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Hi Stargazers,

I have been encouraged to start an astronomy club/society at work. I work in an organisation that has a large sports and welfare fund and the society would be a division/section of that. I used to be the treasurers of a share club and have a reasonable idea on how to run meetings etc.

I have never been to any other societies/club events as I'm pretty new to this astronomy malarkey :rolleyes: My thought is that we would hold monthly meetings, organise sky watching evenings, purchase some equipment for the club (maybe a few pairs of 10x50 binos for starters and then hopefully a big scope or two? The main sports and welfare fund are going to accept bids for equipment. So it should be a great way for lots of interested people to get together experience stargazing for the first time, and for us all to share knowledge etc.

I expect we will have our own website, twitter and facebook page eventually and my vision would be for some members to enrol in some online/college astronomy course and for us to have a photographic section... (lots of ideas)

The mission is to share knowledge learn about the wonders of the universe and to basically have fun... my first question is -

Is there anyone out there who has a simple constitution for my new society to adopt?

I would be really interested from other astronomy club members about what they do at their clubs?

Clear Skies folks...

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HehHeh! Astronomy Malarkey?, that's a good start :rolleyes:.

Don't worry, I know you jest. If you live in a large town, or adjacent to one, chances are, an Astronomy Society already exists, so why not join that one, if indeed there is one.

I suppose a works AS is OK if there is enough interest. I assume you have done some investigation regarding the membership potential.

Binoculars are always a useful optical aid, but should your Idea come to fruition, a Society instrument should be an initial goal.

Perhaps an 8"or 10" Dobsonisan telescope would be a good start.

A meeting place is needed for once a fortnight meets, or monthly, depending on the enthusiasm. You can always find guest speakers to come along and give talks on various subjects, and whilst they may not charge a fee, they would expect expenses reimbursement.

I hope your Idea takes off, there are thousands of latent amateur astronomers just waiting for an opportunity to get involved.


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Thanks Helen that link is interesting...


There appears to be quite an appetite at work already.. I have had expressions of interest from twelve people who want to get involved and I haven't started selling the idea. I have to say I only agreed to put a brief article in the sports and welfare club booklet to help a colleague fill his pages...

I have had a couple of comical email requests for me to read people horoscopes... but I'm now starting to get energised to create something both special, fun and educational. I am a total amateur but forums like these and books, websites are a great source of info...

You are right about obtaining an instrument and a 10" dob would be amazing... I reckon our main sports and welfare fund is good for a few bob and I have already been told by members of the committee that any bids would seriously be considered... all is good watch this space, thanks for your advice

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Hi Pat, I managed, with a bit of help, to get an astro society up and running for the North Lincolnshire area. We are sort of between a few here but with I thought it worth having a go in starting one. We only have 6 meetings under our belt but I am pleased to report it has been a success with new members joining month by month. I did built a website recently, just a basic one to help with the profile, as for equipment, people just bring their own but anyone who does come along does at least have a chance to get a look through a scope so they can then evaluate which, if any, they may have been considering.

I wish you luck with your venture :rolleyes:

Anything I can help with ask away

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If you set a society up remember to register as a charity you can claim VAT back then on any purchases of astronomical equipment. Also check out local grants that may be available in the local area, as well as help from schools and colleges etc...

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To be honest, I would strongly advise against using the traditional society model as a vehicle for creating and more importantly, 'sustaining' an interest in astronomy.

Running a club, particularly by yourself can be quite difficult. Organising somewhere for your meetings and collecting the money to pay for the room or facilities when sometimes only a handful of people turn up, booking speakers (if you can get hold of them) and of course potentially meeting their expenses even if the actual talk itself is free, can become quite an onerous task to say the least. On the question of charitable status, to qualify for the benefits you will need to show purpose, which will require you to have at least an annual general meeting, to elect officers such as Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary etc, for the accounts to be audited even if they are below the threshold of having to submit copies to the Charities Commission. You will also need to provide evidence of some kind of outreach to the public, be it with special events or by offering presentations to schools etc.

You might think I am being a little negative and you would be correct. So firstly, can I offer my apologies to those of you who are able to run astro clubs or societies that do all of the above effectively and really do make a difference in creating enthusiasm and energy to get people off their backsides and out into the night sky. Sadly in my experience, I have felt that this is often not the case and in fact I would go so far as to say that some clubs would appear to have the opposite effect and actually put people off because, through familiarity, they have become insular where a lot of the tasks have fallen on the shoulders of the few which can create tensions. Stargazing Live had its failings but it caught people's imaginations because it persuaded people to get out there, and the best way to do that is by actually getting people to participate in the observing process itself - "doing astronomy" which is what it is really all about. I belong to several observing groups which are mostly populated by ex-society members. Our 'club' meetings take place in a pub, maybe once a quarter to talk about how we're all getting on, finding new dark sites and talking about new astro kit purchases etc. We have no talks to organise or sit through, no admin or costs to process and instead we're out there observing and generally 'doing' astronomy. Yes, we have done outreach events but at our choosing with the host community or organisation dealing with the advertising and general 'crowd' control (...no horses or riot gear have so far been required!:rolleyes:)

Keeping it simple is the way to go. The internet is brilliant at providing the stats, the latest stories and the background information and of course there are forums such as this one that help with the technical details, especially with imaging and equipment knowledge and set ups. I think what you are wanting to do is really great and given your work context, something that can grow fairly quickly and provide a good deal of fun for a lot of people. It is for that very reason that I would want you to model your intentions on a typical 'observing group' in order to avoid entangling yourself and your enthusiasm with the burden of administration and logistics.


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FedAstro say that there are these in the West Midlands.

Birmingham Astronomical Society

Coventry & Warwickshire Astronomical Society

Heart Of England Astronomical Society

Knowle Astronomical Society

Midlands Spaceflight Society

University Of Birmingham Astronomical Society

Walsall Astronomical Society

Wolverhampton Astronomical Society

If there are a lot at work, one place, that are interested then why have they not looked at one of them.

Just wondering if the novalty of a "new" club could wear off pretty fast and after 6 months you have a struggle to get people.

Have you been to a club?

Suggest that you visit one and see how many attend, 12 seems a very small number and if it is a company astro club then I guess that members could remain limited. Even if open to the public many people will assume company only or restricted in some way.

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