Shropshire Astronomical Society – Community Astronomy

Background

The Shropshire Astronomical Society (SAS) is a county-wide group for anyone interested in the STEM subjects especially astronomy, star-gazing and space exploration. SAS meet regularly at various venues throughout the county and are keen to raise public awareness of astronomy. The society membership encompasses interests ranging from people observing using CCDs, to those content to read all about astronomy and watch the sky at night time. The society encourages members to pursue their passion for astronomy in whichever way they most enjoy.

Challenge

This is an outreach project called Community Astronomy. A group of society members have dedicated their time to out-reach activities working with Cubs, Brownies, U3A, National Trust, Women’s Institute, Shropshire Libraries, Young Farmers, Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Shropshire Festivals as well as various requests from village and community halls to carry out a variety of presentations and workshops.

What impact has it made?

Thanks to the additional funding from the Millennium Point Charitable Trust, Shropshire Astronomical Society plans to build on its recent successes and grow this community project which aims to stimulate a general awareness of the science of Astronomy, further the knowledge and skills of its existing members and conduct observations and report them to members and co-ordinating bodies.

Shropshire Astronomical Society plans to achieve this by:

  • Hosting regular formal and informal meetings and events in private and public spaces
  • Disseminating information and communicating the results of studies between members
  • Providing advice and help in the construction, purchase, maintenance, and use of astronomical instruments
  • Giving talks, arranging lectures and instigating practical teaching, especially to young people
  • Organising visits to places of astronomical interest
Why did they receive a small grant?

Shropshire Astronomical Society presented a clear proposal which seeks to bring together local communities using space and science with an engaging programme of events and activities.

This is a project we feel very passionately about and have been developing over a long period of time. Thanks to some additional funding we’ll get to upgrade our society’s existing presentation equipment in order to reach more people and communities by being able to present outdoors, and at venues without the appropriate equipment. The enhanced events will provide rural communities the opportunity to learn about what they have been observing in the night sky each evening as well as all engaging young people and encouraging an interest in STEM subjects. At the same time it will help keep rural village halls vibrant and active for the local communities.

Stephen Szwajkun, Chairman, Shropshire Astronomical Society

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What We Funded
  • Resources for a series of activities and events as part of an expanded programme for the SAS
  • Resources to improve the knowledge and skills of SAS members which benefit the delivery of the programme
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