The arrival of Autumn means one thing to astronomers: darker skies. Every spring an autumn, astronomers gather along with their telescopes, campervans and tents for “star parties”. One such meet-up is AstroCamp, held near Cwmdu in the Brecon Beacons. At just an hour or so north of Cardiff it’s not too far, and I’ve been going along to these meetings for the last few years.
The weather can be unpredictable, and while that can put a stop to observing the skies, it does little to dampen the spirits. Astronomers are a pretty social bunch, and enjoy sharing in the experience. I thought I’d ask a few of the AstroCamp-ers what attracted them to astronomy and AstroCamp, and what got them started in the first place.
It’s also been a busy summer for a few Cardiff astronomers, with an analysis of data from the Herschel Space Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope revealing how galaxies evolve and change over cosmic time. I spoke to two Cardiff members of the international collaboration, Dr Matt Smith and PhD student Matt Allen (aka UKAstroNut), about what they’ve learned.