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RAS Meetings

The RAS holds regular monthly meetings from October to May covering all aspects of astronomy and solid-earth geophysics, planetary sciences and solar-terrestrial physics. Usually, a pair of Specialist Discussion meetings for Fellows are followed by a more general Astronomy & Geophysics ('Ordinary') meeting, open to the public, of which a number of the talks are available here Ordinary Meeting Videos.

These regular meetings are held on the second Friday of the month, normally in the RAS and Geological Society lecture theatres (both at Burlington House, London). A map to these locations can be found here, and webcasts/podcasts of a number of meetings are available.

E-bulletins summarising imminent meetings can be subscribed to freely.


Specialist Discussion Meetings cover all branches of astrophysics and solid-earth geophysics (including, but not limited to, cosmology, astrobiology, astrochemistry, astroparticle physics, computational astrophysics; geophysical fluid dynamics, planetary sciences, solar-terrestrial physics). If you would like to give a talk at a Specialist Discussion Meeting, please contact the Meeting Organizer.


'Astronomy & Geophysics' (A&G) meetings, also called Ordinary Meetings, have more diverse programmes of talks, at a level accessible to a general audience of scientists (and advanced amateurs).  If you would like to give a talk at an A&G Meeting, please contact the Senior Secretary.

A&G Meetings are open to all, with free admission. Registration charges are levied for the February BGA meeting, and for non-Fellows attending any RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting.

International Women's Day RAS Public Lecture
Date: 8 Mar 2018
Time: 18:00

Free RAS Public Lecture


International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  This special public lecture features two female RAS Fellows. Dr Violeta Gonzalez-Perez, Post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth, and Dr Natasha Stephen, Lecturer in Advanced Analysis (Earth & Planetary Sciences).  Please book tickets via Eventbrite


Dr Violeta Gonzalez-Perez

How are we exploring the Universe's past?

In a quest to understand what the Universe is made of and how it evolves, current and future astronomical surveys are targeting very bright galaxies with a precise measurement of their distance. These particular type of galaxies are gas rich and they are forming new stars. They act like lanterns, shedding light on the characteristics of the Universe at different cosmic times.


Violeta grew up in Zaragoza, Spain. Her preferred role when playing as a kid was being a witch, because they had the power of knowledge. At 11 she fall in love with the beauty of the skies during a Planetarium show in Romania, where she didn't understood a thing. From there, she studied Physics, did her masters and a PhD, then worked as an Astrophysicist in Spain, France and the UK.


Dr Natasha Stephen
Extra-terrestrial Geology; a life without fieldwork?


Outside of Earth, the only place humans have set foot in our Solar System is our own Moon, yet we are successfully exploring the solar system using satellites, rovers and landers. Not many of these missions return samples to Earth, however, so geologists are using naturally delivered specimens to explore extra-terrestrial worlds instead. Join us as we look at what meteorites can tell us about the diverse Solar System around us, and how one geologist's choice to move from studying Icelandic volcanoes to Martian ones hasn't quite meant giving up the perk that is fieldwork from her career!


Natasha is an early-career Lecturer in Advanced Analysis (Earth & Planetary Sciences) at the University of Plymouth, UK. She finished her PhD in 2015 before moving to Plymouth, to take on a role managing the University's flagship Electron Microscopy Centre, as well as being the only planetary scientist on campus, lecturing extra-terrestrial geology to students and leading research programmes with postgraduates.

Natasha's research focuses on the exploration of our Solar System using samples returned to us by space missions (i.e. Apollo lunar samples, Hayabusa samples from asteroid Itokawa), or the naturally-delivered meteorites from Mars, the Moon, asteroids and beyond. Natasha is also part of an international team that actively go searching for meteorites, so whilst fieldwork isn't the logical choice for a geologist studying other worlds, it certainly isn't impossible.

Please note there is no admittance once the lecture begins at 6 pm as tickets are reallocated.





Ground effects of severe space weather events
Date: 9 Mar 2018
Time: 10:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by *Ciaran Beggan (BGS); Jim Wild (Lancaster); Mark Gibbs (Met Office)



As a society, the UK is reliant on continuously available electricity supplies and technology such as instantaneous satellite data and communications in order to function safely and efficiently. For example, systems such as transportation networks are increasingly automated and the computer networks which run them require accurate real-time information from embedded electronic sensors and other peripheral data such as timing derived from GPS. However, this dependence increases the exposure to impacts on technology from so-called severe space weather events. Space weather is usually defined as the response of Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere to sudden rapid changes in the properties of the solar wind such as increases in speed, density and magnetic field strength.

These changes in the magnetosphere and ionosphere cause the magnetic field at the Earth's surface to vary rapidly giving rise to geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) which can flow through conductive grounded equipment, such as high-voltage transformers, affecting the reliability of electricity supplies. The additional energy input from the solar wind also changes the conductivity structure of the ionosphere and pushes the auroral oval equatorward. This affects the propagation of radio waves through the atmosphere delaying GPS signals and leading to spatial and temporal errors on the ground; HF communications to circumpolar aircraft may also be disrupted. As well as the impact on electricity grids, GICs also cause additional unwanted corrosion in pipelines and the potential for signalling or other faults to develop in rail networks.

We seek presentations on a broad topic of ground effect of space weather in the UK (but specifically excluding satellite or spacecraft effects), in particular to GIC in power networks, railways and pipelines and topics such as impacts on surveyors and others end users (e.g. airlines/port authorities) of precise GPS location and timing data.

This specialist discussion meeting, aimed at academic and industry researchers and relevant end users, will discuss the latest research in the UK on understanding and ameliorating these impacts in light of recent developments in the field.


Registration and abstract submission is on the web-form below, with a deadline of 12th February 2018.


To register, and add abstracts:



Merging giant-star asteroseismology with the fate of extrasolar planetary systems
Date: 9 Mar 2018
Time: 10:30

A RAS Specialist Discusion organised by *Dr Tiago Campante (Birmingham); Dr Dimitri Veras (Warwick)



Although stars spend a significant fraction of their lives on the main sequence, they undergo their most dramatic physical changes during post-main-sequence evolution. The fates of their daughter planetary systems may be similarly violent. Hence, the simultaneous study of both planets and stars along the latter's subgiant and giant-branch phases is capable of providing constraints on tidal, mass-loss and radiative processes, as well as invaluable insight into the processes of planet formation and evolution. An international meeting in Haifa, Israel (2017) — the second in a series of conferences focussing on planetary systems beyond the main sequence — recently highlighted the growing interest in this new field of research among observers and theoreticians alike.

Over 100 planets and several debris discs are now known to orbit subgiant and giant stars, thereby providing constraints on their past and future evolution. Further, the absence of planets close to other giant stars signifies destructive processes at work. A critical restriction on the nature and timescale of these destructive processes is stellar age, a previously poorly- constrained property.
Fortunately, new insights on the theory of stellar evolution and stellar interiors physics have been made possible by asteroseismology, the study of stars by the observation of their natural, resonant oscillations. Asteroseismology is proving to be particularly significant for the study of evolved stars, namely, subgiant and red-giant stars. These stars exhibit solar-like oscillations. The information contained in solar-like oscillations allows fundamental stellar properties (e.g., mass, radius and age) to be precisely determined, while also allowing the internal stellar structure to be constrained to unprecedented levels. As a result, asteroseismology is quickly maturing into a powerful tool whose impact is being felt more widely across different domains of astrophysics. A noticeable example is the synergy between asteroseismology and exoplanetary science.

During this RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting we will review our current understanding of the evolution and fate of extrasolar planetary systems during the subgiant- and red-giant-branch stellar evolutionary phases. Furthermore, by bringing together members of the leading UK exoplanets and asteroseismology communities, we expect to establish a roadmap for the effective and synergetic exploitation of the wealth of space-based data that will soon become available to both communities. In this regard, we highlight the upcoming NASA TESS and ESA CHEOPS satellites, both with launches scheduled for 2018, thus stressing the timeliness of this meeting.


RAS Ordinary Meeting
Date: 9 Mar 2018
Time: 16:00



Dr Rowan Smith, University of Manchester
Filaments and Dark Gas: The environment of star formation in spiral galaxies


Dr Kelig Aujogue, University of Birmingham
Little Earth Experiment: A journey towards the Earth's Tangent Cylinder


Prof. Karin Öhberg, Harvard University
Chemistry of Planet Formation and Planetary Habitability

European Week of Astronomy & Space Science (EWASS)/National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) 2018
Date: 3 Apr 2018
Time: 09:00

Joint annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS) and the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)


Call for Session Organisers : deadline on 14 July 2017


Dynamics and evolution of Earth’s coupled core-mantle system
Date: 11 May 2018
Time: 10:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by Chris Davies (Leeds);
Andy Biggin (Liverpool); Dario Alfe (UCL)


The Gravitational Wave Binary Black Hole Opportunity For Astronomy
Date: 11 May 2018
Time: 10:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by *Carole Mundell (Bath); Samaya Nissanke (Radboud); Hiranya Peiris (UCL)


Date: 11 May 2018
Time: 16:00

RAS Ordinary Meeting
Date: 11 May 2018
Time: 17:00

Talks tba


  • Fees: Admission to the Society's Monthly A&G (Ordinary) Meetings is open to all, at no charge. Admission to the Specialist Discussion Meetings is normally free to RAS members and £15 to non-members (£5 to students), collected on the door, while  GSL members may normally attend "G" meetings at no charge. Note that special rates apply for the February BGA meeting. RAS and GSL members should bring their membership cards, and students their student cards, as identification.
  • Tea will be served before A&G meetings (15:30, at Geological Society Lecture Theatre, Burlington House). A drinks reception will follow A&G meetings, in the Burlington House apartments of Royal Astronomical Society.
  • Coffee/registration for Specialist Discussion Meetings will commence a half-hour before the formal start time.
  • Copies of the detailed programme will be circulated, to those who have asked for them, approximately two weeks in advance of each meeting. Any member who does not already receive these details but wishes to do so should notify the Executive Director.
  • Those wishing to make a contribution at a Specialist Discussion Meeting should contact the appropriate organizers.
  • The Society welcomes suggestions for venues and topics for half- or one-day regional meetings; contact the Secretary or Executive Director.
  • Detailed notes for organizers (including the Code of Conduct for RAS meetings) are available for reference.