Michael White is the meetings secretary.

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For the foreseeable future SHA meetings will be online, due to the Covid 19 health emergency. As these are organised, the details will be posted here.

The second online lecture will be on  Thursday 11 March at 19:00 GMT

Places are limited, so register your interest ASAP with Michael using the email above. Michael will send the joining details in due course to all registered attendees.

Vera Rubin: The life of a remarkable astronomer

Speaker Dr Jacqueline Mitton

Vera Rubin, who died in 2016, was one of the most influential astronomers of her generation. Her groundbreaking work on the rotation of galaxies was instrumental in convincing other astronomers and the public that dark matter exists in abundance in the universe. Not only that, she helped transform the career prospects of women scientists by campaigning vigorously for women to be treated and recognized in the same way as their male colleagues.

Jacqueline and Simon Mitton were the first people to have access to Rubin’s papers and correspondence, now preserved in the US Library of Congress. This gave them unique and in-depth insight into her character and her fascinating life as she dealt with discrimination and combined family life with an outstanding career. In this talk, Jacqueline will give an overview of her life, and offer some thoughts on where her contributions fit in the history of astronomy.

About the speaker

Jacqueline Mitton read physics at Somerville College, Oxford, then took a PhD in astronomy at Cambridge. Most of her career has been dedicated to sharing her enthusiasm for astronomy with a variety of audiences in numerous different ways, particularly writing, editorial work, and media relations. In 1989 she became the first ever Press Officer of the Royal Astronomical Society and has served as Editor of both the Journal and Handbook of the British Astronomical Association. She is the author or co-author of over 30 books. The most recent of these is Vera Rubin: A life, a biography of Rubin, which was written in collaboration with her husband Simon Mitton and published in February 2021.


The first online lecture was on Tue 12th Jan 2021 when Ian Glass (South African Astronomical Observatory) delivered a fascinating talk on 200 years of the Cape Observatory. This was delivered live from South Africa. A video recording of it can be viewed here via YouTube for a limited time period.