The Astronomy Section of La Société Guernesiaise is the astronomy society of Guernsey. Founded in 1972, it is now 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. For full details about the section, please click here to visit the external section website
Members have many interests, including: the planets, comets, deep sky objects (eg galaxies and nebulae), double stars, celestial mechanics, computers, photography, and imaging. But 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 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 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. Occasionally a more formal meeting may be held. Every year, in August, we hold a barbecue on the night when the Perseid meteors are at their peak, followed by a meteor count. We also have a Christmas supper.
Observing is carried out on Tuesday and Friday evenings, weather permitting, and at other times. Qualified members have free use of the telescopes. Observing is also 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 Tuesday evenings (see our events page for details). We ask for a donation of £1.00 adults, and 50p children to help the Section's running costs and to provide new equipment. We also hold special Open Days from time to time, especially when there is a significant astronomical event.
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 Secretary: Debby Quertier (tel 725760).
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 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 hospital, where people can bring telescopes which appear to be malfunctioning.
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 one of the Section Secretaries (see below). If you decide to become a member you will first need to join La Société Guernesiaise. The additional subscription for the Astronomy Section is £5.00 (£3.00 students and OAPs).
Astronomy Section contacts
Sections of La Société Guernesiaise are led by Section Secretaries. The Astronomy Section Officers are:
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Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1UG, Channel Islands.