be talking about the visual aids that were used in the 1824 – 1940 era and showing a selection of them. The talk will be delivered using a magic lantern.

12:00 – 13:30  Lunch Break (buffet lunch is included in the ticket price)

13:30 – 13:35  Welcome back

13:35 – 14:30  Bill Barton – “Fiammetta Wilson – Musician and Astronomer”

You may have seen Bill’s recent excellent paper on Alice Grace Cook, co-director of the BAA Meteor section during the First World War. Bill has also done research on her co-director, Fiammetta Wilson, and has unearthed extraordinary, previously unpublished detail on Fiammetta’s life. How did Helen Frances Worthington of Lowestoft become Fiammetta Wilson, prolific meteor observer and leader of a mandolin orchestra?

14:30 – 15:25  Dr Sian Prosser – “How to do Research in Astronomical History”

Who better to tell us about how to research astronomical history than the librarian of the Royal Astronomical Society? Sian Prosser will give us tips on the many resources available both online and in the RAS’s superb library in Burlington House.

15:25 – 15:50  Refreshments

15:50 – 16:50  Bob Mizon – “The History of the Dark Sky Movement”

Bob will take us through the battle for darker skies that has been waged in a growing number of countries since the late 1980s. If Liechtenstein can pass laws on protecting the sky, surely the UK can!

17:00               Meeting Ends

The Mencap Centre is located 1 km from the centre of Newbury, a fifteen-minute walk from Newbury Station. There is plenty of free car parking in the grounds. The centre is the meeting place of Newbury Astronomical Society, who will be hosting us. Newbury AS are also meeting on the evening of Fri June 7th and anyone staying overnight is invited to come along.

We look forward to seeing you!

Mike Frost, B.A.A. Historical Section Director

Lee Macdonald, Deputy Section Director


West Berkshire Mencap Centre, Enborne Gate, Newbury, RG14 6AT

google map code for website

Booking Information

The cost will be £10 for BAA members and £15 for non-members, including refreshments and buffet lunch.

You can pay on the day or pre-book for the meeting using one of the following methods:

  • Booking through the BAA online shop
  • Print the pdf or Word booking form and return it to the BAA Office by Friday 30th May 2019.
  • Contact the BAA office on 0207 734 4145 (staffed 10am to 4pm, Mon-Fri).