About Us

The Society aims to promote public interest in astronomy and the related sciences in southern and western Oxfordshire and surrounding areas in the United Kingdom. The Society organises a varied programme of meetings and observing evenings throughout most of the year and tries to cater for all levels of experience, from absolute beginners to experienced astronomers. Our closeness to both the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxfordshire’s “Space Centre”) and to the University of Oxford ensures a steady stream of high-quality lectures. These, together with our more informal Beginners’ Meetings and monthly observing evenings, must make us the most active amateur astronomical society in the county.

The Society enables you to make contact with other people interested in the night sky. Whether you are a complete beginner or an active observer there is always someone worth meeting to share knowledge and experiences.

Joining the society

In these COVID-19 times we are currently holding our meetings online. If you are interested in joining the society then please download the joining form found here and email it to the club secretary: secretary@abingdonastro.org.uk

Our current fees are (subject to approval at the AGM):

Standard membership £10.00 per annum
Students £10.00 per annum
Senior Citizens (60+ *) £10.00 per annum
Family £10.00 per annum
* At the time of joining the society.

This entitles you to attend all our meetings at no extra cost and access to our library.

For non members, after your first free meeting, the cost is £4.00 per meeting.

If you join the society you will be asked for your contact details. What we do with this data and how we control it can be found in our privacy policy here.

For the time being all our meetings will take place via Zoom. The meeting details will be sent out to members via email before each meeting. If you are a member please ensure the society has an up to date email address. You can send your contact details to the club secretary at secretary@abingdonastro.org.uk

You can find our current programme here.

History

The Society was formed in 1979 by a small group of keen amateur astronomers, with the principal aim of promoting public interest in astronomy and the related sciences. The Society first met in Fitzharry’s School in Abingdon and named itself Fitzharry’s Astronomical Society. In 1996, long after the connection with the school had ceased, the Society changed its name to Abingdon Astronomical Society – a name which shows more clearly the area which the Society serves.

Monthly hall meetings

When we are able to have physical meetings again, then these will take place in the Main Hall of All Saint’s Methodist Church Hall. At these meetings we have a lecture presented by a professional or amateur astronomer. After a short tea break members give short talks about anything astronomical that they fancy. We have laptops and projection equipment for society members to use at the meetings. If the skies are clear then we will have a telescope or two (or more!) to look at whatever is visible from Abingdon that night.

Members may borrow books from our library and read the latest magazines and circulars. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and biscuits are available for purchase during the tea break.

Beginners meetings

These additional hall meetings were first introduced for the 1998/99 programme.

When we are able to have physical meetings again, then these will also take place in the Main Room of All Saint’s Methodist Church Hall. Two or three presentations are given by the more experienced members of the society. These are particularly aimed at beginners and novice astronomers, and allow the basics of amateur astronomy to be covered in more detail than is possible during the main hall meetings. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and biscuits are available for purchase during the tea break.

Observing evenings

We are hoping to be able to provide “observing sessions” by using electronically assisted viewing from members observatories via Zoom. The meeting details will be sent out to members via email before each meeting. If you are a member please ensure the society has an up to date email address. You can send your contact details to the club secretary at secretary@abingdonastro.org.uk

Locations and dates of these evenings vary and can be found here.

When we are able to offer physical meetings again, then these observing evenings will be organised so members get the chance to look through a telescope. Usually several telescopes are there so you do not need to own a telescope to take part. 

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