What we are and what we do

Background
The Cardiff Astronomical Society (CAS) was founded in July 1975 by Dr. Bob Owens and Dave Powell at an 'out of London' meeting of the British Astronomical Association held at Dyffryn Gardens, near Cardiff. Over forty years later, the Society continues to develop its activities, ably supported by an active and enthusiastic Committee. Society membership has increased steadily over the years to more than 300 which certainly makes CAS one of the largest formally constituted amateur astronomical societies in the UK. Members are drawn from all walks of life and a wide geographical area: South and South West Wales, and into the West Country.

In 2016. the Society sought approval from the Charity Commission for England and Wales to become a registered charity (a "Charitable Incorporated Organisation") - this was formally approved on 31st October 2016 and led the Society to appoint a Board of Trustees which proceeded to delegate a large number of its powers and functions to the CAS Committee in order that the latter can undertake the operational work of the Society. More information about the implications of the Society's conversion to a CIO can be read here

Fortnightly Talks
A series of talks is held on alternate Thursday evenings from September to July, at Cardiff University's Physics and Astronomy Department, from 7.30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Despite the cost of travel that may be involved for some members, the attendances at the fortnightly talks are usually in excess of 60 and on some occasions during the year will reach 80 to 100. The talks programme is varied and comprises lectures, short talks and debates. The aim is to cater for all interests, at whatever level, beginner or advanced. The Society is able to attract the very best speakers from all over the UK and beyond.

The talks are held at Cardiff University Physics and Astronomy Department. It is easy to get to (just off Newport Road) and close to bus and train routes. Ample car parking is available nearby. If in doubt, do contact any Committee member (see Who We Are). Please make every effort to attend as it is encouraging to have a large audience and this makes it easier for the Society to continue to attract the best speakers. You can find maps of the location of the CAS observatory hear at Dyffryn Gardens.

Cardiff University has a world-class astronomy department and the Society receives tremendous support from everyone there, led by our own Vice President, Professor Mike Disney, a frequent speaker at the Society's talks.

Observing sessions and other events
CAS holds regular observing sessions at our own observatory at Dyffryn Gardens. Members are able to look up at the sky with the help of more experienced observers and use some of the telescopes owned by the Society. For those who need help there is usually a naked eye sky tour to start the night off.

The Society also has a busy programme of astronomy outreach events (future public events), where we engage with the public, promoting an interest in astronomy with talks, demonstrations and observing in many locations around South East Wales. We currently stage about 20 such events per year and always welcome more volunteers to help with this rewarding project. We would particularly welcome volunteers who are willing to give a short talk. We also participate in events such as the BBC's Stargazing Live and contribute to television and radio programmes.

We also sometimes organise trips to locations of astronomical interest and other events. The Observers' Club meet on the same evening as the Star Parties at Dyffryn Gardens, irrespective of the weather, where beginners and experienced astronomers meet each other to chat about things astronomical and even, if possible, do a spot of observing.

Library
A comprehensive Library is available for use by all members attending the fortnightly talks. In addition, members may also borrow Society telescopes by arrangement with the Society.

Newsletter
In addition to the Society's annual Handbook for members, a Society newsletter is published four times a year. This contains news of planned Society events and activities, reports of various types, and information on current astronomical phenomena and forthcoming astronomical events. Individual members are invited to contribute by sending material to John Richards, the CAS Publications Officer. The newsletter is available online to members and a paper copy may be requested, if preferred.

Website
The Society maintains a very comprehensive website - www.cardiff-astronomical-society.co.uk - where the latest information regarding forthcoming Society activities can be found. In addition, members can access their own area where they can access the minutes of meetings of the Society's Trustees and Committee as well as lots of information on CAS matters. There are links to many other sites relevant to astronomy regarding the current skies, making this a vital resource for planning members' observation sessions. There are also links to our Twitter and Facebook accounts where members can exchange information informally. Members making purchases from Amazon can do so via the CAS website, in which case a percentage of the purchase price goes into our funds, without incurring any cost to the purchaser.

Membership
The all-inclusive policy of the Society in recruiting members means that the annual membership subscription is kept as low as possible, to ensure membership remains affordable to all.

Subscription rates remain at:

  • Adults £15.00
  • Juniors £2.50
  • Family £20.00

Payment can be made at any time and lasts for one calendar year from the date of payment.

Suggestions
The Committee is always pleased to receive suggestions from members as to potential improvements to our operations. Members are encouraged to use the suggestion box available at each fortnightly talk or to email any Committee member - the suggestion will then be discussed at the next Committee meeting.

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