Founded in 1972, it is now an active group of about 60 members, and welcomes anyone with an interest in astronomy, whether beginner or expert. The Section has a fully equipped Observatory, with advanced instruments, including a computerised 16-inch Meade reflector, and a 5-inch Takahashi refractor. For more details about the Section and its activities, please click here to visit the Astronomy Section's own website.
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.
Informal meetings are held every Tuesday evening, 8 pm, at the Observatory at Rue du Lorier, St Pierre du Bois. Members observe with the telescopes if it is clear and informal discussions are organised most weeks should there be cloudy skies. The meeting room is equipped with a computer and projector. Members can chat, 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. The Section organises at least one formal lecture a year usually with a visiting speaker. Every year, in August, a barbecue is held at the Observatory on the night when the Perseid meteors are at their peak, followed by a meteor count. A Christmas supper is also arranged.
Observing by members is carried out on Tuesday evenings, weather permitting but can be arranged at any other times particularly when there are special astronomical events. Once members are fully trained they have free use of the telescopes and astrophotography equipment.
Visitors and educational activities
The Section is keen to stimulate an interest in astronomy within the community, especially amongst the young. The Observatory is open to the public on certain Thursday evenings typically throughout the summer school holidays but at other times (see website for details here). Talks and slide shows are arranged, as well as being able to see equipment and displays. Together with, of course, the added attraction of observing if skies are clear. In recent years we have held a Solar Observing Open Day on one of the May Bank Holidays.
Groups are welcomed at the Observatory by prior arrangement. These may be youth groups such as Scouts and Guides or adult social clubs.
The Observatory is entirely manned by volunteers both to keep it running and be hosts for visits and Open Days. Donations are most welcome and for Open Days we suggest a donation of £2 adults, and £1 children to help with the Section's running costs and to provide new equipment.
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 Secretary for further details.
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.
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.
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 annually. 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
Please come along to one or two meetings as a guest or contact Section Secretary or one of the other officers below. Should you decide to become a member you will first need to join La Société Guernesiaise. The additional subscription for the Astronomy Section is:
Astronomy Section contacts
Sections of La Société Guernesiaise are led by Section Secretaries. The Astronomy Section Officers are:
Copyright © La Société Guernesiaise. All rights
Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1UG, Channel Islands.