Observing sessions

Society observing sessions

Once a month the society holds an observing evening. These are held on a first clear night basis. There are usually several telescopes so if you’re looking to purchase a ‘scope or have never looked through one before then these are a great opportunity. It’s also a great place to share observations and try out equipment.

The Abingdon Astronomical Society observing evening aims to give an opportunity for those with an interest in the night sky to have a look:

  • through some of the society member’s telescopes,
  • your own telescope and / or binoculars,
  • and to meet up with other members of the society with a keen interest in seeing the night sky.

Some advice for getting the most out of the evening

  • On arrival (and departure), try not to shine your headlights directly at the astronomers. Dark adaption takes time to gain and careless white lights at the site will ruin that state.
  • The car park is safe, so there is no need to lock your car ( to prevent flashing the lights again).
  • Once observing, use only red lights / torches for seeing where you are going. If you don’t have one, cover the torch you have with some red plastic. The site is quite dark with no lights in view.
  • Astrophotographers are normally equipped with laptops and cameras that can display bright lights. Please try and keep these as subdued as possible. Mobile phone apps are much the same as laptops so use these sparingly and please do NOT take flash images.
  • We observe through the winter months. Standing outside for up to three hours needs the correct clothing for you to get the most from the evening. We are not in a fashion parade, so wooly hats, scarves, gloves, thick coats and warm foot ware with a couple of pairs of socks will prevent you getting cold.


The Abingdon Astro representative will be in a high visibility jacket. If in any doubt, or need some help, please ask.

How it works

The Abingdon Astronomical Society Observing Evenings occur on the first clear night of the appropriate dates published in the programme.

It is important to understand that they do NOT take place on EVERY clear night on those dates. The first date will always be a Monday. So on that Monday, check the weather. Obviously, if it is pouring with rain then we will not be going that particular night. However if it is clear, or partially clear, then it is possible that the observing evening will take place that night.

To find out if it is going to occur that night, phone Steve Creasey on 07876 880253 AFTER 6:30PM or check for an announcement on the societies email list (abastro@smartgroups.com), this web site, Twitter or Facebook shortly AFTER 6:30PM. The final decision will be taken by that time (after checking the weather forecasts on TV, radio and internet). Phoning before 6:30PM will only result in you having to ring back later.

Do NOT go to the observing site without telephoning and/or checking first. If it is a long time after 6:30PM, don’t worry, call Steve on 07876 880253.

If you have any doubt over whether it is clear enough or not, telephone. It may be partially clear where you are but completely clear nearer the observing site. Conversely, it may be clear where you are but cloudy at the observing site.

If it is too cloudy (or windy) on the first Monday. We try again on the next day – the same procedure, phoning after 6:30PM, etc.

If Tuesday is cloudy, we try again on the Wednesday.

If the Wednesday is cloudy, then we have to wait until the next scheduled dates (see the programme).

The observing evenings start at 8:00PM. You don’t have to arrive there at exactly 8:00PM, you can arrive at any time you want to after that (you can get there before 8:00PM if you want, but you will probably be on your own until then). You can leave any time you want to – so you could stay 30 minutes, or until the end (which is usually about 11:00PM, clouds and cold permitting), it’s up to you.

If you have any further queries, phone Steve Creasey on 07876 880253.