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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.

High-latitude magnetospheres: Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn
Date: 10 Mar 2017
Time: 10:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by *Licia Ray (Lancaster); Jonathan Nichols (Leicester); Sarah Badman (Lancaster)



Energy and momentum are transferred between a planetary atmosphere and its surrounding plasma environment through the high-latitude magnetosphere. In this region, which is characterised by a strong magnetic field and low plasma density, magnetospheric particles are accelerated as they descend down towards the planetary atmosphere, where they can generate intense auroral emissions. Single spacecraft (e.g. FAST) and constellation missions (e.g. Cluster) have extensively explored Earth's high-latitude magnetosphere over the past two decades. The host of ground- and space-based support, along with in situ measurements, numerical models, and theoretical descriptions have helped to build a global picture of the underlying drivers and physical processes that contribute to spatial and temporal variations in these high-latitude regions, although outstanding questions such as the nature of the particle acceleration remain.


In contrast, Juno and Cassini Grand Finale missions are currently investigating the high-latitude magnetospheric regions of Jupiter and Saturn, respectively, with unprecedented detail, providing ground-breaking in-situ data. Both missions are complemented by Earth-based remote observations, numerical and theoretical models.


This specialist discussion meeting will compare in situ measurements, remote observations, theoretical descriptions, and numerical models of the high-latitude regions of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn, offering insight into how differing magnetospheric properties i.e. magnetic field strength, plasma sources, rotation rates, solar-wind interaction, influence the properties of the high-latitude magnetosphere and affect the universal processes of auroral acceleration, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. Participation is encouraged from the terrestrial and planetary communities with an eye towards increased collaboration.


10:00 Coffee / Registration



10:30 Bob Ergun (CU-Boulder / LASP)
Physical processes of the aurora at Jupiter and Earth: Similarities and differences (invited)

11:00 Jonathan Nichols (Univ. of Leicester)
Response of Jupiter's auroras to conditions in the interplanetary medium as measured by the Hubble Space Telescope and Juno

11:15 Rosie Johnson (Univ. of Leicester)
Jupiter's polar ionospheric flows: high resolution mapping of spectral intensity and line-of-sight velocity of H3+ ions

11:30 Becky Gray (Lancaster Univ.)
Comparison of UV and X-Ray auroral flares

11:45 Rob Fear (Univ. Southampton)
How much flux does a flux transfer event transfer?



13:00 Emma Bunce (Univ. of Leicester)
MI coupling and aurora at Saturn (and Jupiter) (invited)

13:30 Colin Forsyth (UCL/MSSL)
When are FACs not facts: Testing single spacecraft assumptions with Swarm

13:45 Julia Stawarz (Imperial College)
Field-aligned Poynting flux in Earth's magnetotail

14:00 Ewen Davies (Imperial College)
Swept forward magnetic field variability in high latitude regions of Saturn's magnetosphere

14:15 Emma Woodfield (British Antarctic Survey)

Wave-Particle interactions with energetic electrons at Earth, Jupiter and Saturn


Patrick Guio (UCL)
Charged particle dynamics in a magnetodisc field structure

Will Dunn (UCL/MSSL)
The Auroral Dynamic Duo: Jupiter's independently pulsating X-ray hot spots

Joe Kinrade (Lancaster Univ.)
Rotational modulation of Saturn's UV auroras in 2014

Andrew Fazakerley (UCL/MSSL)
Cluster dual-spacecraft observations of Kinetic Alfven Waves in the Plasma Sheet Boundary Layer

John Coxon (Univ. Southampton)
Energy accumulation, storage and release in the Earth's magnetotail lobes across the substorm cycle

Arianna Sorba (UCL)
Modelling the compressibility of Saturn's magnetosphere in response to internal and external influences

Joe Reed (Univ. Southampton)
Low Frequency Extensions of the Saturn Kilometric Radiation as a proxy for magnetospheric dynamics

Greg Hunt (Imperial College)
Saturn's field-aligned currents: The roles of plasma angular velocity and effective Pedersen conductivity

The Golden Age of Extra-Galactic Optical Transient Surveys
Date: 10 Mar 2017
Time: 10:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by Dr Mike Childress (Southampton);
Dr Kate Maguire (Belfast); Prof Bob Nichol (Portsmouth); *Prof Mark Sullivan (Southampton)



We are entering a golden-age in the study of optical transients. Many surveys with leading UK involvement are reaching maturity in both the imaging and spectroscopic domains. These have provided rich datasets for cosmological studies (e.g., with type Ia supernovae), and diverse datasets with which to explore the extragalactic transient universe, revealing unexpected types of cosmic explosions and transient events (e.g., superluminous supernovae, tidal disruption events). Progress in the next few years may see the first optical/IR counterparts of both gravitational wave sources and fast radio bursts. Simultaneously, these data are inspiring new state-of-the art theoretical models to uncover the detailed physics. With new time-domain surveys and instruments/facilities on the horizon such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Zwicky Transient Factory (ZTF), this meeting will review the current status of optical transient science and look to the future of what may be revealed by the next generation of cutting-edge facilities. We welcome contributions on all aspects of extragalactic optical transients, observational and theoretical, both science-focussed and forward-looking to new facilities.

RAS Ordinary Meeting
Date: 10 Mar 2017
Time: 16:00



Dr John Armitage (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris), RAS Research Fellowship
Can variations in the Earth's orbit create stratigraphic sequences?


Ms Jane MacArthur (University of Leicester)
The first regolith breccia meteorite from Mars


Professor Kathryn Johnston (Columbia University)
Physical Manifestations of Evolution, Regularity and Chaos In and Around Our Galaxy


Our Galaxy is thought to be dynamically young with a fairly smooth potential dominated by a nearly spherical dark matter halo that has evolved little in the last several billion years. These attributes broadly suggest that potential evolution and dynamical chaos should have negligible influences on the orbits of its constituent stars, as well as on the stellar structures they collectively support. This talk reviews some recent results which point to signatures of Galactic evolution and the chaotic nature of stellar orbits that can be (and have been) observed.

Science with cubesats
Date: 7 Apr 2017
Time: 10:00

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by *Helen Walker (STFC/RAL); Andrew Holland (Open); Ross Burgon (Open)


Please note not usual second Friday of the month date due to Good Friday falling then, plus earlier start and finish times.


Synergies between intensity mapping and optical galaxy surveys
Date: 7 Apr 2017
Time: 10:00

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by *Robert Crittenden (Portsmouth);
Alkistis Pourtsidou (Portsmouth); Clive Dickinson (Manchester)


Please not not usual 2nd Friday of month date due to Good Friday falling then, plus earlier start and finish times.




RAS Ordinary Meeting
Date: 7 Apr 2017
Time: 16:00

Talks tbc:

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope
Date: 12 May 2017
Time: 10:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by *Sarah Bridle (Manchester); Bob Mann (Edinburgh)


UK-SEDI: Study of the Earth's interior at the cutting edge
Date: 12 May 2017
Time: 10:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by Andy Nowacki (Leeds); Richard Holme (Liverpool),Tim Elliott (Bristol)



The Study of the Earth's Deep Interior (SEDI) focusses on the study of Earth's mantle and core and has links to comparative planetology. The meeting will comprise invited review talks, contributed student-presented talks and include discussion about the big, unsolved questions in deep Earth research. Additionally we will have the opportunity for poster presentations over an extended lunch. This meeting will help to identify important topics in deep Earth research to which the UK SEDI community might contribute and we hope to foster new collaborations between UK and international deep Earth researchers. Submissions for contributed talks (abstract required) or posters (title required) on any SEDI-related theme are welcome.


For more details and abstract submission, see the meeting website at:


Date: 12 May 2017
Time: 16:00

The AGM is only open to Fellows; non-Fellows intending to attend the following Ordinary meeting are welcome to wait in the Lower Library of the Geological Society.

RAS Ordinary Meeting
Date: 12 May 2017
Time: 17:00

Talks tbc:


  • 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.