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

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

Our aim is to promote, inspire, inform, empower & advance the awareness & education of the public in the science of Astronomy and related subjects.

SAS in one of the largest, if not the largest and most active astronomical society in the North East.

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

What We Do

Whst We Do
We cater for all levels of Astronomy interest and experience.

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 at  our public observatory at the Washington Wetlands Centre.

We run outreach projects & programs that are recognised by NASA outreach.

Especially interested in  Schools, Cubs, Brownie and Scout groups of all ages to inspire, empower & learn about astronomy and view the night sky.

When We Meet

SAS Workshops at WWT
Our season runs from September to September 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:

  • Every Thursday (open to the public).
  • 1st Sunday (informal get together).
  • 2nd Sunday (Astro workshops & observing.
  • 3rd Sunday of each (Astro related lecture).
  • 4th Sunday (informal get together)

All at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Washington, in the Discovery Centre.

All meetings start from 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.

Meeting Dates each month

Each Thursday of each month

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Every Thursday: Open to the Public, all year round.

Held in the Discovery Room of Wetlands Centre, and in and around our Cygnus Observatory where our members  meet and greet members of the public, potential/new members and show them around and what SAS are all about.

Members also help the those new to the science to get acquainted with their instruments and with finding objects in the night sky.

For more information on SAS activities and other events, see our Society News and/or Events Calendar web pages.

 

Each Sunday of each month

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Every Sunday: Originally informal. Now  it’s held all year round.

Held in the Discovery Room of Wetlands Centre, where our more experienced astronomers help the those new to the science to get acquainted with their instruments and with finding objects in the night sky.

For more information on SAS activities and other events, see our Society News and/or Events Calendar web pages.

 

2nd Sunday of each month

SAS Workshops at WWT
On the 2nd Sunday of each month:

Held all year round, Workshop Meetings are held in the Discovery Room of Wetlands Centre, where our more experienced astronomers help the those new to the science to get acquainted with their instruments and with finding objects in the night sky.

For more information on SAS activities and other events, see our Society News and/or Events Calendar web pages.

 

3rd Sunday of each month

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SAS Lecture

On the 3rd Sunday of each month: From September to August each year, lecture meetings are held and feature a talk lasting around 40 to 60+ 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.

Opening Times

Opening Times

The Cygnus Observatory & Society will be open on the following days of each month for observing, workshop meetings. tutorials and lecture meetings.

  • All observatory open times & society activities will be dependent upon weather conditions and available volunteers.
  • Close times can be extended on the evening for the observatory and member observing, dependant upon available volunteers and weather conditions.
    • At the discretion of SAS commitee members on the evening.

Latest News

Pow Hill Dark Sky Site

30th June Summer Lecture: How To Take Deep Sky Photos

Summer Lecture 1: How to take deep sky photos with Chris Duffy from 7.00pm.

Join us for the start of our ‘SAS Summer Lectures’ as our very own Chris Duffy takes you through:

  • How he has his gear set up,
  • How to take amazing astro images,
  • How to polar align using sharpcap,
  • How to set up in APT so that you too can get the amazing astrophotography pics that Chris achieves.

However, this is in no way a guarantee but he’ll try his best :- )

Details

12th July: Apollo 11 50th Anniversary – Lunar – Stargazing Event

Saturday 20th July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and with it comes a fantastic opportunity to celebrate arguably one of humankind’s greatest achievements.

Visit the Cygnus Observatory based at the Washington Wetlands Centre & join the Sunderland Astronomical Society for a an event dedicated to the Apollo 11 50th anniversary.

See the moon in stunning detail through many telescopes and enjoy a tour of the night skies from this welcoming and friendly group of amateur astronomers.

  • Powerful telescopes will be available to view:
  • The Moon.
  • Plus many other astronomical wonders of the night sky.
  • And possibly other members of our Solar System family.

Date: Friday 12th July 2019.

Times: from 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm.

Price: Free Entry (Ticket Booking required)

Details

21st July Lecture: One Small Step – The legacy of the Apollo programme

21st July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk, when Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on another world.

For a brief period, the Moon became our first outpost in the wider cosmos before the manned missions ceased in December 1972.

In total, only 12 men ever walked on the Moon.

Yet, Armstrong’s ‘small step for a man’ changed our view of the universe, and more, profoundly.

In this talk, Dave Newton reflects upon the Apollo programme, its highs and lows, the scientific discoveries, and Apollo’s impacts on the world that are still being felt today.

Details

SAS Astro Photo Competion

19th May: SAS Astrophotography Competition 2019

The Sunderland Astronomical Society’s Astrophotography Competition will held on Sunday 19th May 2019, from 7:00 pm, where the best of our SAS astrophotographer images will be displayed and voted on at this competition event.
 
Last year’s 2018 Astrophotography Competition winners and runners up , also viewable from the  Astrophotography Competitions drop down menu.
 
Categories

This year there will be 3 main categories:

  1. Solar System.  
  2. Deep Sky.
  3. Smartphone/Tablet.

Skill Level

In each Category (apart from Smartphone) experience Levels:

  1. Less than 12 months experience.
  2. More than 12 months experience.

There will be a winner and runners-up photo will be voted on for each category & skill level.

This year we also have a new Smartphone/Tablet category. This can any image and any experience level. 

Also, if contestants would like their astro images shown on the projector during this event (it could even get you a few more votes :-)), please submit your images to the chairman ahead of the event.

Details

21st April Lecture: DESI – the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument.

The expansion history and large-scale structure of the Universe is a key prediction of cosmological models, and DESI observations will permit scientists to probe diverse aspects of cosmology, from dark energy to alternatives to General Relativity to neutrino masses to the early Universe.

DESI will measure the expansion history of the Universe using the baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) imprinted in the clustering of galaxies, quasars, and the intergalactic medium and will extract cosmological distance information from the clustering of matter and galaxies.

Details

20th April: SAS Starbeque

SAS Starbeque event at Derwent Reservoir Car Park.

  • Date:  Saturday 20th April 2019,
  • Time: From 7 pm until very late, observing afterwards if weather is favorable.
  • Venue: Will take place at at Derwent Reservoir located at our Millshield dark sky site.

This is our traditional celebration of the return of darker nights and, as in previous years, 

The event is free to attend (members,  invited guests & the public) though you will need to supply your own barbeque goodies (for e,g, food, disposable barbies, etc), scopes, etc.

Note: There is now a car parking charge of £1.50 for the night Millfields Car Park.

Details

17th March Lecture: Seeing through telescopes large and small.

Images of astronomical objects from ground-based telescopes are blurred by turbulence in the earth’s atmosphere – a phenomenon referred to as “seeing”.

The magnitude of the effect depends on the strength of the turbulence, the size of the telescope and the wavelength at which observations are made.

This talk will discuss how the earth’s atmosphere affects ground-based telescopes of all sizes, how the turbulence strength is measured and some of the methods that can be used to ameliorate its effects.

Details

15th March: Moonwatch & Stargazing Event

Visit the Cygnus Observatory based at the Washington Wetlands Centre for an evening dedicated to our nearest celestial neighbour.

See the moon in stunning detail through many telescopes and enjoy a tour of the night skies from this welcoming and friendly group of amateur astronomers.

  • Powerful telescopes will be available to view:
  • The Moon.
  • Amazing stellar nursery, the Orion Nebula (M42).
  • Andromeda Galaxy (M31).
  • Amazing open star clusters including the spectacular “Seven Sisters”, (M45).
  • Plus many other astronomical wonders of the night sky.

Date: Friday 15th March 2019.

Times: from 7:00 pm – 9:30pm.

Price: Free Entry (Ticket Booking required)

Details