Astronomy Talks

Talks run on Monday evenings from 7:30 – 8:30pm in the Royal Observatory Edinburgh Lecture Theatre. The programme for 2018-19 starts on Monday 29th October. If you would like a paper copy of the programme, please call us on 0131 6688 404 or email us at to request one.

Tickets must be purchased in advance through Eventbrite using the links below. Only the first 10 talks will be bookable at first, with the remaining 10 becoming available from 7th January 2019. If you would like to book an advance ticket offline, please call us on 0131 6688 404.

Season Tickets are available to buy online and on the door from the start of the series.

Please note that the season ticket is a discount scheme and does not guarantee a place at each talk; seats still must be reserved via Eventbrite under the "Season Ticket Holder" option before to attending each talk.

Astronomy Talks Leaflet [PDF/1.93 MB]

Astronomy Talks 2018 - 2019


17th December 2018

What’s Up: Putting the Science into Stargazing!

Alastair Bruce, Martin Black & William Taylor

A beginner’s guide to the night sky, including a round-up of recent astronomical news and the science of celestial sights. Feel free to bring questions along with you!

Sold Out - Waitlist Available

7th January 2019

Quasars: The What, The How and the Why?

Nicholas Ross

What exactly is a quasar? And why do we care? And do black holes really suck in everything around them? In this talk, I'll give an explanation and update on what a quasar really is, why these crazy objects are useful to astronomers and hopefully dispel a few myths about black holes.

Sold Out - Waitlist Available

14th January 2019

The UK Fireball Network, as part of a Global Fireball Observatory

Luke Daly

We are building the UK branch of a global fireball network of all sky cameras. These cameras are designed to image fireballs, triangulate and recover meteorites with orbits. These meteorites give us the context we need to understand the evolution of our Solar System. But, we need your help!

Book Tickets

Previous Talks 2018 - 2019


10th December 2018

Space-Time Surfing: Catching the Wave

Matteo Cataneo

Be prepared for the very tiny and the humongous, for extreme engineering and brilliant ideas, for success stories and unfortunate glitches. Join me in this incredible quest for the most wanted and elusive waves in the Universe!

3rd December 2018

Confessions of an Astronomer

Ian Robson

A light-hearted and personal look at the life of a professional astronomer revealing that working life is full of ‘interest’; from exploits in Hawaii to fighting for the very future of the ROE. The talk has many amusing anecdotes, is lavishly illustrated and contains not a single equation!

26th November 2018

The Gaia Mission: Unravelling the Composition, Formation and Evolution of our Galaxy

Nick Rowell

The Gaia space telescope is the European Space Agency's flagship space astronomy mission. It is carrying out an extraordinarily precise survey of our Galaxy the Milky Way, offering astronomers unprecedented insights into how galaxies like ours form and evolve. This talk will give a broad introduction to the mission including the observing principles, technology and data processing effort required to operate a precision scientific instrument in deep space, and present some of the astronomical highlights from the early stages of the mission and what can be expected in the years to come.

19th November 2018

Precision Engineering – A key Enabler of Progress in Astronomy

Colin Cunningham

Manufacturing telescopes and their instruments pushes the art and science of precision engineering to its limits. This lecture will show how precision engineering and astronomy technology have developed together, each stimulating the other, and will speculate how new manufacturing technologies will enable future progress.

12th November 2018

Painting on Dark Matter

Tilman Tröster

Very recent developments in machine learning have allowed computers to draw sketches, create photo-realistic images, and even compose music. This talk will explain the basic concepts of machine learning and how its power can be harnessed to 'paint' galaxies onto dark matter.

5th November 2018

The Great Galactic Graveyard of the Milky Way

Pete Kuzma

The peacefulness of the night sky is hiding a horrendous secret - the Milky Way is littered with remains of smaller galaxies that met an unfortunate end when attempting to interact with our larger galaxy. Just how often this occurs and their importance will be the topic of this ghastly talk.

29th October 2018

What’s Up: Putting the Science into Stargazing!

Matjaz Vidmar

A beginner’s guide to the night sky, including a round-up of recent astronomical news and the science of celestial sights. Feel free to bring questions along with you!