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.

Date Open times Activities
Thursdays 7 pm - 9 pm Open to the Public.
1st Sunday 7 pm - 9 pm Open to the Public & SAS Members (Informal).
2nd Sunday 7 pm - 9 pm Committee Meeting 6 pm (SAS Members), Workshop open to the Public & SAS Members from 7 pm.
3rd Sunday 7 pm - 9 pm Lecture - Open to the Public & SAS Members from 7 pm.
4th Sunday 7 pm - 9 pm Open to the Public & SAS Members (Informal).
  • 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

17th June Lecture: How Telescopes are made

For over 400 years now astronomy prospers by the use of it’s most important tool, the telescope.

In this lecture  Dr Jurgen Schmoll will show how these wonderful instruments were once made and how they are made today, focusing on research telescopes as well as on amateur equipment where examples of mass production are shown as well as ways to make your own telescope at home.

Details

15th July Lecture: TRAPPIST-1 System of Exoplanets

In Natalie Heron’s talk she outlines that we’ve possibly found a new solar system, and it threatens to put our own to shame.

The star Trappist-1, a mere 39 light years away, has been found to host seven Earth-sized, rocky planets.

The discovery has astronomers, alien-hunters, and space enthusiasts abuzz for a good few reasons. Among new solar systems discovered so far, none have had more than seven planets (our system has eight). And none have had all seven that were rocky and also Earth-sized.

What’s more, because the star type is among the most common in our galaxy, such solar systems are likely to be quite common. That makes the Trappist-1 system a prime target to accelerate the search for life beyond our own solar system.

Details

Perseus - Grubb-Parsons Telescope 1985

Back from the brink: Refurbishing the ‘Perseus’ Grubb-Parsons Telescope

For most astronomical societies, refurbishing an historic scope would be a dream come true. David Ettie of Sunderland Astronomical Society reveals how he and his fellow stargazers did just that.

While the north east of England is well known for mining and heavy industry, until 1985 it also had a hand in producing quality telescopes, courtesy of a company called Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons and Co. Ltd.

The roots of this enterprise go back to the famous Victorian telescope maker Howard Grubb, who established the Grubb Telescope Company in Dublin in 1833 before the business was moved across the Irish Sea to Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1925.

Acquired by the British engineer Charles Parsons, the company was renamed and became known colloquially as Grubb Parsons. 

For the Full article – please see the Sky at Night Magazine.

Details

SAS Astro Photo Competion

20th May: SAS Astrophotography Competition 2018

The Sunderland Astronomical Society’s Astrophotography Competition will held on Sunday 20th May 2018, 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 2017 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. 

Details

Pint Of Science Event

14 May – Pint of Science Event. Gazing at galaxies: what we know about the Universe

Pint of Science is a global science festival that takes place in pubs across the world between the 14th and 16th of May.

This year, they are having an ‘Atoms to Galaxies’ event at the Boat Club in Durham city centre; our members will likely be most interested in the talks on Gazing at galaxies: what we know about the Universe

that are being given by some fantastic astronomers from the Durham Physics department.

Pint of Science is a non-profit organisation that brings some of the most brilliant scientists to your local pub to discuss their latest research and findings with you.

Details

Coronal Mass Ejection NASA/org

18th March Lecture: The Sun’s Active Atmosphere

The Sun may appear placid at first glance, but a closer look reveals an incredibly active atmosphere. Some of the most spectacular eruptions in our solar system occur there every day.

Some of these eruptions are relatively small, whilst others occur on a truly colossal scale.

In this talk, Dr Peter Wyper  and will explain a bit about these eruptions and show how researchers such as myself use numerical models to understand them better.

Details

Kielder Camp Site

14th – 19th March: Kielder Forest Star Camp

The Kielder Forest Star Camp runs from Wednesday 14th to Sunday 19th March 2018.

The Kielder Forest Star Camps are run twice a year, in the spring (usually in Feb/March) and in the autumn(usually in October).

Originally setup and organised by members of Sunderland Astronomical Society(SAS), and now organised by the Kielder Forest Camp Site.

All activities on the main day Saturday are free to attend.

Details

Derwent Reservoir at night

External Visit 10th March: SAS visits Derwent Sailing Club

SAS visits Derwent Sailing Club.

Date: 10th March 2018

Time: From 7 pm

Location

They are located on the North side of Derwent Reservoir (West of our Dark Sky site) just off the A68 between Corbridge and Consett, providing easy access by car from Hexhham, Newcastle and Durham. We also have many members travelling from Northumbria, Darlington and Sunderland.

Driving Directions
For Sat Nav users the post-code DH8 9PT will usually work, however some Sat Nav’s will take you to the otherside of the reservoir with this postcode.

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