In the spring of 2006, Nottingham Astronomical Society were proud to open an Observatory in one of the darkest spots of the Nottingham area. We now take advantage of the dark skies using either our 24-inch Newtonian telescope, or an array of our members’ telescopes, which can be set up on the hard standing area just outside the observatory building. From here we observe the sun, moon, planets, galaxies, nebulae, comets and meteor showers; we chat about our equipment and the different ways we use it to improve our views and our photographs. We also introduce those new to practical astronomy with interesting tours of the night sky.
The site provides plenty of space for outdoor social activities. We’ve been known to hold the odd barbeque, where all you needed to bring with you was an appetite for a burger before sunset and for some deep sky objects afterwards … We are also conveniently located, with a few local pubs, whose comfort and facilities can be fully appreciated after a few hours of observing on a cold and crisp winter night.
Still room for improvement…
On our very best observing nights, nature does tend to challenge us with the cold. It occasionally feels like we have to earn our views of the sky as the temperature falls and that a true Spartan character is required to stay long enough to tick off all objects planned for that night’s observing session. But what you see is definitely worth staying late for. And believe us, what you see is definitely worth sharing.
So, as it is our mission to share our views of the skies, helping others take their first steps towards appreciating the beauty of the sky from our site; there are still a few things that we’d like to improve for you which we feel will raise the level of comfort that this experience deserves. We call this our “NAS Observatory Project.”
We would like to improve our parking and access facilities, to avoid the occasional issues with parking cars in the field after wet weather.
We would like to make improvements to our hard-standing area, to give us a better opportunity to provide people with guidance on how to set up and align their own telescopes.
We would like to equip the site with a warm room, so that our Observatory is used more regularly and regardless of the weather conditions. The room could be used for holding talks or presentations, or just for having a chat over a cup of tea on a frosty night.
By improving our observatory site in terms of comfort and access, we aim to see more people join us in observing the wonders of the sky, both adults and children alike, and set them on a path of exploration. But to be able to do that, our members need comfort and access to the sky at night, and this is what our Observatory and our Observatory project is there to give them.