The ASNSW is an incorporated association operating under Constitution (PDF version of Constitution).
ABN 51 807 120 936
This page provides an overview of the Society, with a YouTube presentation, the history and objectives of the Society, meetings, the annual South Pacific Star Party, observing sessions, school nights, open nights, publications (our own journal Universe and discounted yearbooks), observing facilities, activity sections, society awards and an overview of membership benefits. The ASNSW website (in an earlier iteration) has won website awards for its popularity and educational content. The primary contact for the Society is the Secretary.
History and Objectives
The Society was founded in 1954 by Gordon Patston as the Sydney Amateur Astronomers. It was renamed The Astronomical Society of New South Wales in 1964, and was incorporated under The Associations Incorporation Act in 1985.
The ASNSW exists to bring together people interested in Astronomy and related sciences, and to promote public interest and education in Astronomy. We provide Astronomical observing facilities for members, educational lectures for members and the public, and we assist members and the public to select, use and even construct telescopes and related instruments.
We are the largest and most active Astronomy club in New South Wales, and currently have over 350 members from across Australia, and around the world.
We usually hold two meetings per month, at the Epping Creative Centre, on those Friday evenings closest to Full Moon (as moonlight, like city light pollution, interferes with Astronomical observing). Meetings commence at 8:00pm.
Ordinary Meetings will usually have a guest speaker who is a professional astronomer or other qualified specialist discussing leading edge technology and developments in the science of astronomy or a member who will make presentations of their own observing, telescope making, astroimages or related activities. General Society business is also carried out during some meetings. An Annual General Meeting is usually held in August.
The Annual South Pacific Star Party (SPSP)
The ASNSW hosts The Annual South Pacific Star Party, (SPSP) which is an extremely popular get-together of amateur and professional Astronomers from around the world, for observing under superb dark skies, and for socialising with other Astronomers. Anyone is welcome to attend. The SPSP attracts up to 250 amateurs from Australia and around the world.
The ASNSW also holds regular monthly observing sessions each month on the weekend nearest new moon, at our Dark Sky Site Wiruna, where about 20-50 members attend with telescopes ranging in size up to 30”. On the weekends nearest New Moon and Last Quarter moon, we also have the Crago Observatory available for all members.
Overseas and Interstate visitors wishing to join in at either Wiruna or Crago Observatory, should give advance notice so that we can assist them more efficiently. March through to May offers great skies, while June through to August can be cold.
Local School Nights
A group of members volunteer to stage observing nights for students at schools around Sydney, using their portable telescopes. These nights are extremely popular, and are in keeping with our charter to promote public interest and education in Astronomy. If you are interested in having the ASNSW host a school night, or similar event, please Email us and we'll do whatever we can to assist you.
Local Astronomy Open Nights
The ASNSW also holds Local Astronomy Open Nights as required, which are designed especially for people who, due to their locality, are unable to attend such local events which are held from time to time around the Metropolitan areas. One such regular event is held at Ilford, in the Ilford Hall (12km from Wiruna). This particular event has in the past attracted over 350 locals, and has proved to be a very rewarding experience, for both locals and participating members alike.
Members of the ASNSW receive our monthly journal, Universe, and are able to order the astronomy yearbook from Quasar Publishing at a substantial discount off the retail price. The society also maintains a library with books on a broad range of topics and issues of Universe and journals from other societies.
UNIVERSE - Monthly Journal of the Astronomical Society of New South Wales Inc., renowned world-wide as being one of the highest quality publications produced by an Astronomical Society. Eleven issues per year keep members in touch with what is happening in the world of Astronomy, as well as providing readers with a number of personal accounts of observing sessions and Astronomical discoveries.
Astronomy YYYY - Australia's most popular astronomy year book from Quasar Publishing, packed full of information that is essential to all amateur observers, is available to ASNSW members at a discount price. Mail orders are accepted with renewals.
Society Library - In addition to the abovementioned publications, members of the ASNSW also have access to the Society's Library. With hundreds of titles to choose from, members can borrow materials from the Society Library for a period of up to one month.
Wiruna (Aboriginal for "Sunset") is a 43 hectare (107 acre) site near Ilford, about 3 hours North West of Sydney, which has a resident 17½” ƒ/4.5 Dobsonian Telescope and a 25” ƒ/5 Obsession Telescope, both housed in a roll-off shed. Observing and other facilities are for use by members, their guests and visitors from other astronomical societies during scheduled observing weekends.
Crago Observatory is an observatory with a high class 16” ƒ/7 Dobsonian Telescope, enclosed in a large rotating dome. The Observatory is located on Bowen Mountain, in the Blue Mountains National Park, near North Richmond, about an hour's drive west of Sydney. Visitors are welcome at scheduled observing sessions.
Activity Sections and Section Leaders
The Society has a number of highly experienced Section Leaders, dedicated to providing advice to members interested in specific aspects of Astronomy, including Astro Photography, Astro Computing, Solar Observing, the Solar System, Double and Variable Star Observing, Planetary Nebulae Observing, Deep Sky Observing and Telescope Making.
The ASNSW has a number of awards which are presented to members who have made a considerable contribution to the society and/or amateur Astronomy. The major awards include the McNiven Medal, The Southern Cross Award, and The Crago Award, as well as Honorary and Life Memberships.
The awards are made at the discretion of the committee, with all three of these awards being presented in the last 12 months to members for their commitment and continued work both within and outside of the Society in the field of Astronomy.
Overview of Membership Benefits
Membership of the Astronomical Society of New South Wales Inc. has many benefits, including our monthly journal UNIVERSE, posted or emailed (your choice) each month, up to 20 meetings per year presented by professional and amateur Astronomers, and the opportunity to meet great new friends also interested in Astronomy. Accredited members also have full access to Wiruna, Crago Observatory and Society-owned Astronomical equipment, including telescopes up to 25” ƒ/5.
Members receive a substantial discount on the Quasar Publishing yearbook: Astronomy YYYY.
The ASNSW website, in its original format, won two awards in the 1990s. There is a screenshot from the old web site with information about those awards here.
The Astronomical Society of New South Wales Inc.
PO Box 870
EPPING NSW 1710