Gerard Gilligan is acting meetings secretary.

If you wish to contact Gerard please use


SHA Summer Picnic 2022

was on Saturday 25th June and included A Visit to the City of Bath & Herschel Museum of Astronomy with a walking tour of Bath


This will be on Sat 22 Oct 2022 at 10 am–5 pm at the Birmingham & Midland Institute, 9 Margaret St, Birmingham, B3 3BS.
Speakers include:

– Clive Davenhall, Pyramids, Photography and Pseudoscience
– Daniel Belteki, The winter of raw computers: the history of the lunar and planetary     reductions of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich
– Christopher Taylor, The Astronomers and the Birth of Atomic Physics
– Mike Leggett, The Billingborough Astronomer: Star colours and Edward Iszatt Essam
– Allan Chapman, Sir John Herschel 1792–1871 – The Universal Philosopher of the Age:     Astronomer, Scholar, and the pioneer of photography

The registration fee is: SHA members £15; non-members £20

Conference Poster

Conference Flier

For more details and pre-booking, please contact the Meetings Secretary above.


The next Online talk will be on Saturday 3 Sep 2022 (12.00 noon)

Title: Telescopes, Temples, Eclipses and Ethnohistory: Exploring the Exciting Astronomical History of Southeast Asia

Speakers: Dr Wayne Orchiston & Darunee Lingling Orchiston

Further details to follow in due course


The SHA – Birthday Webinar was from 7pm  June 29, 2022

Members Presentations 20 – 30 minutes


Title: Animistic Constellations in Ancient Greece                  Presenter: Bernie Taylor

The historical record of western astronomy almost exclusively attributes the constellations in Claudius Ptolemy’s Almagest to earlier Greek and Mesopotamian sources. The theme of post Mesopotamian constellations in the Almagest also revolves around wild animals and mythical creatures that are more typically associated with hunter-gatherer and animistic cultures while the Mesopotamian constellations are more agricultural-oriented. This is culturally counter-intuitive as the ancient Greeks developed mathematical principles, built mechanical devices and were more sedentary than their Mesopotamian predecessors. This research compares constellation images in Upper Paleolithic Iberian caves from more than 30,000 years ago with constellations in the Almagest to source Pre-Mesopotamian origins of Greek constellations and partly explainwhy Ptolemy added hunter-gatherer animistic themed constellations in a time of great scientific achievement

A link to the Youtube video can be found here


Title – Eclipse of the Sun Wednesday 29th June 1927.     Presenter: Graham Mcloughin

The Highly anticipated Total Eclipse of the Sun 29th June 1927, the first Total eclipse to be viewed from the U.K. in 203 years. The eclipse occurred early morning across North Wales heading east over Lancashire North Yorkshire and North east of England then departing over the North Sea. At the Time it was the largest mass movement of people in the U.K. to view the eclipse in a narrow path of totality 32 miles wide. In this short presentation I will share some rare stories and photographs of the time.

A link to the Youtube video can be found here


Title – “David Gill & the Dunecht Observatory – the forgotten past of a world class observatory”.             Presenter: Neville Browne

Aberdonian David Gill was a watchmaker but his real love was astronomy – and he became the first director of the Dunecht observatory in 1872. Where, you may ask? In its time one of the world’s great observatories, now demolished, and the forerunner of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. Quite a story!”

A link to the Youtube video can be found here


Title: Did Philolaus influence Aristarchus: A reconsideration of the evidence  Presenter: Hilary Forbes

Philolaus (c. 470 – c. 385 BCE) was a Greek Pythagorean and pre-Socratic philosopher. Philolaus discussed a Central Fire as the centre of the universe and that spheres (including the Sun) revolved around it. Scholarship is divided as to whether his Pyrocentric model was based on religious ideas or was a radical new science of his time based on observations and what was known. There is no direct evidence that Aristarchus was influenced by his Pyrocentric Universe yet there is plenty of indirect evidence to suggest that he was, including Copernicus’ own thinking in his associating Aristarchus with Philolaus.

A link to the Youtube video can be found here