History of York Astronomical Society

A history, our activities and values

In this page you can read a brief history of the Society, find out about our values and some of the activities we carry out.

A short history

The York Astronomical Society was founded in 1972, about the time that Apollo 16 went to The Moon. It was formed by a few members of a previous astronomy group that had disbanded in the late 1960s.

In December 2017 York Astronomical Society became a charity (Charitable Incorporated Organisation – CIO). Registered Charity no. 1174488

In 2018 we moved our observatory to Beetle Bank Farm, where we are currently getting the observatory ready for use in Autumn 2019. Despite this we are hosting events using the Farm’s facilities for public events which include talks and observing. Once active, our observatory has several telescopes and future plans include the development of a multimedia room for talks and displays.

Throughout its 46 year history, The York Astronomical Society has maintained five observatories in various locations around the county for the use of its members. The current members observatory is located at a dark site on the outskirts of York.

What we do

We are a lively group, with members of all ages and abilities. The society meets twice a month when we have talks, slide shows, practical demonstrations and observing sessions. The society owns an array of telescopes which are used on meeting nights and at public star parties.

Talks and star parties are open to the public. Members of the Society get reduced prices for talks at Priory Street and access to the observatory.

Our values

The core values of The York Astronomical Society are to demonstrate, educate and promote the subjects of astronomy, spaceflight, and any associated sciences to the people of York, and the surrounding Yorkshire regions. In order to do this we hold two formal public meetings per month where guest speakers present lectures on a wide variety of subjects. Also, the society hosts regular sky-watching sessions, which are known as “star parties” where members of the public can view the night sky using binoculars or telescopes. In the past, there have often been society visits to places of astronomical interest, such as Fylingdales RAF base, Jodrell Bank and The Royal Greenwich Observatory.