Lecture meeting on 14th November 2022

The Spaceguard Centre

Talk by: Jonathan Tate

Jonathan Tate is the director of the Spaceguard Centre. Located near Knighton, the Spaceguard Centre is the National Near Earth Objects Information Centre (NNEOIC) is the only organisation in the UK dedicated to addressing the hazard of Near Earth Objects (NEOs).

NEOs are asteroids and comets that come close to, and sometimes collide with the Earth. Such impacts can have devastating effects – they have in the past and will in the future unless we use available technologies to prevent them.

The Centre aims to develop and maintain a world-class facility for astronomical research and science education, and to bring the wonders of the universe to everyone in a fun and understandable way.

Jon will talk about the work of the Centre and share his enthusiasm for the wonders of astronomy.

Speaker biography

For 26 years Jonathan Tate was a serving Army Officer, specialising in surface to air missile systems. In June 1996 Tate submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defence and the British National Space Centre proposing the establishment of a British National Spaceguard Centre to study the NEO hazard. Scientists worldwide lent their support. The Ministry of Defence dismissed the proposal. Later the Department of Trade and Industry established a Task Force to investigate the threat. The subsequent report validated the hazard, and made significant recommendations for action. Implementation of these recommendations did not happen.

In January 1997 Tate established Spaceguard UK, which became the largest independent Spaceguard organisation in the world. Thanks to the efforts of the members the subject of Spaceguard has been publicly debated in both Houses of Parliament, and Tate has been a regular contributor on television and radio, also in professional and popular journals

Tate is a member of the Board of Directors of the international Spaceguard Foundation, a consultant to the International Astronomical Union Working Group on Near Earth Objects and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is the Director of the Spaceguard Centre in mid-Wales and took over the role of National Near Earth Objects Information Centre in October 2013.

In 2013 Tate was awarded the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement in Planetary Science.

In recognition of his work Asteroid 15116, discovered by the Spacewatch programme in 2000. has been named “Jaytate”.

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