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

17th February Lecture: The promise of gravitational wave astronomy.

Gravitational waves offer a new way to uncover the universe.

General relativity suggested their existence, but even Einstein wasn’t sure about them. It wasn’t until the 1970s that there was evidence of their existence, but it took 40 years to be able to detect them.

Now we can detect these ripples in space time, what do they tell us about black holes, neutron stars and the fundamental nature of the universe?

There are many wonderful images (public domain) at the LIGO website https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/images

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

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

1st February: Beamish Stargazing Event (Cancelled)

The event is Cancelled due to Weather Conditions. See Beamish Website for Ticket Refund(s).

One of the North Easts largest Museums and largest Astronomical Societies have teamed up give the public a truly unique astronomical event, to Inspire, Educate and Inform the public on the amazing show going on above our heads.

Date: Friday 1st February 2019.

Times: from 6:30 pm – 9:30pm.

Price: £5 Ticket Entry (tickets can be booked and purchased via the Beamish website, Beamish Events Bookings).

Event size: 500, so get your tickets asap!

Last year was a sell out within hours of opening event

Join local astronomers from across the North East for a fun night of assorted astronomical treats at the several sites at Beamish.

Details

25th January: Beamish Stargazing Event

One of the North Easts largest Museums and largest Astronomical Societies have teamed up give the public a truly unique astronomical event, to Inspire, Educate and Inform the public on the amazing show going on above our heads.

Date: Friday 25th January 2019.

Times: from 6:30 pm – 9:30pm.

Price: £5 Ticket Entry (tickets can be booked and purchased via the Beamish website, Beamish Events Bookings).

Event size: 500, so get your tickets asap!

Last year was a sell out within hours of opening event

Join local astronomers from across the North East for a fun night of assorted astronomical treats at the several sites at Beamish.

Details

20th January Lecture: Astronomy for Beginners

Astronomy for Beginners – A simplified view of the universe.

  • How to start observing by finding some of the main stars and constellations.
  • Understand how the stars appear to move across the sky.
  • Why does what we see in the night sky change with the seasons and where does Orion go in the summer? What are stars and galaxies and how big is the universe.
Details

18th November 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;
  • 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