BAS member using the 12 inch telescope in the Cyril Swindin Observatory

A shot of BAS member John Willis at the telescope, this one shows the whole of the Cyril Swindin telescope with it's huge fork mount.

This picture of the society's 12½ inch Cyril Swindin Telescope was taken by Alex Rumford (Bristol Evening Post).

BAS members working on the Cliff Martin telescope

BAS Members completing the housing of the 18" "Cliff Martin" telescope in it's "Willis roll-off shed" in 2010.

The Bristol Astronomical Society has its own observatory at a dark site to the south of Bristol. The observatory was erected by the members of the Society in the early 70's when former member Cyril Swindin donated his 12½ inch Newtonian Reflector to the Society. A piece of land was rented from a local farmer and the members raised funds to buy the materials they needed and could not obtain free of charge.

The observatory was opened in 1972 by Patrick Moore. In 2010 the Society added an 18" Newtonian with a Roll-Off Shed designed by John Willis.

The observatory site is regularly used by members of the Society and the telescopes provide great views of the sky. We open the site to members of the public most clear Saturday nights (check the separate Observing Section) and the Sky at Night Magazine has used the site to carry some of their product tests.

The History of the Cyril Swindin Telescope

You can read Cyril Swindin's own account of how he came to build and donate the telescope to the Society  here (.pdf) or here in booklet form.

The Great Telescopum

BAS Member Alan Quirk wrote an amusing account of the story of the observatory entitled 'Great Telescopum', which you can read  here (.pdf).

Some of the members of the society at the time involved in building the observatory were Jim Ashton (Chairman), Maurice Brain (Librarian), Chris Browning, Bill Clare, John Gardner, Vyrnwy Herbert, Cliff Martin (treasurer), John Money, John Pedlar, Steve Pine, Alan Quirk, Tom Watkins and George Woodman (Secretary).