About Our Members Observatory

The Fifth York Astronomical Society Observatory

Here you can see the observatory in all its glory. Painted a nice shade of British racing green, it blends into the surrounding trees, bushes and fields. The concrete hard standing provides plenty of car parking space and a large area for other telescopes to be set up for an evening observing session. The sliding roof is shown fully open here which gives the observing deck access to the whole sky. The doorway is the main entrance into the observing section of the observatory.

The York AS Observatory

The observatory currently has 4 main areas:

  • The Observing Deck
  • The Instrument Cell
  • The Warm Room / Library
  • The Workshop / Storage Area

The observing deck is the home to our two 12″ telescopes.  One is a Meade LX200GPS and the other is an AE Systems Newtonian / Cassegrain hybrid that used to be the main instrument in the observatory at the University of Durham.  It can be seen here, with Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe when he visited the York AS in 2011.

Our 12 inch telescopes

The instrument cell is the room you enter first upon arrival, and houses some of the society’s portable instruments that are available for use out on the hard standing.

Going through the internal door takes you into the warm room which contains our astronomy library, and lots of chairs and comfy seats. This is a great place to sit and chat while taking a break from observing, or simply warming up a bit on a cold night.  There are also facilities for making hot drinks and food if you are in for the long haul!

How was it made?
The observatory was started in 2005 and is basically a Portacabin and a 40′ Shipping container joined together. The container was bought by the society without a roof, which meant we could assemble a slide back roof ourselves.  It has taken many people many hours, days and months to get the observatory to where it is now. The images below show some of the more key points of its construction.

Building the Observatory

The most recent major overhaul at the observatory was the raising the slide-back roof.  It took a small army of volunteers about 10 hours to complete the job on what was a rather cool and damp Saturday in October.
Please enjoy the timelapse film: