Frequently Asked Questions:


Where does the society meet?

We meet at the Bristol Photographic Society, Unit 13, Montpelier Central, Station Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5EE. This is at the top of Station Road, just opposite Montpelier railway station. Meeting details are here:
Scroll down a bit to WHERE TO FIND US


What is the programme?

Go here:


When does the society meet?

Every Friday in term-time, October-June. Alternate Fridays, otherwise. Arrive by about 7:00 and get a tea/coffee and a biscuit - 50p. 


How much does it cost?

Your first visit is free. After that we ask for a donation of £3, but we hope that you might join us!


How do I join?

Membership details are here:


What are the benefits?


Can I look through a society telescope?

There are various opportunities. Look here for details:


Can I organise a Scout group visit to the observatory, or invite someone to speak to my Guide group?

We are able to help local cubs/scouts/brownies with their astronomy badges. Firstly, special nights can be arranged at the Failand observatory. These will need to be booked in advance and are, as always, weather dependant. All children must be accompanied by their parents or group leader at all times. Please email for more help.

Some of our members are also willing to come and talk to a small group of children. Please be aware that this can take a little time to organise. Again, all children must be accompanied by their parents or group leader. Please send an email to giving details of what you require.    


Can I get advice on buying and using a telescope?

Look here:

Contact the Secretary for advice on specific models. If necessary, your query will be passed-on to someone with experience of that brand/model. Look at the programme for ‘Telescope Surgery’. That would be a good evening to come along and get advice.

At this event, you can bring your telescope, if you already have one, and we will show you how to set it up. Contact the Secretary beforehand, so that they might find someone with experience of that brand/model.


Can I give the society my unused telescope?

We have limited storage space, so telescopes can only be accepted if they can be used in our programme of public meetings, or loaned-out to members. Please contact the Secretary in the first instance.


Can you help me to sell a telescope?

We will do our best to advise, and will canvas our members, to help to find a buyer. Nothing can, of course, be guaranteed. Please contact the Secretary in the first instance.


I saw an object moving in the night sky, what could it be?

Celestial bodies and artificial satellites don't usually flash, but are a constant white point. The ISS for instance is a constant white dot that moves quite swiftly across the sky. There are also satellites that cause 'flares', (e.g., the Iridium constellation), these appear suddenly bright, then dim and disappear as they move across the night sky. This is caused by the sun suddenly reflecting off their solar panels.

Aeroplanes have lights on them of differing colours that sometimes flash and sometimes stay constant. Helicopters also have an array of lights, but it could be difficult to see the outline of the aircraft at night.

You can find out more about what’s moving above us by visiting It will tell you exactly what satellite will be wisible, when it can be seen, and in which part of the sky. You can then watch them go over and compare the light to what you have seen in the past. Some of our society members can ofer advice on viewing satellites - some have even been involved in building them!