The Astronomy Section of La Soci�t� Guernesiaise (the local studies society) is the astronomy society of Guernsey.  Founded in 1972, it is an active group of about 60 members, and welcomes anyone with an interest in astronomy, whether beginner or experienced.  The Section has a fully equipped Observatory, with advanced instruments, including a computerised 16-inch Meade reflector, and a 5-inch Takahashi refractor.

Members have many interests, including: the planets, comets, deep sky objects (eg galaxies and nebulae), double stars, celestial mechanics, computers, photography, and imaging. Many are relative beginners, ready to learn from others.  If you have the slightest interest in astronomy then the Astronomy Section is for you!

The Section is a member of the British Astronomical Association, and the Federation of Astronomical Societies.

Meetings

Informal meetings are held weekly at the Section's Observatory at Rue du Lorier, St Pierre du Bois.  Members observe with the telescopes if it is clear, and if not can talk about astronomical matters, have a cup of coffee, read magazines (all the major popular astronomy magazines are available) or books from the Section's extensive library.  Books, magazines and videos may be borrowed by members free of charge.  Occasionally a more formal meeting may be held.  Every year, in August, we hold a barbecue on the night when the Perseidmeteors are at their peak, followed by a meteor count.  We also have a Christmas supper.

Observing

Observing is carried out during our weekly meetings, weather permitting.  Qualified members have free use of the telescopes.  Observing is sometimes carried out on other nights, when weather permits, and especially when there are special astronomical events.

Visitors and educational activities

We are keen to stimulate an interest in astronomy within the community, especially the young.  The Observatory is open to the public on certain evenings during the year (see our eventspage for details).  We ask for a donation (eg �2.00 adults, �1.00 children) to help the Section's running costs and to provide new equipment.

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We welcome groups at the Observatory, by prior arrangement.  We also give talks to local schools and groups, and assist Scouts and Guides with astronomy badges, and those participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  Educational materials are available, and we have a collection of publications suitable for research.  Please contact the Section SecretaryFrank Dowding (tel 255215).

We run a six-week �star gazing� course annually at the Observatory for the Workers� Educational Association Guernsey, from which further details can be obtained.

Other activities

The Section has been active in encouraging a reduction in the adverse effects of lighting.

The Section is consulted from time to time on matters such as sundials, and was closely involved in the design of the Guernsey Liberation Monument.  In August 1999 the Section was involved in the organisation of the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting (NAM99), which was held in Guernsey.  The Section was also heavily involved in arrangements for observations of the total eclipse of the Sun in Alderney, on 11 August 1999.

Section members are happy to advise on the acquisition of telescopes and binoculars for astronomical observing, and to advise on their use.  From time to time we have held a telescope clinic, where people can bring telescopes to the Observatory for assistance.

Members' benefits

Members receive an annual Astrocalendar giving monthly star charts and details of planet positions, meteor showers, eclipses, etc.  The Section's Newsletter, Sagittarius, containing news and articles on astronomical subjects, is published four times a year. Members can use the Section's telescopes, after training.  Members can also borrow books, magazines and videos from the Section's astronomical library.

How to join

First, do come to a meeting or two as our guest.  Come along whenever the Observatory is open.  Or contact the Section Secretary (see below).

If you decide to become a member you will need to join La Soci�t� Guernesiaise (current subscription rates: single �22, double and family �30, students �5).  There is an additional small subscription for the Astronomy Section, with special rates for students and OAPs.

Click here for a leaflet about us and how to join, including an application form.  (1.6 MB pdf file. Print out the two pages back-to-back, and fold it twice. Click here for a pdf reader.)