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SWHAS Monthly Meeting Feb 2023

24th February 2023 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Our next monthly meeting will feature Nick Howes talking about how to solve the problem of Space Debris.

Public awareness of the clutter and rubbish humankind is littering our planet and oceans with has never been higher. David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have firmly established the need to change our behaviour to avoid a catastrophe. But, whilst many companies and consumers are changing their behaviour to avoid plastic waste, a far bigger threat is looming, and one that will be much harder to solve. Currently over 130 million pieces of debris orbit our planet, ranging from microscopic to the size of a bus.

These are all in an uncontrollable set of orbits, many of the debris objects are smaller than a few cm, and as such, cannot be tracked. Yet, travelling at around 17,000 mph, pieces the size of a pea, could devastate a spacecraft, kill an astronaut, or astro-tourist and create a knock on effect, creating more and more debris, known as the Kessler Syndrome, famously seen in the Hollywood Movie “Gravity”.

The impact of this would be devastating to global climate monitoring, defence, navigation, shipping and pretty much every part of our lives. With the launch of the so called “mega” constellations, adding tens of thousands of new satellites, we are at a crisis tipping point.

Nick Howes, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Lead Research and Development/Test Engineer for a multinational defence and engineering company, explains the issues, and possible ways to stop this from happening.

The meeting will also include a news item of interest and a tour of the night sky.

We’re pleased to confirm that this will be a face-to-face meeting at the RMS and look forward to seeing you there.
A Zoom link will also be sent out to members before the meeting if you are unable to attend in person.


24th February 2023
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


South West Herts Astronomical Society


Royal Masonic School
Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire WD3 4HF United Kingdom + Google Map