About Us

The Wellington Astronomical Society is an incorporated society for anyone who is interested in stars, planets, space or any other topic related to astronomy.

Members includes experienced and distinguished astronomers, but we also cater for the interest of beginners who come from a diverse range of age groups and professions.

The aim is to let people enjoy astronomy through a friendly and helpful atmosphere, with one of the ideas being that you get out of it what you take part in. If you’d like to get involved, please consider joining up. The link on the navigation bar will take you to membership information and on-line membership form.

Listed below are examples of some of the activities which are organised by members for other members.

Meetings

Every month except January, meetings are organised (usually on the first Wednesday of the month) with talks on astronomy topics from people who know what they’re talking about. Talks are usually given with the assumption that some members of the audience may have little or no experience in the topic.

Even if you’re not a member, you’re welcome to come along and see what it’s like. Information on the next meeting is available on the meetings page by clicking the “Monthly Meeting” link in the “Recent Website Posts” menu.

Prior to the regular monthly meeting the research groups meet. Others are welcome to attend to see what this is all about.

Newsletter

Eleven times a year, members receive a newsletter, courtesy of their email mailbox, or printed and delivered via snail mail if they prefer. The newsletter is full of articles by members, and developing news about the society and astronomy.

Letters, tips, and small articles are welcome for publication. Publication is at the discretion of the editor, but every effort will be made to include submissions.

You can email the newsletter editor at editor@was.org.nz.

Observing

Observation evenings are held once a month at Tawa college. Both members, non members are welcome to attend. Children are welcome. At these evenings there will be a number of different telescopes available to try. Plus experience members to offer advice. Come along and see what it is all about. Details of the date, time and location can be found by selecting the “Regular Stargazing” link on the right.  We also have regular astrophotograhy nights.

We have some interesting things happening in the way of telescopes and observatories available to WAS members over the next several months. So watch this space.

We encourage members to learn how to use the observatories and telescopes, and we can provide advice and training if you’re interested.

Members of the society are also willing to visit schools and and other community events to provide presentations and observing nights. If you’re associated with a school or community organisation that might want to take part, please ask.

Observing Groups

Astronomy is one of the few scientific disciplines where amateurs can engage in and provide valuable research. Members of Wellington Astronomical Society are involved with two areas of research. We have groups observing occultations and variable stars.

Occultations occur when one astronomical object passes in front of another. For example an asteroid passing in front of a star or behind the moon. Observing these events provides information about the shape, composition and orbits of these objects.  The information obtained is passed to professional astronomers via and international network.

Variable Stars.  Many stars fluctuate in brightness. By studying there brightness variations a lot can be learn about the structure and composition of the star. This is also the technique used to find planets orbiting distant stars.  The information obtained is again passed to an international network of astronomers.

If you would like to know more about these activities or or are interested in starting, or have ideas for another, group then please contact us.

Hire Telescopes

We have a number of 6″ mounts (easy to use and portable) telescopes available for hire to members.

These are available without a monthly fee, for 3 months, with a $20 deposit, refundable if the instrument is returned in good condition. Email  us or use the contact us form if you are interested.  Please contact the secretary@was.org.nz for further information.

In addition WAS own a number of various size telescopes which we use for observing nights and at public events.

Library

We have a growing collection of astronomy related newsletters, magazines and other space-related media. Unfortunately we don’t currently have a permanent home for the library and it is currently in storage.

We are working to find the library a permanent home but in the meantime please ask if you require anything specific from the library.

Email mailing list

We have a members mailing list, so that you can receive updates and announcements about events being organised via email. This is especially useful for learning about events that don’t make it into the newsletter, such as aurora, which only have a few days warning.

Facebook and Social Media

Our main Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/WellingtonAstronomicalSociety. And we like to be liked.  We also have Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/96304353012 which is open for anyone to join by request.  The WAS Astrophotography Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1684738758511214/ is for those interested in astrophotography.