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.

Astro related lectures  and Astro workshops from 7 pm.

Other meetings from 6 pm over the dark nights (this is subject to volunteer availability and the weather conditions).

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 space & 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

SAS Workshops4
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

17th May: SAS Astrophotography Competition 2020 (via Facebook)

Hi everyone,
 
We hope you are all bearing up in these strange times.
 
The month of May is traditionally the time of our society astrophotography competition. We have been considering if we can still do this this year and we think it will be possible via Facebook.
 
We want to keep this simple so we invite our full society members to post their images in the comments section of this post. We can then all vote for the images we like via the ‘like” option.
Some simple rules apply, so please read.
  1.  The competition is open to entries from now and closes to new entries at 8pm Friday 15th May.
  2. Voting will close at 8pm on Sunday 17th May.
  3. The most likes will determine the winners.
  4. We will follow the same categories as usual.
    Beginner and Advanced, Solar System and Deep sky. Also the best image taken with a mobile phone.
  5. The competition is open to entries from full society members only, (any images posted by non members will be removed) and images should have been taken in the last 12 months, however voting is open to all in our Facebook group.
  6. You can vote for, (like) as many images as you wish. All of the “like” imogis’ (👍😀❤ etc.) will count as 1 vote.
  7.  When entering your image please state:- Name of the subject, date taken, equipment used, and whether you’re a beginner (astro imaging for less than a year) or advanced. Create a new post for each image you enter.
  8. Any comments other than those attached to the image will be removed.
Good luck everyone. Let’s see you photos.
 
Prizes will be the all important winner and runner up certificates.
 
Chris Duffy
Chair Sunderland Astronomical society.
  
Details

All Society Gatherings At Wetlands Centre Suspended Until Further Notice

Important please read
Coronavirus issues update.

ALL SOCIETY GATHERINGS AT WETLANDS CENTRE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

A committee meeting was held tonight 18th March and we took the decision to suspend, until further notice.

All Thursday and Sunday gatherings at the Washington wetlands centre.

We didn’t come to the decision lightly but the clear statement from the government and medical advisers is that all non essential gatherings are to stop.

A lot of our members who keep the society going by opening and closing and running the nights are in the high risk group and it will be irresponsible for us to put people at risk.

To do nothing at this time risks the reputation of our society.

We will still keep going in the virtual world so please continue to post your fantastic pictures and astronomy related articles on here. There may be possibilities of small outdoor only stargazing sessions in future so stay on the lookout.

I will post regular updates and news.

Take care and stay safe.

To to be clear.

ALL SOCIETY GATHERINGS AT WETLANDS CENTRE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

The Sunderland Astronomical society Committee.

 
Details

15th March Lecture: Meteorites 101 – Up Close and personal (Postponed due to Corona Virus)

This sunday’s Lecture is Cancelled and postponed for a later date due to the Corona virus outbreak.

In view of the the present Corona Virus situation we regrettably need to take sensible measures and it necessary to cancel the SAS lecture this Sunday. 
As members will be in very close together and there is risk of spreading is at its highest in this sort of situation.
Additionally, it is recommend that our vulnerable members (we have quite a few with various ailments, age and other high risk factors) are recommended from attending the meeting or at the least point out the risk.
We will also conduct a risk assessment on our future meetings.
Also see our link to SAS Corona Virus Advise.
 

Get up close and personal with some 4.5 billion year old space rocks. 

Everything you wanted to know about Meteors, Meteoroids and Meteorites a journey back in time.

  • What they are?
  • Where do there come from?
  • What types are there?
  • How are the formed, composition?
  • What have meteorites ever done for us?
  • Etc.

In this interactive lecture  Michael Tweedy (our previous SAS Chairman)  gives some background information and shows his impressive & inspirational  meteorite collection.

Details

21st March: Stargazing Event (Gibside – National Trust ) – Cancelled

UPDATE – We have just heard from Gibside.
Due to the Coranavirus outbreak, the National Trust are closing most of their sites from today this includes Gibside.

Therefore, our event on the 21st March is cancelled.
Hopefully to be rescheduled in the autumn.

In view of the the present Corona Virus situation we regrettably need to take sensible measures and it necessary to cancel this event. 

The Gibside National Trust are host an event with Sunderland Astronomical Society.

  • Date: Cancelled and postponed (possibly Autumn)..
  • Time: from 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
  • Entry: Ticket Price TBD.

The SAS are returning to Gibside, previously attended Gibside BBC Stargazing Live 2012 event.  

We need as many SAS members astronomers & volunteers to participate in this event as possible with & without telescopes to support this event.

Possible turnout at this event 300+. 

So 15 – 20 telescopes + volunteers will be required. 

Details

Kielder Camp Site

18th – 22nd March: Kielder Forest Star Camp

The Kielder Forest Star Camp runs from Wednesday 18th March 2020 from 12:00 pm to Sunday 22nd March 2020 12:00pm.

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Notice: As of 13th March 2020

Organisers  have had a query about the present virus emergency in relation to the Starcamp.As an open air event we will go ahead with our get together, but needless to say we should all follow the Government’s public health message, namely:

Bring plenty of soap and wash your hands thoroughly and often.

If you have recently developed cold symptoms you should self-isolate and not attend.

They’ll keep the main day under review with the possibility we may cancel to avoid you being cooped up in a smallish room together for a few hours. The warm room will be open.

They think this is a balanced response in what is a fast moving situation. .On the positive side the weather is forecast to improve.

Clear skies,

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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

19th April: SAS Lecture – The Plumes of Enceladus

In this talk Dr Chris Aldridge will explore the discovery of plumes erupting from the south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Chris will talk about:

  • The discovery itself,
  • How the Cassini mission studied the plumes,
  • And what we’ve learned about them and Enceladus.

Please support  your society if you can make it.

When Who Where

  • Date:  19th April 2020,
  • Time: 7pm.
  • Speaker: Dr Chris Aldridge FRAS, Lancaster University.
  • Venue: Will take place at the Cygnus Observatory (WWC Discovery Room).
Details

SAS trip to the National Space Centre (Leicester) – Summer 2020 – Poll

Sunderland Astronomical Society is planning another day trip for the forthcoming summer season (possibly July, August 2020 –  Date TBD). 

We are planning a trip for our SAS members to visit the National Space Centre in Leicester (https://spacecentre.co.uk)
We are hiring a coach for the day, leaving from and returning to Washington Wetlands Centre.

We’ve created this survey to ascertain numbers of people interested in joining us on this trip.
If you are interested in coming along for this trip, please complete the  questions below.

Go to poll 

This poll will close 26th January 2020.

Details

28th February: Stargazing Event (Northumberland Park)

Back by popular demand, Sunderland Astronomical Society are will visiting Northumberland Park).

  • Date: Friday 28th February 2020.
  • Time: from 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
  • Entry: Free (Contributions to SAS fundraising nonetheless welcomed).

SAS have been asked by the Northumberland Park (the park in North Shields) to hold a Stargazing event on Friday 19th October 2018 from 7.00pm till late.

Details