Members of CUAS, who are also members of the University, have the opportunity to use the historic telescopes and other equipment at the Institute of Astronomy (see map). You will need an ObsCard to be able to sign out the keys for the telescopes. To get an ObsCard, you need to have attended two demonstrations (ObsDemos) - these will go through the steps of using the telescopes safely - and passed a simple test. The society also runs observation nights (ObsNights): you do not need to have been to an ObsDemo or taken the test in order to attend these.
ObsDemos are held regularly by the Observation Secretaries (ObsSecs). Announcement of dates and times will be sent to our mailing list. If you wish to have an ObsDemo, but none are currently scheduled, email the ObsSecs. Members of CUAS who already have an ObsCard but have not used the telescopes for a while or are uncertain on the details are encouraged to attend an ObsDemo again.
ObsNights are also organised by the ObsSecs and held at the Institute of Astronomy. At ObsNights there is the chance to see objects ranging from the Moon and planets to distant galaxies many millions of light years away, and there is usually a guided tour of the sky given by an ObsSec. Clear nights are difficult to predict, so ObsNights are normally arranged only a couple of days in advance; as with ObsDemos, dates and times are sent to the mailing list.
The Plough over Northumberland on an ObsNight by Rodrigo Cordova-Rosado.
The telescopes are delicate instruments; they are difficult and expensive to repair. Learning to use them and enjoy observing is easy, but care is needed. Read and use the ObsGuide, which gives step-by-step instructions. If there are any questions or problems do not hesitate to contact the ObsSec, Chair, or other committee members. Emergency details are provided on signs in the Northumberland Annexe.
Clear skies and happy observing!
Photos from the archive
Exterior of Northumberland and hand-drawn map of the observatory from the 1980s. For more images see our history page.