15th July Lecture: TRAPPIST-1 System of Exoplanets

In Natalie Heron’s talk she outlines that we’ve possibly found a new solar system, and it threatens to put our own to shame.

The star Trappist-1, a mere 39 light years away, has been found to host seven Earth-sized, rocky planets.

The discovery has astronomers, alien-hunters, and space enthusiasts abuzz for a good few reasons. Among new solar systems discovered so far, none have had more than seven planets (our system has eight). And none have had all seven that were rocky and also Earth-sized.

What’s more, because the star type is among the most common in our galaxy, such solar systems are likely to be quite common. That makes the Trappist-1 system a prime target to accelerate the search for life beyond our own solar system.


14th July: SAS 25th Anniversary

It is the SAS 25th anniversary in July 2018.

The SAS from humble beginnings to now one of the largest, if not the largest and most dynamic Astronomical Societies’ in the North of England.

So the SAS is having a bit of a Birthday do on the Saturday 14 July 2018 to celebrate. 

The will be a buffet and possible a barbeque outside, SAS history related from some of our founding members.

So it’s your chance to find out how it all began.

Also there may be other possible other talks, and of course good craic and  observing (if the weather is favourable).

We ask participants to bring any suitable food/etc for the buffet (similar to Xmas Benker night) and possibly barbeque.

Details on the Barbeque are TBD.

  • Date:  Saturday 14th July 2018,
  • Time: From 7:30 pm until very late, observing afterwards if weather is favorable.
  • Venue: Will take place at at  our Observatory and base of operations the Washington Wetlands Centre.

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.

SAS Water Rocket Competition

1st July: Water Rocket Competition 2018

Back by popular demand the SAS’s annual Water Rocket Competition Is being held on Sunday 1st July 2018 from 7:30 pm .

Join Sunderland Astronomical Society for its Water Rocket Competetion 2018.
Come on down to the Wetlands Centre, the prize in right.
Prize criteria subject to panel of judges based upon:

  • Design,
  • Build Quality,
  • Rocket Launch height,
  • Rocket Launch distance

When, Where:

  • Date:  Sunday 1st July 2018,
  • Time: From 7:30 pm until 10:30 pm,
  • Venue: Will take place at at  our Observatory and base of operations the Washington Wetlands Centre.

The event is free to attend (members,  invited guests).

Perseus - Grubb-Parsons Telescope 1985

Back from the brink: Refurbishing the ‘Perseus’ Grubb-Parsons Telescope

For most astronomical societies, refurbishing an historic scope would be a dream come true. David Ettie of Sunderland Astronomical Society reveals how he and his fellow stargazers did just that.

While the north east of England is well known for mining and heavy industry, until 1985 it also had a hand in producing quality telescopes, courtesy of a company called Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons and Co. Ltd.

The roots of this enterprise go back to the famous Victorian telescope maker Howard Grubb, who established the Grubb Telescope Company in Dublin in 1833 before the business was moved across the Irish Sea to Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1925.

Acquired by the British engineer Charles Parsons, the company was renamed and became known colloquially as Grubb Parsons. 

For the Full article – please see the Sky at Night Magazine.


17th June Lecture: How Telescopes are made

For over 400 years now astronomy prospers by the use of it’s most important tool, the telescope.

In this lecture  Dr Jurgen Schmoll will show how these wonderful instruments were once made and how they are made today, focusing on research telescopes as well as on amateur equipment where examples of mass production are shown as well as ways to make your own telescope at home.

Pint Of Science Event

14 May – Pint of Science Event. Gazing at galaxies: what we know about the Universe

Pint of Science is a global science festival that takes place in pubs across the world between the 14th and 16th of May.

This year, they are having an ‘Atoms to Galaxies’ event at the Boat Club in Durham city centre; our members will likely be most interested in the talks on Gazing at galaxies: what we know about the Universe

that are being given by some fantastic astronomers from the Durham Physics department.

Pint of Science is a non-profit organisation that brings some of the most brilliant scientists to your local pub to discuss their latest research and findings with you.

Coronal Mass Ejection NASA/org

18th March Lecture: The Sun’s Active Atmosphere

The Sun may appear placid at first glance, but a closer look reveals an incredibly active atmosphere. Some of the most spectacular eruptions in our solar system occur there every day.

Some of these eruptions are relatively small, whilst others occur on a truly colossal scale.

In this talk, Dr Peter Wyper  and will explain a bit about these eruptions and show how researchers such as myself use numerical models to understand them better.


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.