Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_30_second_exp_2_winners.thumb.jpg.b5430b40547c40d344fd4493776ab99f.jpg

Skywatcher130

Astronomical societies

Recommended Posts

How many of you are members of an astronomy club or society, and how welcoming to new¬†members do they tend to be?¬† I like the idea of joining like-minded people and getting away from my light polluted back garden but I'm a bit nervous about taking the plunge to be honest¬†ūüėä

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been in the past a member of the 2 near me, they were OK but neither of them seemed to get the scopes out very much! But it depends on what you want from a society. Most let you attend a few meetings to get a flavour of them, its a good way normally to get advice and most might have a kit night where members bring scopes in for others to see. Having said that there is more and better advice on here! In the end myself and a few nearby formed our own group of stargazers only, all we do is get scopes out and go observing. Once a year we have a kit night at someones house (One of the women who lives in a mansion...more room and better food!) and a few times a year meet up for a drink. To be honest meeting in local clubs and churches for presentations was not my thing, I just like getting the scopes out.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm trying to join my local Astro society, which happens to be the oldest in the country, with use of their own observatory, weekly meetings, monthly events, street outreach and trips away. Unfortunately it's become a bit of trial trying to get in. Joining MI5 would be easier!

 

  • Haha 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the older ones do seem to be a bit precious not to mention expensive annual fees :eek:

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I belong to a cracking astro-society. It's made up of friendly, extremely informative and kindly folk from all over the world and its free :biggrin: Here's a link for those interested: Stargazers Lounge :grin:

  • Like 9
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Rob Sellent said:

I belong to a cracking astro-society. It's made up of friendly, extremely informative and kindly folk from all over the world and its free :biggrin: Here's a link for those interested: Stargazers Lounge :grin:

"Flattery will get you everywhere" as they say! :) 

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been a member of Bristol Astronomical Society for the past 4 years now and I've really enjoyed what I've got out of it. I've been a member of SGL for over 10 years and enjoyed that immensely as well. The two things complement each other for me :smiley:

What the Bristol AS has provided, in addition to excellent, frequent and stimulating meetings, is the chance to get involved with outreach events which is a dimension of the hobby that I had not really been involved with until I joined the society and one that I've very much enjoyed.

The Society also gives me the chance to meet regularly face to face with other folks interested in astronomy in my area and have access to a well equipped observatory with some exciting "toys" to play with :smiley:

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’d say there are lots out there, some good, some bad.  Check out a few if you can and if you aren’t made to feel welcome, don’t go again.  I think clubs don’t deliberately want to make people feel unwelcome but it can be a bit daunting as a newcomer. You never know though, you might meet the most welcoming group of people who share your enthusiasm fo4 this hobby.

Steve 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a member of a larger society a few years back. They were not particularly welcoming, but I attended regularly for a couple of years. Alot of it was focused on lectures and talks from the committee or visiting speakers. Much of it was interesting, but there came a point where I thought, 'hang on a minute, I don't get many free nights and would rather be out looking at stars, not talking about them'

I now belong to a small group which I was involved with starting up. We have around 10 active members and meet up when we can, normally once a month and if it is clear we get out with the scopes. If not then we have a drink in the pub. Works much better for me and it is nice helping people get a start in the hobby.

So, don't be afraid of going along, but don't expect a gushing welcome. If you get one, all the better :)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nearly everything I know about practical astronomy is from SGL and tinkering from the hints I received by reading from here ...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies.¬† I guess I should just try it and see how it goes.¬† Perhaps I should have just asked if any SGL members are also members of Rosliston Astronomy Group which is my nearest club.¬† It looks like they are at a science day at the forestry centre where they hold their meetings next month so I might go along¬†and have a chat.¬† Thing is,¬† I don't know anyone else with a telescope so¬†it would be great to meet like-minded people and hopefully get to have a look through a bigger set up than mine¬†ūüėÄ

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am generally not a society type but joined the Chester Astro soc. I find them very friendly and welcoming. It has a mix of armchair and real observers with a fine line up of speakers. 

Regards Andrew 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I belong to the Orpington Astronomical Society and it's great.  

We meet once a month and have an excellent selection of speakers, with members getting an opportunity to do the talks once or twice a year.

It's a fairly active society as we separately have monthly observing meetings and if it is cloudy they try to organise some astronomical activity in the adjacent hall, they also encourage beginners to come who are not society members to bring along their scopes for help on how to use them.  This in turn generates new membership.

We have a very active Outreach group which goes out to schools etc giving talks on Astronomy, and taking scopes along, for a look at the Sun, or Moon and planets (parents can attend the latter).  Sometimes they do pavement astronomy where they put up a scope in a public place and let passers by look through the scope.

We also go camping monthly to a dark location, (I am the organiser of that). Plus we have intermittent Astronomical excursions to various Astro related places.

We also have a number of active imagers, and show members images every month, and throughout the year we hold imaging sessions for those learning imaging.

A great society and very friendly and it only costs about £25 per year membership.  

There are unfortunately some groups around that are rather elitist, which is a bit sad. 

Carole 

 

Edited by carastro
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds to be a great Society Carole and a role model for others. Well done! ¬† ¬†¬†ūüėÄ

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgot to mention I also do the annual Society calendar which is printed with either a members image on it each month, or a photo of a society activity.  It includes astronomical and society dates throughout the year -  it is due to go to print just as I get back from Kelling.

Carole 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 20/09/2019 at 21:32, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

I'm trying to join my local Astro society, which happens to be the oldest in the country, with use of their own observatory, weekly meetings, monthly events, street outreach and trips away. Unfortunately it's become a bit of trial trying to get in. Joining MI5 would be easier!

 

I have been to the LAS a few times and found them to be very friendly, just turn up on a Wednesday at 7 pm and see what you think. They will tell you to come for a few visits to see how you like it before parting with the princely sum of £15.00, I think, certainty no more unless it’s gone up.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Turned up at the Liverpool Astronomical Society and was completely ignored and when I tried to make polite conversation I didnt make much progress. Been members of other hobbiest clubs who were much friendlier and welcoming. Suffice to say I duly left and havent been back their loss.

Edited by PaulM
  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried a few local astronomy societies. They have focused on monthly meetings with speakers which is fine but I would much prefer an active club that did observing regularly. I still go to one occasionally though.

I also notice that the membership is a close group of regulars who are mostly retired  and unfortunately the vast majority of prospective (usually younger) new members attend once and never return.

Sometimes I think about setting up an observing group but this is a hobby and having to organise anything and take on more responsibilities and commitments that I already have would kill it for me.

Edited by Paz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any society or group involves a long journey for me. They are all an hour or more driving each way.
So any I attend are on the basis there is something special going on and I pay for the event.

I was a member of a local society a long time ago. But they decided they didn't want me.

Being a bit busy at membership renewal, I forgot about my subs. They did not send a reminder either.
I was at the end of a long and unstable chain trying to sell my house. Looking for another to buy, and helping someone with theirs for sale.
I thought that under the circumstances sending in my cheque 2 months late with an apology was not unreasonable.
But no. They sent the cheque back.
Limited seating the lecture room so they had put a cap on membership and it was full.
I was told I was on the waiting list and they would contact me when there was a vacancy.
That was in 2007 and I have yet to hear from them.

Then again. Did I want to join a society that had elected a chairman who did not even own a telescope.
They do a lot of public evenings with a significant admission charge.
Apart from that, it appears to be a secretive group.

Not exactly 'you can't join unless you are already a member' but not far off!

The exact opposite was my experience with East Midlands Stargazers. A fantastic friendly crowd who get their scopes out at a dark site.
Can't say enough good words about them. But at 70 miles round trip when I have reasonable skies at home....

So if you have a local society who are friendly and welcoming, do join in.

David.



 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same here - nearest astro club is a long drive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, banjaxed said:

I have been to the LAS a few times and found them to be very friendly, just turn up on a Wednesday at 7 pm and see what you think. They will tell you to come for a few visits to see how you like it before parting with the princely sum of £15.00, I think, certainty no more unless it’s gone up.

My experience has been somewhere between this and Paul's.

A few months ago, two observing visits a couple of weeks apart, taking a friend and my partner were good.The observatory manager Dave was great.

Go home, fill out the membership enquiry and still no reply to date.

Several months later I attend again, but alas the treasurer hasn't been for weeks and noone knows where the application forms are.

Members aren't particularly gregarious and neither am I, but I wouldn't describe them as unfriendly.

Home I go, another online form is filled out and on this occasion, I go to town on it!

Two weeks later, no reply... I'll have to visit again.

I will persevere because I have plenty of enthusiasm and skills to give and in return, knowledge, camping trips and maybe more likeminded friends.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's sad to hear that there are these unfriendly Astro groups around.   On-line applications have even fallen down in the past in our very friendly society,  but we have a new Chairman who is very pro-active and replies to all prospective applicants personally via E mail and sends a copy of the letter to the rest of the committee, I went back onto the committee this year so we can all see what he is doing and how many new applicants we get.

Shame other societies don't work this way, but it can be hard when people have jobs as well.  Our Chairman is retired and said he couldn't have taken on the job before he retired.   

Apart from starting one up yourself which is a lot of work, I guess SGL is the only alternative, but such a shame.

Carole 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to join an astronomy society .Unfortunately I don't have my own transport and would need a lift to the nearest one. I did contact them but they had no members living in my area. I did manage to visit when they had an open day, but apparently they had no groups doing observational stargazing only using telescopes and cameras for photos.

Chris

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

My experience has been somewhere between this and Paul's.

A few months ago, two observing visits a couple of weeks apart, taking a friend and my partner were good.The observatory manager Dave was great.

Go home, fill out the membership enquiry and still no reply to date.

Several months later I attend again, but alas the treasurer hasn't been for weeks and noone knows where the application forms are.

Members aren't particularly gregarious and neither am I, but I wouldn't describe them as unfriendly.

Home I go, another online form is filled out and on this occasion, I go to town on it!

Two weeks later, no reply... I'll have to visit again.

I will persevere because I have plenty of enthusiasm and skills to give and in return, knowledge, camping trips and maybe more likeminded friends.

 

 

In my opinion your experience has not been unfriendly but as the society is run by volunteers the administration is somewhat lacking. I have been a few times and have not been pressed to join so maybe just keep going and see what happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

My experience has been somewhere between this and Paul's.

A few months ago, two observing visits a couple of weeks apart, taking a friend and my partner were good.The observatory manager Dave was great.

Go home, fill out the membership enquiry and still no reply to date.

Several months later I attend again, but alas the treasurer hasn't been for weeks and noone knows where the application forms are.

Members aren't particularly gregarious and neither am I, but I wouldn't describe them as unfriendly.

Home I go, another online form is filled out and on this occasion, I go to town on it!

Two weeks later, no reply... I'll have to visit again.

I will persevere because I have plenty of enthusiasm and skills to give and in return, knowledge, camping trips and maybe more likeminded friends.

 

 

Its a shame when this happens and clubs are this disorganised\uninviting.

I've always found being involved in a club adds massively to the enjoyment of a hobby

I'm going to try another local(ish) club from the below list, probably one from the Cheshire area;

http://www.astronomyclubs.co.uk/Clubs/Counties.aspx

Edited by PaulM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

√ó
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.