History

The society was founded in 2007 by Mike Philips, Mark Winward, Julian Leckie and Rob Simes. Earlier that year Mike had bought his first telescope in order to take his long standing interest in astronomy further. He soon decided to try to find other local stargazers, placing an advert in the local paper which led to the founding of the society with Mike as its first chairman.

Founder members, l-r: Rob, Mark, Julian and Mike.

Activities

We hold regular monthly meetings, usually with a guest speaker. Topics vary quite widely, with past talks having included astrophotography techniques, recent research into exoplanets and particle physics, and historical talks on women in astronomy and astronomers with a local connection.

In addition to the main talk, meetings usually include the monthly sky notes, photographs taken by members and discussion of current astronomy news.

We also have occasional observing sessions. We have had a few weekend observing sessions at local campsites in the last few years and have taken part in local events in conjunction with the BBC's Stargazing Live in 2010 and 2011. We are hoping to organise more regular observing evenings in the coming year.

We usually have a couple of day trips per year. Past visits have included Greenwich Observatory, Jodrell Bank, and the EADS Astrium factory which manufactures satellites.

Membership

We have around 30 members, covering all levels of interest and ability. Some members are just getting to grips with their first telescope or learning the contellations while others have decades of experience. Some just enjoy listening to the guest speakers while others are more interested in the practical side, and others study the theoretical side of the subject seriously.

We have an annual membership fee of twenty pounds, or ten pounds concessions. Alternatively we have a two pound fee per meeting for visitors if you wish to experience a few meetings before deciding whether to join, or you only wish to come to occasional meetings. New members or visitors are welcome to just come along to a meeting, or contact the Secretary for more information.

Members are encouraged to have their say on the running of the society. If you have any suggestions for meeting topics, activities or the website, please talk to a committee member either at a meeting or by email (see below).

Images to be shown with the sky notes can be submitted by email, or posted to the society Facebook page. The facebook page can also be used to ask questions and start discussions.

The society's constitution is available here. It was last revised in April 2014.

Contact

Please send enquiries, feedback on the society or the website, images for the gallery or sky notes to .