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 30 to 45 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

11th/12th August: Perseids Meteor Showers at the Cygnus Observatory

The Perseids are coming, THE PERSEIDS ARE COMING!!!!!

This weekend the Earth will swing through the debris left behind from comet Swift-Tuttle.

The peak of the shower is on Saturday the 12th.

To make sure that we see this we will be opening the Cygnus Observatory FREE to all on both Friday 11th and Saturday 12th from 10pm!

Obviously this is hugely dependent on the weather, so if it’s anything else but clear we will not be opening up.

Details of how to finds us on the the website.

Please check our SAS Facebook page at 8pm on both days to see if we are going to be open.

Details

19th August: SAS Starbeque

From humble beginnings and as a pre-season event, the annual SAS Starbeque event has now become the stuff of legend and it was our largest attended Starbeque to date.

Held usually on last Saturday in August, but due to the nearest new moon phase.

  • Date:  Saturday 19th August 2017,
  • 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 September Lecture: When Gateshead Ruled the World: The Curious story of the Newall Telescope

In the 1870’s Gateshead was one of the world’s most famed astronomical destinations.

The reason was the 25inch telescope, the largest refractor in the world (at that time), owned and run by the wealthy Scottish engineer and amateur astronomer Robert Stirling Newall  FRS FRAS on his estate located next to the present day Saltwell Park.

Newall’s telescope was a magnet to the most famous astronomers, scientists and artists of the day.

This presentation by our SAS President Dave Newton tells the curious history of the telescope and some of the characters associated with it.

Details

6th August: Image Processing using PaintShop Pro / Lightroom (For Members)

Astro Image Processing using PixInsight.

This is the 4rth SAS members workshop as part of series of workshops/tutorials over the summer period.

Larry Bedigan, renowned Photographer and Sausage maker, will talk us through the use of these two classic Image manipulation packages including the latest features which benefit the Astrophotographer

  • Date:  Sunday 6th August 2017,
  • Time: 7p – 9pm.
  • Instructor: Larry Bedigan
  • Venue: Will take place at the Cygnus Observatory (Discovery Room).

This event is free to attend for SAS members. 

Details

30th July: Astro Image Processing using PixInsight (For Members)

Astro Image Processing using PixInsight.

This is the 3rd SAS members workshop as part of series of workshops/tutorials over the summer period.

John Lynch will discuss his experience with the PixInsight software package, its benefits and techniques to deliver exceptional images.

  • Date:  Sunday 30th July 2017,
  • Time: 7p – 9pm.
  • Instructor: John Lynch
  • Venue: Will take place at the Cygnus Observatory (Discovery Room).

This event is free to attend for SAS members. 

Details

16th July: Astro Image & Processing Workshop (For Members)

Image Capture & Processing workshop.

Sunderland Astronomical Society is all about giving.

This is the 2nd SAS members workshop as part of series of workshops over the summer period now on the 3rd Sunday of the month, until new season starts in September on Image Capture and/or Processing with instructions, tips & gotcha’s given throughout by some of our more experienced SAS astrophotographers.

  • Date:  Sunday 16th July 2017,
  • Time: Setup from 6:15pm, workshop(s) starts from 7pm until late, observing/imaging afterwards if weather is favorable.
  • Venue: Will take place at the Cygnus Observatory.

The event is free to attend for members. 

Details

21st May: SAS Astrophotography Competition 2017

The Sunderland Astronomical Society’s Astrophotography Competition will held on Sunday 21st May 2017, 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 2016 Astrophotography Competition winners and runners up, also viewable from the  Astrophotography Competitions drop down menu.
 
Traditionally, this is held at the end of our  talk season and consequently enjoys something of a more relaxed atmosphere.
 

This year there will be 2 categories on Solar System and Deep Sky,  and 3 skill levels: in beginner, intermediate and advanced, and a winner and runners-up photo will be voted on for each category & skill level.

Update: Competition Winners & Runners up 

Details

Pow Hill Dark Sky Site

19th March Lecture: Getting Started in Deep Sky Astrophotography

Photography of the night sky can be an extremely rewarding hobby revealing the spectacular beauty of nature and wonders of the universe.

Astrophotography can be as simple as a camera mounted on a tripod but for those wanting to take it to the next level it can be confusing.

Chris Duffy’s talk will provide you with a practical guide to Deep Sky astrophotography using a DSLR camera and a telescope. What you need and how to set it up.

  • What equipment do I need?
  • What’s essential and what is just nice to have?
  • What is the minimum to get started?
Details