Young Persons Astronomy Courses 5th Oct. and 9th Nov. 2018

The Society will be running two 4-week astronomy courses for young persons aged 9–11 years old (School Years 5–6). The fist couse starts on 5th October and the same course will be repeated starting on 9th November.

The course aims to cover:

  • How & Why – naked eye, binoculars & telescopes
  • Solar System – Sun, sun-spots, aurora, Planets & robotic missions, Comets & Meteors
  • Deep Space – Milky Way, Lifecycle of stars (HR diagram)
  • Astrophotography – Mobile phones to complex systems

Note: all participants must be accompanied by a parent/adult. The combined Adult & child fee for the course is £30. Sessions are on Friday evenings 5.30 – 6.30pm at the Bristol Photographic Society premises, Unit 13, Montpelier Central, Station Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5EE.

Participants will also get a pass for two persons to visit the BAS Failand observatory to look at the sky through some large telescopes.

For more information and details of how to sign up for the course please email

BAA - Back to Basics Astronomy Workshop, open to all 10 March, 2018

The British Astronomical Association (BAA) are holding a one-day Back to Basics workshop in Bristol on Saturday 10 March, 10:00-17:00.

The workshop is open to everyone, BAA members and public alike, and will cover: what equipment you need to get started, lunar observing, observing planets, radio astronomy and deep sky observing.

This event is a whole day of astronomical talks designed for beginners and enthusiasts delivered by world renowned experts in their field - including a buffet lunch - for the bargain price of £13 (£10 BAA and BAS members) - fantastic value for money!

Book you place soon via the BAA website - spaces are limited.

The event is supported by BAS and will take place at our regular meeting place, Bristol Photographic Society, Station Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5EE.

Junior Astronomy Course (Yr. 5-6) - 4 Weeks starting 23 Feb.

Junior Astronomy Course – aimed at school years 5 & 6 (9-11 years old).

Calling all young budding Bristol Astronomers. We still have a few places left on our astronomy course for children.

Combined Adult & child ticket - £30 

Starting on Feb 23rd, Friday evenings 5.30 – 6.30pm prior to our own regular meetings 

Topics will be: 
Week 1 (23 Feb) - How & Why – naked eye, binoculars & telescopes.
Week 2 (2 March) – Solar System – Sun, sun-spots, aurora, Planets & robotic missions, Comets & Meteors
Week 3 (9 March) – Deep Space – Milky Way, Lifecycle of stars (HR diagram)
Week 4 (16 March) – Astrophotography – Mobile phones to complex systems

Aditional visit: We will also be having a session at the Failand observatory to look at objects through some larger telescopes.

We are charging £30 for the five sessions and children will have to be accompanied by a parent/adult. if interested please email

Strictly first come first served.

Astronomy evening by the lake, 20 January 2018

Experience the wonders of the night sky from the shores of Chew Valley Lake. Join experts from the Bristol Astronomical Society for an introduction to the world of astronomy, including  the opportunity to look through a range of telescopes if the sky is clear. The evening will start with a short talk on gravitational waves, one of the new frontiers of astronomy research. If the skies are clear, we will look through a range of telescopes at the Andromeda galaxy, the Pleiades star cluster the Orion nebula etc. If the weather is cloudy, there will be further short talks on stargazing and planets orbiting distant stars. And there'll be plenty of telescopes to look at and people to ask about astronomy.

The event is family friendly and is suitable for anyone with an interest in learning about astronomy, though we suggest that the talks may be more suitable for those aged 12 and
up. Doors open at 6.30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. Start. The event will finish at 9 p.m.
Entry is only by advance-purchase ticket. Further details and tickets from *

All tickets cost £5 plus Eventbrite fees. No tickets will be available on the evening.

* Event now sold-out. However, keep checking our website and facebook page because we try to run at least one event per month.

Astronomy course for children

Calling all young budding Bristol Astronomers. We still have a few places left on our upcoming course:

After years of questions about what we offer kids, we have decided to run a 4 week course for youngsters aged 10 – 14 years.

Starting on November 10th, Friday evenings 5.30 – 6.30pm prior to our own regular meetings and for the first course, limiting to 12 kids.

Topics will be: 
Week 1 – How & Why – naked eye, binoculars & telescopes.
Week 2 – Solar System – Sun, sun-spots, aurora, Planets & robotic missions, Comets & Meteors
Week 3 – Deep Space – Milky Way, Lifecycle of stars (HR diagram)
Week 4 – Astrophotography – Mobile phones to complex systems

We will also be having a session at the Failand observatory to look at objects through some larger telescopes.

We are charging £20 for the 5 sessions and kids will have to be accompanied by a parent/adult. Only a few places left - if interested, please email

Strictly first come first served.

Telescope Surgery - 17 March

17th March - It is the BAS Telesope Surgery time again!

This is your chance to get hands-on, practical advice on setting-up and using your telescope. We can show you tips and tricks for getting the most from your equipment and give you an idea of what you can see in the night sky.

We welcome all members of the public you to bring along your telescope and find out all about it. It is highly likely we will have a similar telescope to demonstrate on the night so you are also welcome to just turn up and chat without a telescope. Start time 7:15pm with demonstrations from 7:45pm.

Our society member Dr. Jane Clark has put together this useful  guide on the different types of telesscope.

Please email: if you wish to bring your own equipment.

Tyntesfield Star Party 28 Nov.

We held our final Tyntesfield Star Party last night, and what a spectacular night it turned out to be! We had over 70 members of the public registered and around 10 telescopes, ranging from 4" to 12", and binoculars and guided sky tours. The sky was clear towards all directions and around 8.30pm we started to see the unmistakeable constellation of Orion rising in the SE.

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BAS at the Festival of Nature

Once again, the Bristol Astronomical Society braved the weather forecasts and attended Bristol's Festival of Nature weekend, at the Harbourside, on 11th and 12th of June 2016.


The society organised a table inside a tent in the amphitheatre. Encouraged by never-ending optimism, some members brought along solar telescopes.

Around 3pm, on Saturday, the heavens opened and a hard rain shower drove the telescopes, volunteers and members of the public into the tents.

The Sunday was better, and by 2pm we were thoroughly rewarded, with the clouds parting and warm sunshine for the rest of the event. BAS members were able to bring out three solar telescopes; two PSTS and one projection box, so that the members of the public could safely view sunspots and prominences. Sun cream was hastily bought as people started to feel slightly burnt. Ice-cream was leisurely bought to cool down volunteers.

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Transit of Mercury, 9 May 2016

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the weather is against us this time, so the transit will not be visible. Therefore, the event in Millennium square will not be taking place. 


On 9th May, starting just after noon, there will be a chance to see a rare 'transit of Mercury'. Weather permitting, BAS will be joining with At-Bristol and Sky-at-Night Magazine to hold a free, safe 'Transit of Mercury Solar Party' in Millennium Square, not far from At-Bristol.

Lasting for about eight hours, the sihlouette of the planet Mercury drifting directly between the Earth and the Sun will be visible in daylight against the background of the Sun's disc.

Read-on for more information about the event...

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Saturday 2 April: Society for the History of Astronomy, Spring Conference in Bath.

The Society for the History of Astronmy (SHA) and the William Herschel Society (WHS) will be holding their joint spring conference in Bath on 2 April, at the Elwin Room, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution 16-18 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN. Everyone is welcome to attend this full day event.

Conference presentations will include a talk on "The Bristol Astronomical Society: Past, Present and Future", by BAS chairman Richard Mansfield, and "An Appreciation of Dr. Rodney Hillier", and "100 years of Cosmic Ray Astromonmy" by Dr. Roger Moses.

BAS members will receive the discount WHS entry rate of £5 - please see the full programme details here: SHA-WHS spring conference and book through Roger Moses, as for WHS members (read more bleow...).

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11 March - Telescope Surgery time again.

11th March - It is the BAS Telesope Surgery time again!

This is your chance to get hands-on, practical advice on setting-up and using your telescope. We can show you tips and tricks for getting the most from your equipment and give you an idea of what you can see in the night sky.

We welcome you to bring along your telescope and find out all about it. It is highly likely we will have a similar telescope to demonstrate on the night so you are also welcome to just turn up and chat. Start time 7:15pm with demonstrations from 7:45pm.

In the meantime, Dr. Jane Clark has put together this useful guide on the different types of telesscope.

Please email: if you wish to bring your own equipment.

Getting a telescope for Christmas?

Christmas is approaching rapidly and you may be considering getting a telescope. But which one, which eyepiece, mirror or lens, tripod mounts, what size? These are questions we often get asked at the Bristol Astronomical Society. BAS Observing Director, Dr. Jane Clark has put together this useful guide to explain the differences, and what to look for.

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We've moved! - 30 Oct 2015

From Friday 30th October 2015, we are moving our meetings to the superb, purpose-built lecture room of Bristol Photographic Society. This is at the top of Station Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5EE, approximately 300m from the railway arches between Cheltenham Road and Gloucester Road. You can find directions here.

Some of the benefits are comfortable, padded seating, an elevated stage and a state-of-the-art projection system. There is plenty of parking on designated forecourts - we will locate a parking marshall to help out for the first few meetings - or on Station Road. The new venue  is 100m from Montpelier railway station. Links to bus and train timetables are on the Contact Us page.

Please let us know if you think you will have difficulty getting to us, we may be able to arrange a lift with other BAS members in your area.

Telescope Surgery - 6th November 2015

The Bristol Astronomical Society will be hosting our popular “Telescope Surgery” on Friday 6th November. Open to everyone, both members and non-members, we invite you to come and learn how to get the most from your telescope or binoculars. If you are planning on buying a telescope or binoculars (Christmas is approaching!) then come and find out from experts and enthusiasts what to look for. You can even bring along your telescope for tips on setting it up. The Telescope Surgery is also a great event just to get your astronomical observing questions answered. Please book through our Contact Us page if bringing equipment, otherwise just turn up for a 7:15pm start. Details on finding our new venue are also on this page.

Don't forget - you don't need to own your own telescope to experience and enjoy astronomy! Why not come and see the night sky at the Society's observatory or other regular public viewing events? Details on our home page.

Early Sci-Fi film night

Friday 18th September, Early Sci-Fi film night

We have a choice between two rarely seen early Sci-Fi films - chosen on the night:

"Things to come" - H G Wells 1936, remastered colourised version, or,

"Conquest of Space" - George Pal, inspired by Bonestell and Ley's book, 1955.

Come and discover whether the predictions of these films really did come true in today's reality. Cinema snacks will be provided.

New Programme of Lectures for 2015-2016

We are pleased to announce our new 2015-2016 programme of lectures and member talk nights. Many thanks to Fiona Lambert and John Meacham for putting together another exciting and vaied programme, and of course to all of the guest speakers whom have generously given their time to visit us.

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Dr Rodney Hillier Tribute Evening - 26 June 2015

Members of the BAS were very saddened to hear of the death of Dr Rodney Hillier on 5th May 2015. Rodney had been a long-standing Vice-President of the Society and for many years had given regular lectures to Society members on current research topics in astronomy. In addition to his work for the BAS, Rodney was also active in supporting many other astronomical societies and organisations, including the Cotswold Astronomical Society and the William Herschel Museum in Bath.

Read more about the tribute evening we will be holding on 26 June...

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@Bristol - the UK's first 3D Platetarium opens!

Congratulations to @Bristol who are the proud owners of the UK's first Ultra-High Definition 3D Planetarium! Thanks to Lee Pullen and his team at @Bristol who invited BAS members and The Sky At Night Magazine to an evening where we got chance to put their new planetarium through its paces.

Read more about our journey here, in Elizabeth Pearson's article.

Basil is back!

BAS are delighted to announce the welcome return of BASIL, our monthly in-house observing guide...

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20 March 2015, 8-11am, Free solar eclipse viewing in Castle Park, Bristol

There will be a fantastic opportunity to see a partial solar eclipse from Bristol on 20th March, starting at about 08:20, reaching maximum at 09:30 and finishing at 10:40. At this time the Sun will be roughly in the South-East at about 20 degrees above the horizon. At maximum, about 85% of the Sun will be covered. It will appear as a slim crescent although it will still be too bright to be seen with the naked eye.

Come and visit the free BAS event next to St Peter's church in Castle Park to see many safe ways of viewing the solar eclipse. Read more for furhter details, locations and safety precautions...

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Jan 2015 Venue Changes

Due to circumstances beyond our control we've had to change our regular Friday evening meeting venue on 16 and 23 January 2015. On these dates we will meet at 7:15pm at St Alban's church hall at the junction of Bayswater Avenue and Coldharbour Road, Redland. Please allow more time for getting there and finding the hall.

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Bristol Astronomical Society - Programme of events 2014/2015

We are delighted to announce our new programme of talks, lectures and meetings:

click here> BAS Programme 2014/2015

We're sure you will find something you like; something unusual, something scientific, theatrical, back-to-basics, practical, interactive and, above all, informative. ...

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2014 Festival of Nature

BAS will be at this year's Festival of Nature, to be held on 14-15 June on Bristol's Harbourside. Come and say hello...

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April 2014: A busy time

It has been a busy few months for BAS. In addition to our regular and topical Friday evening lectures at Bristol Grammar School, our members ran five very successful public Star Parties and gave talks to Keynsham Cubs, Downend Guides, Red Maids and Clifton High schools. That’s not to mention running our Saturday night Open Observing at our Failand observatory. A surprisingly popular event was our new ‘Telescope Surgery’, where we invited members of the public to bring along their telescopes, binoculars and cameras to learn how to get the best out them. Judging by the interest we got, we will be running this again later in the year.

We regularly get 40-60 visitors attending our Star Parties, run jointly with the National Trust Tyntesfield, with Friends of Trooper’s Hill, and on 10 March and 8 April with the Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge Dark Sky Discovery Site and Explorer Dome...

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February 2014: March National Astronomy Week - Telescope Surgery at BAS

As part of National Astronomy Week, the Bristol Astronomical Society are hosting a special “Telescope Surgery” on Friday 7th March and open to both members and non-members. We invite you to come and learn how to get the most from your favourite Christmas present – assuming it’s a telescope! You can even bring it along…

BAS meet at 7:15 pm at the Bristol Grammar School and car parking is available within the school grounds or nearby. The venue is served by good local transport. Details of our meeting venue can be found on our website at However to make the most of your visit please contact our Secretary (via the “Contact Us” section on the website) and tell us who you are and what your question might be. We can then ask our members in advance for any additional tips. Numbers may be limited so let us know soon!

Email the secretary or use our Contact Us page to get in touch about this event.


October 2013: After Hours - A Space Odyssey

BAS Members recently supported an "adult themed" science evening. Yes, really! The event was hosted by the Science Centre @Bristol and offered a chance for adults to take over the Exploratory, play with the science equipment (with no youngsters wanting to have a go) and at the same time being able to enjoy a glass or two of alcohol. BAS provided telescopes for views of the Bristol night sky and were fortunate to have breaks in the moonlit sky that permitted observations through a variety of apertures...

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September 2013: BAA Weekend

Over the weekend of the 6th-8th Sept, BAS members welcomed the British Astronomical Association to Bristol Grammar School (The Great Hall) for one of their weekend meetings. This was a great honour for the Society and it nicely coincided with our 70th anniversary celebrations.

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September 2013: Gromit Unleashed

Those of you living in and around Bristol surely cannot fail to have noticed the “Gromit Unleashed” trail featuring 5ft statues of the Aardman Animation character dog, in a variety of guises, dotted around the Bristol landscape. The hunt for “the Gromits” has occupied many an hour (or week!) as Bristolians search out and tag all 80 (and eventually 81). However did you know that at least 4 (and possibly 5 if you count the Zodiac/astrology link) are “Space/Astronomy” related?

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August 2013: Astronomy Now and BAS!

Those of you who take the popular astronomy magazine "Astronomy Now" might have spotted an article in the August edition written by Callum Potter and featuring John Willis and our own Observatory at Failand. This was a thoughtful article looking at the advantages and disadvantages of a Society owning and operationg an Observatory and how this is used by members of the Society and the general public. BAS is very proud of it's commiment to Outreach and Failand has been an important part of that process. However running the site is no small undertaking!

June 2013: Bristol Festival of Nature

BAS members once again supported the annual Festival of Nature event at the Bristol Harbourside but weather-wise it was a mixed bag over the two days.

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February 2013: BAS celebrates 70th Anniversary

Members and guests recently celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Bristol Astronomical Society (BAS) at an evening dinner at the Old Bristolians Sports Club. The dinner was hosted by Chairman Nigel Tasker. Guest of honour was Professor David Southwood the new BAS President.

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January 2013: StarGazing Live

Sadly our sessions at Tyntesfield were called off due to unpredicatable weather patterns across the South West. However Society Member Ryan Parle was at the BBC Event, working behind the scenes with the team. We are looking forward to his late night stories!

Hopefully our star party at Tyntesfield the following week made up for the absences.

Jan 2013: BAS appoints new President in it’s 70th Anniversary year.

Bristol Astronomical Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor David Southwood as it’s new President, following the death earlier this year of Sir Bernard Lovell.

Professor Southwood has a long and distinguished history in Space Science and Astronomy and is currently President of the prestigious Royal Astronomical Society. He has only recently retired from his post as a Director of the European Space Agency.


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October 2012: BAS Members Filmed for ITV IDENT

In October 2012 ITV filmed a session with members of the Bristol Astronomical Society as part of a national campaign for their new "Station Identification" or "Ident". This micro-film will feature sometime during 2013 with the new ITV relaunch. The filming actually took place on a damp drizzly evening at the Clifton Observatory.

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June 2012: Venus Transit

Bristolian astronomers pride themselves in observational tenacity that takes account of an uncooperative climate. We all know of meteor showers being watched elsewhere across the country but which are always elusive in our skies. The Venus Transit proved to be just such a tricky observation.

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June 2012: Festival of Nature

Members of BAS supported Bristol’s Festival of Nature at the Harbourside on the 17th June. This was our annual opportunity to showcase our Sun using specially adapted solar telescopes as well as thought provoking games that illustrate our Sun’s place in the Universe.

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May 2012: BAS prepares for the Transit of Venus

Last chance this century to see an “Astronomical Wonder"

Members of Bristol Astronomical Society (BAS) are keeping their fingers crossed for good weather on the morning of the 6th June as they prepare to observe one of the rarest events in astronomy – the passage of Venus as a small black dot across the face of the Sun. Bristolians will see this occur at sunrise and it will be the last opportunity to view this event for over a hundred years.


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