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

Cygnus Observatory
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 Sunday (informal get together).
  • 2nd Sunday (Astro workshops & observing
  • 3rd Sunday of each (Astro related lecture)

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 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.

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.

3rd Sunday of each month

SAS lecture 21-02-16-2
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.

Latest News

Great American Eclipse 2017

17th December Lecture: The Great American Eclipse 2017

On August 21, 2017, millions of people across the United States saw nature’s most wondrous spectacle — a total eclipse of the Sun. 

The ‘Great American Eclipse’ as it has been called was a truly spectacular event for millions of people. This much anticipated eclipse was the most watched, most photographed and most televised astronomical event of a generation.

Graham Darke will explain why we have solar eclipses, the different kinds of eclipse and share his experiences from his August 2017 trip to Idaho.

Details

21st January Lecture: Viewing the Universe in light of Gravitational Lensing

Einstein’s theory of general relativity famously unified gravity with the geometry of the Universe, making two remarkable predictions, that light-rays take a straight path through space and that mass bends the space surrounding it.

Together, this means that where there is mass, light appears bent, a phenomenon known today as gravitational lensing and a tool used by astrophysicists to study almost everything in the Universe; from planets on stars neighbouring the Sun to weighing the entire observable Universe.

Durham University’s Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy James Nightingale will give a run-through of the exciting and innovative ways that astronomers are using gravitational lensing to obtain a new and unique view of the Universe and speculate how it may hold our best hope of one day disproving Einstein’s famous theory.

Details

Membership Subscription Renewals for 2017-2018

September is the start of our new season. SAS Memberships will be due from 1st September 2017 (payable throughout September) for this season 2017/2018.

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

So come on down to the Cygnus Observatory join or renew your SAS membership.

The SAS the largest & probably most active astronomical society’s in the North East, for advice, information, observing the night sky, and get together at various meet-ups, events, visits and join in the ‘Craic’ on all things astronomical.

Details

18th February Lecture: Exoplanets – Worlds Around Other Stars

“Exoplanets” or “extrasolar” planets are worlds that orbit stars outside the Solar System.

There are myriad types ranging from the so-called “Hot-Jupiters” to Earth and Super Earth sized planets.

This talk aims to give a brief introduction to exoplanetary science, an exciting field at the cutting-edge of astronomy; describing how we find these worlds and what we can know about them.

Details

19th November Lecture: Grubb Parsons: The first (A gift of stars) – When Geordies reached for the stars

David Kidds’ talk will outline the early history of Grubb Parsons (international telescope manufacturer, based in Heaton Newcastle upon Tyne).

David will be outlining Grubb-Parsons early history leading to the 74” Reflectors.

David’s talk, ‘A Gift of Stars’, will tell the story of how Grubb Parsons came to be in Newcastle and will, in particular, focus on (no pun intended!) the firm’s first big reflector, the 74 inch David Dunlap telescope.

Details

Saturday Morning Physics – Talk Series: Autumn 2017 – Dates in October, November, December

The Durham University’s physics department is running a new outreach talk series called “Saturday Morning Physics” on eight Saturdays throughout October,  November and December 2017, starting at 10:30am.

What: Saturday Morning Physics Talks Series
When: Eight Saturdays throughout October,  November and December 2017
Where: All talks take place in the  at Durham University James Duff lecture theatre(PH8) in the Physics Department of Durham University, South Road Durham, DH1 3LE. 
Details

26th November – Sunderland Astronomical Society AGM

The Sunderland Astronomical Society AGM will be taking place on Sunday 26th 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.

Details

SAS Talk/Lectures 2017- 2018: Now all year round

SAS Members,

You will be pleased to know that as our SAS talk/lectures are so awesome and so well attended that SAS has decided is extending the talk series from  September through to the following August each year.

As always the talks will posted periodically in the SAS Society News and SAS Events Calendar

And a snapshot of the complete talks this season can be found here and on  the SAS Events Calendar (under lectures section).

Please support and attend these talks/lectures if you can.

At these events all raffle fundraising goes directly towards our society’s Washington Wetlands Centre ground rent costs.

Details