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

Membership Subscription Renewals for 2019-2020

September is the start of our new season. SAS Memberships will be due from 1st September 2019 (payable throughout September) for this season 2019/2020.

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

15th September Lecture: Swimming in the Water Hole: Exploring the depths of the Autumn skies

The Autumn is one of speaker Dave Newton’s favourite times of year for astronomy, thanks in part to the longer, darker nights.

Importantly, in Autumn evenings we are looking away from our own galaxy (the Milky Way) and into the deep space beyond.

The Autumn constellations have a decidedly watery theme, containing Pisces the fishes, Cetus the sea monster, and Aquarius the water bearer amongst other.

While this patch of dark sky is seemingly devoid of bright stars, it is home to some fascinating objects.

Dave will show us some of the sunken treasures that can be found if you are prepared to go diving in this deepest part of the sky.

Details

13th October – Sunderland Astronomical Society AGM

The Sunderland Astronomical Society AGM will be taking place on Sunday 13th October 2018 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 will 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

20th October Lecture: Giant Impact Simulations: Why Does Uranus Spin on its Side?

Uranus spins on its side. With its spin axis pointing almost at right angles to those of all the other planets, the common explanation is that a proto-planet at least as large as the Earth crashed into the young planet, sending it spinning in this new direction.

Giant impacts like these were common events in the early solar system and help explain many other mysteries such as the origin of the Moon, as well as features of the exoplanets we see around distant stars.

Jacob’s team run supercomputer simulations with millions of particles to re-create and study these cataclysmic events.

In this talk, Jacob will focus on our recent work with Uranus and how this violent impact might also explain the planet’s extremely cold surface, strange magnetic field, and unusual satellite system.

Details

Kielder Camp Site

30th October – 4th November: Kielder Forest Star Camp

The Kielder Forest Star Camp runs from Wednesday 30th October 12:00pm to Monday 4th  November 2018 12:00pm.

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

31st August: SAS Starbeque

SAS Starbeque event at Derwent Reservoir Car Park.

  • Date:  Saturday 31st August 2019,
  • 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 a preseason event starter. 

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

18th August Lecture: Who won the space race?

The talk will be about the successes, and failures, of the Soviet Space Programme focusing on the story of Sergei Korolev and the Semyorka (seven) launcher and Soyuz spacecraft  he designed which are both still in service unlike all the US Apollo hardware which has long since retired.

When US astronauts go to the International Space Station in a Soyuz capsule on top of a Semyorka rocket perhaps it is appropriate to ask  the question “who really won the space race?” and look again at the history of space in the 1960s.

Details

21st July Lecture: One Small Step – The legacy of the Apollo programme

21st July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk, when Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on another world.

For a brief period, the Moon became our first outpost in the wider cosmos before the manned missions ceased in December 1972.

In total, only 12 men ever walked on the Moon.

Yet, Armstrong’s ‘small step for a man’ changed our view of the universe, and more, profoundly.

In this talk, Dave Newton reflects upon the Apollo programme, its highs and lows, the scientific discoveries, and Apollo’s impacts on the world that are still being felt today.

Details