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About us

A friendly society which welcomes new members from absolute beginner to experienced observer. 

If you are interested in joining, come along to one of the meetings or e-mail John Vale-Taylor for more details.

Background

The Society was founded in the autumn of 1997, after the conclusion of a very successful Adult Education GCSE Astronomy Course, held at Uplands College. Several of the students – and their lecturer Rob Cray – wanted to develop their knowledge and share their enthusiasm with others.

Monthly meetings – with a talk by a recognised expert – provide a forum for this, and for the lively exchange of news and views over a coffee break or in the pub.

Tim Bance and his 18" DobsonianSeveral of the members are skilled DIY telescope builders (Tim Bance is shown here with the 18" Dobsonian that he built) and are always willing to share their experience, give advice and – of particular value – ‘hands on’ assistance in constructing, buying or setting up instruments.

This has helped members to buy the right instrument for their purpose – and avoid an expensive hyped purchase that might have been the wrong choice.

A monthly newsletter is sent to all members – by post or e-mail as preferred. This not only reports on the previous month’s meeting but contains other useful information about the Society and astronomy at large.

Visitors are welcome at our meetings – so come and see what excitement astronomy can provide.

Other events are arranged at shorter notice, including star parties and a summer barbecue.

Facilities

The Society now has its own telescope, available for members in good standing to borrow for periods of one month at a time. In addition, many members are well equipped – both with instruments and observatories. The instruments range from 10 cm to half a metre and cover all the basic types: reflectors, refractors, Schmidt Casssegrain and Dobsonians; observatories range from a small garden shed to more sophisticated specialised constructions. When viewing conditions allow, star parties are held at members’ viewing sites.

Members are also well equipped for photography and CCD observations of the deep sky, the planets and the moon – and, with care, of the sun. We also have good links with the University of Sussex Astronomy Department and have paid visits to the Herstmonceaux observatory.

The Society is fortunate to have access to a wide range of speakers each year – both professional astronomers and skilled amateurs, who are happy to share their knowledge and enthusiasms with us.

A new feature of our monthly meetings is a short talk on one of the constellations and its key stars, to help beginners find their way around the sky.

We also have an early warning system to notify the membership of interesting astronomical events before they happen.

Annual Subscriptions:

£15 for individuals.

£20 for couples or families.

Affiliated to the Federation of Astronomical Societies.