Festival 2017



Andrew Davies

Andrew Davies

Jane Green FRAS

Jane Green FRAS 2017


Andrew Davies is co-founder of the North West Astronomy Festival, previously of The Knowledge Observatory and now of Astrofarm France.  A passionate astronomer since childhood, Andrew is delighted to now be 'living the dream' in South West France and able to indulge nearly every night in his favourite pastime! He is well known and respected for his commitment to outreach,  and skills in sharing his knowledge and ability to engage complete beginners in astronomy.

With a Degree course in Astronomy and Planetary Sciences and an elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS), Jane is a presenter, motivational speaker, best-selling author, broadcaster and registered schools speaker, weaving her special magic for select clients in corporate team-building events to capacity audiences of all ages.

A guest on BBC Radio Four Midweek, and BBC Two’s Stargazing Live, as well as national and regional BBC Radio, she is currently resident astronomer for BBC Sussex & Surrey Radio, Uckfield 105FM and a co-host of Astronomy FM: Under British Skies.

Her book, the Haynes Astronomy Manual, is an international bestseller and a new edition has recently been released.


Your Festival Host

Andrew is the host for 2017 North West Festival. He will open and close the event on both days, introduce the speakers throughout the weekend and then deliver the awesome raffle in his very 'unique' way. This is Andrew's 5th and last year at the festival so don't miss the chance to wish him 'bon chance' in the future.


Join Jane for an insightful voyage into the ‘unknowable’ Universe! With stunning audio visuals and the latest movie footage, allow Jane to deconstruct the seemingly complex, de-mystify meaningless phrases and uncloak the darkest wonders of the cosmos to ultimately share what inspires her most … perspective, grandeur and beauty on the most majestic scale of all.

This journey begins and ends with ‘nothing’.  What could possibly fill the ‘space’ in between?  Perhaps ‘something’ you might never have considered … never in a million years.


Jane MacArthur


Twitter: @Jane_MacArthur
website: janemac.org

Jane MacArthur is studying planetary materials at the University of Leicester, in particular, the first breccia meteorite from Mars and comet grains returned by NASA's Stardust mission. Her studies have taken her to the Sudbury Impact Basin and the Kaali craters in Estonia, and involved astrobiology in the Azores, volcanology in Tenerife and New Mexico, and planetary surface processes in northern Arizona and Utah. Jane recently completed her 3 year elected term on the Royal Astronomical Society Council and remains a member of the RAS200 Steering Group, a five year education and outreach funding initiative.


Meteorites, Impact Cratering and Mars

The new breccia meteorite from Mars was formed in an impact event, from the regolith on Mars. This regolith contains the history of both former impact events and initial magmatic formation on Mars. In this talk I will give a general background to meteorites and our understanding of terrestrial impact cratering processes, and how they relate to my quest to understand this mysterious rock from Mars using some of the UK's most advanced microscope facilities.

Hilary Abernethy


Hilary works in the field of psychiatry and public health, and is an avid amateur astronomer, with a particular interest in moons, and is also a passionate amateur historian - especially about women in science. She is a member of Liverpool Astronomical Society and the Society for the History of Astronomy.

Hilary is very keen to dispel the myth surrounding Caroline Herschel as a mere handmaiden to her illustrious brother William. Despite her Cinderella start in life, she was a gifted singer, scientist, and astronomer in her own right,  and became the first women to ever be salaried for her scientific endeavours. As a singer herself, (who also has an astronomer as a big brother!) Caroline' story resonates with Hilary and she is very much looking forward to sharing Caroline's amazing life with the NWAstrofest audience.

Paul Hill


Paul Hill is a space science and astronomy communicator working with and for a range of organisations such as ESERO, UKSA, Science Museum, STFC, Royal Institution, Bestival and Super/Collider to take space workshops and shows into schools, science fairs, music festivals and art installations.

Paul is a Space Ambassador for ESA/ESERO, recently working on the Tim Peake Primary Project as well as being a fellow of the RAS. He has appeared on the BBC and is a writer and presenter on the ever popular Awesome Astronomy. He studied history as well as astronomy so has a love affair with all things Herschel.

Journey into Space.

How do you get to space? How do you survive once you are there? What about coming home? An all ages, interactive show about breaching the final frontier and getting home in time for tea and medals.


Stuart Atkinson

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Stuart Atkinson is the Secretary of the Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal, the largest and most active astronomy group on Cumbria. He writes a weekly "Skywatch" column for The Westmorland Gazette, and several monthly columns for "All About Space" magazine. Stuart broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Cumbria and is also the Comet Section Director of the Society for Popular Astronomy. His tenth book will be published later this year.

An absolute beginner's guide to STARGAZING

What you can see with the naked eye and binoculars…

How the sky changes through the night and through the year...

An honest talk for absolute beginners - no gobbledygook, no equations, and no fibs!


Julian Onions


Dr Julian Onions is a researcher in the Astronomy department at the University of Nottingham, where he studies how the universe evolves using large computer models to simulate the history since the big bang. He has given many public talks and appeared on TV and radio discussing a variety of astronomical phenomena.


Galaxies - One Gigayear at a time

What are galaxies, how are they classified, how are they formed, what do we understand about their lives, and how many pretty pictures can I fit in one talk.


Gary Palmer


Gary is a solar imager whose images have been widely published across a variety of media around the world. Prior to that he was a planetary and deep sky imager. Gary now concentrates on imaging the Sun at high resolution and creating large mosaics of the Sun. Gary is passionate about "Solar Outreach" bringing solar viewing to a wide range of people and groups. Gary has a wide ranging knowledge of equipment and how to set it up. He also works with large equipment manufacturers testing new equipment and provides them with images for publication.

The workshop will be an Astro Photography questions and answers session, covering all types of problems imagers have with equipment setup, capturing images and processing. Using your own images, Gary will walk you through how to get the best results from your photography. In clear and understandable language this workshop is for photographers at all levels from beginner to the more advanced astro photographer.

Anthony Jennings


Anthony Jennings is the President of Manchester Astronomical Society, one of the oldest astronomical societies in the country.  His 3D images have appeared on NASA’s STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) website. He has had photographs in Sky At Night and Astronomy Now magazines, and shown on Granada Television.  The Late Sir Patrick Moore once said about his colour pictures of the Moon,  “These images have been taken by the Apollo Missions” when in fact they had been taken from a back garden in Manchester.

3D Photography And Its Applications In Astronomy

This presentation will show the history of 3D imaging, how to create your own using free software along with seeing the very latest 3D images from NASA and ESA with an exclusive 3D image created just for this presentation.