Welcome to Sunderland Astronomical Society

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Sunderland Astronomical Society (SAS) was formed in July 1993 by an enthusiastic group of local amateur astronomers. We are one of most active and largest astronomical society’s in the North East with lots of things going on (for e.g. observing, related projects, astro events, meetings, lectures, visits, and outreach), so come on down and take a look.


Who We Are

SAS are a dynamic, active, open and friendly group of local amateur astronomers.

SAS - Jupiter Nights event at NSLC Feb 2014Our aim is to promote, inspire, inform & advance the education of the public in the science of Astronomy and related subjects.

We support the whole of Tyne & Wear community and North East region with anything astronomical.





What We Do

We cater for all levels of Astronomy interest and experience.

SAS Event

We are especially pleased to welcome newcomers into the fascinating study of the heavens.
Regularly provide astronomically themed talks, observing sessions, projects & workshops in schools, at other venues/establishments, within the North East region and at our public observatory at the Washington Wetlands Centre.
Run outreach projects & programs that are recognised by NASA.
Especially encourage Schools, Cubs, Brownie and Scout groups of all ages to inspire & learn about astronomy and view the night sky.




When We Meet

Our season runs from September to May each year.

See our Events Calendar for all our SAS related events, for e.g. visits, lectures, public outreach, local community engagement events, etc.

We hold meetings on the 2nd and 3rd Sunday of each month at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Washington, in the Discovery Centre and all meetings start at 7 pm.

Meetings are free to attend so you can come along and see if the Society is for you before you join up. Also to socialize and join in the craic on all things astronomical.


2nd Sunday of each month

SAS Workshops at WWTOn the 2nd Sunday of each month: Held all year round, Workshop Meetings are held in the Discovery Room of Wetlands Centre, when the more experienced astronomers help the those new to the science to get acquainted with their instruments and with finding objects in the night sky.







3rd Sunday of each month

SAS Lecture

On the 3rd Sunday of each month: From September to May each year, lecture meetings are held and feature a talk lasting around 30 to 45 minutes, either by a visiting professional astronomer or an experienced amateur astronomer. The Cygnus observatory will be open afterwards for observing if weather is permitting.

For more information on lectures, see our Society News and/or Events Calendar web pages.



Thursday Evenings

Sunderland Astronomical SocietyNow held all year round, the Cygnus Observatory is open on Thursday evenings to the public and members from 7pm till 9pmgiven available volunteers & weather permitting.

For for any changes to the above meetings you can also see updates and/or join our Facebook SAS Group page.

Latest News

Membership Subscription Renewals for 2016-2017

September is the start of our new season. SAS Memberships will be due from 1st September (payable throughout September) for this season 2016/2017.

Joining/Renewing helps support your local astronomical society & community.

So come on down to Cygnus Observatory join or renew your SAS membership. One of the largest & most active astronomical society’s in the North East, for advice, information, join in the ‘Craic’ on all things astronomical.


16th October Lecture: Introduction in the Egyptian Belief in Astronomy

Barbara Atkinson (Volunteer)  will be giving a talk on “Introduction in the Egyptian Belief in Astronomy” on Sunday  16th October 2016 from 7 pm in the Discovery room of Washington Wetlands Centre .

Egypt’s most important star deities were those which were visible every night, and their belief was so strong that various tombs and temples had their ceilings decorated with views of the night sky.

Seti I and Rameses VI’s burial chambers depict these scenes as does the tomb of Senmut. These ‘astronomical ceilings” are amongst the most important surviving Egyptian “astronomical documents.”

Senmut’s tomb contains the ‘oldest and intact representations of the northern constellations, and is also ‘the earliest preserved ceiling discovered to date’.


Saturday Morning Physics – Talk Series: Autumn 2016 – Dates in October, November, December

The Durham University’s physics department is running a new outreach activity called “Saturday Morning Physics” on six Saturdays in October,  November and December, starting at 10:30.

Aimed at school pupils, high school students and all adults interested in Modern Physics and other natural sciences.
Some of the Physics department’s world class scientists will talk on their fascinating research topics including astrophysics, cosmology, materials science, lasers, quantum mechanics and particle physics.
The talks will take place in the Physics Department at Durham University, on eight Saturday mornings during October, November and December 2016.

22nd-23rd October: Kingcon- Comicon Convention at Stadium of Light

Sunderland Astronomical Society (SAS) have been invited to participate in the Kingcon Comicon Convention this year in/at the Stadium Of Light on the Saturday 22nd & 23rd October 2016.

Details are TBC, but here is what we have so far. There may be some solar observing outside and promoting astronomy & the society inside.

So if you have a telescope or not and just want to help out your society, contact:

visits-events@sunderlandastro.com or chairman@sunderlandastro.com for more information.


20th November Lecture: Active galaxies and Super Massive black holes.

Dr David Rosario Research Associate Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy Durham University  will be giving a talk on “Active galaxies and Super massive black holes.” on Sunday  20th November 2016 from 7 pm in the Discovery room of Washington Wetlands Centre .

Super massive black holes have moved firmly on to the main stage in the story of the Cosmos. Once regarded as oddities, they are now known to serve as powerful engines in the evolving life of galaxies.


27th November – Sunderland Astronomical Society AGM

The Sunderland Astronomical Society AGM will be taking place on Sunday 27th November 2016 from 7:00 pm.

SAS members are invited to attend, listen to chairpersons reports and vote in the election of the committee and nominations are asked from the SAS members.

At the AGM all committee members stand down and members are nominated elected/re-elected.

There are a possible 15 committee places, which includes the named officer posts for the chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, treasurer roles.


4th December: GEEKDOM 2016 at Nissan Sports & Leisure Complex

Sunderland Astronomical Society (SAS) have been invited to participate in GEEKDOM 2016 on 4th December 2016 at the Nissan Sports & Leisure Complex.

A comic-con style event, but not as you know it, promoting total escapism and wonderment across a multitude of genres.

With interactive workshops, displays, exhibits, performances and market style area, there nothing we wont consider to make you say WOW!

First announced Guest HUGH SPIGHT


For the first time in the North East, we are delighted to announce the extremely talented Hugh Spight. Hugh is infamous for his work as a Dalek operator in Doctor Who during the 1980s.


18th September Lecture: The Search for Intelligent Life & Cygnus Opening Ceremony


Sir Arnold Wolfendale FRS. Emeritus Professor of Physics, 14th Astronomer Royal of Durham University will be giving a talk on “The Search for Intelligent Life” on Sunday  18th September 2016 from 7 pm in the Discovery room of Washington Wetlands Centre .

Are we alone in the Universe?’ It’s is one of the greatest questions of our age.
The lecture will deal with historical attitudes to this question and explore what we know of relevance.
With the help from the audience a conclusion of the likelihood of intelligent life out there will be arrived at or not, and the Sir Arnold will give his own conclusions.
The question of ‘where do we go from here?’ will also be examined.

So please come on down and see this world class speaker.

Cygnus Opening Ceremony

As you may know the Cygnus observatory is has a new observatory dome installed with a remote access dome control system.

Therefore  we have invited Sir Arnold Wolfendale FRS to officially open the Cygnus Opening Ceremony. Taking  place before the lecture on Sunday 18th September 2016 from 6:30 pm at the Cygnus observatory.