How do I join the Society ?
All you need to do is to fill in an application form either at the meeting at the Royal Russell School or at the Observatory. It should then be handed either to the membership secretary or to a Committee Member if he is not there. If you have any questions about our membership please contact our secretary his EMAIL address is on the Contacts Page. There is no membership fee or fee for attending our meetings or observatory. The society is funded by donations from our members & visitors and by the sale of raffle tickets at our lectures at the Royal Russell School.
Our constitution requires that members reaffirm their membership each year - the easiest way to do this is to ask you to fill a new form in. It also allows us to have evidence that any donation you make may be treated as gift aid so we are able to reclaim the tax from the Inland Revenue.
The HM Revenue and Customs allows us to reclaim the basic rate of income tax you have paid on your donations. As a result we can get an extra £2.82 for each £10 you donate. However we need to confirm that you will pay an amount of tax in the relevant tax year at least as great as the tax we will reclaim (the tax you pay can be income tax or capital gains tax at any rate), so there is a box on the 2003/4 membership form to confirm this. For higher rate taxpayers you can also claim additional tax relief via your tax return and get £2.31 back yourself for each £10 you donate.
We can also recover the tax on any donations you have made since April 2000 so the form has boxes for you to confirm that you payed sufficient tax in these years as well. If you have forgoten how much you donated please contact the Membership Secretary on his address is on the contacts page. Also contact the Membership Secretary if you are no longer a member but have made donations since April 2000 and wish us to reclain the tax on these donations.
If you require any additional information on Gift Aid have a look at the HM Revenue and Customs Gift Aid pages. If you are a higher rate taxpayer and require advice on reclaiming your tax on the donations please contact your proffesional advisor.
(Edited 15th August 2003 following contribution from Chris Green )
If you change your EMAIL address or move please EMAIL your new details to the Membership Secretary - his EMAIL address is on the contacts page. If you don't we will not be able to EMAIL information such as the programme & notices to you.
How much does it cost to join ?
Nothing ! There are no membership fees and no joining fee !
If there are no fees how is the Society financed ?
The society is funded by donations from both members & visitors. This income is supplemented by the profits from the raffle that we hold at the lectures.
How do you tell the members what's happening ? (Altair_B)
We have an electronic newsgroup called Altair_B. This serves two purposes, it allows the Committee to announce changes to the programme and other events. It also allows members to 'chat' to each other on items of Astronomical or Society interest. To join this you need to subscribe - the instructions to this and more information can be found here on the Altair_B page. You can leave at any time by following the instructions sent when you join. If you have problems joining contact our Webmaster.
How do youtell the members what's happening ? (EMAIL)
If you have given us an EMAIL address we will send you copy of each programme as they are issued, information about the AGM and a form to renew your membership. These are normally the only things that are sent by EMAIL. If you wish to stop these EMAILS send a message to the Membership Secretary - his details are on the contacts page.
How do you tell the members what's happening ? (Snail Mail)
For those members who have not entered the electronic age we send copies of the programme and AGM information by post. Due to the costs of distribution we will send you the programme for a year after you last filled in a membership form
Do you have a 'junior' section ?
We do not have a junior section at present but accompanied young members are welcome to the lectures & to our observatory. The short lecture is aimed at beginners and should be understood by our younger members. The difficulty of the main talks depends very much on the subject.
Where are the lectures held ?
The lectures are held in The basement Lecture theatre of The Great Hall at The Royal Russell School, Coombe Lane, Croydon. More details & maps are here.
How do I get to the lectures ?
You can either come by Car - there is a large car park on site. The best method of public transport is to use Croydon Tramlink - Coombe Lane Tramstop is very near the school entrance. Croydon Tramlink has links to East Croydon, West Croydon, Wimbledon & Beckenham Junction stations for those traveling from further away. More transport details are available here together with some maps.
What is the date of the next lecture ?
Lectures are held on Friday evenings every two weeks from September to July with a short break at Christmas & Easter. Dates of the lectures are on our programme and are published in Astronomy Now.
I don't know much / any Astronomy - will I understand the lectures ?
We try to make the lectures interesting to both beginners and those with more experience. We normally start with an introductory talk aimed at those starting astronomy followed by the main talk after a break that covers a topic in more depth.
When is the Observatory Open ?
Our Observatory is open to the Public on Saturday Evenings from September to May. The exact dates will be announced on the events page of this website. The observatory opens at 20:30 in the winter or at dusk if this is later. We leave a message on the observatory phone each Saturday Evening confirming what time the observatory will be open.
What is the difference between the Public & Members Observing Evenings ?
On public evenings there will be someone on hand to show you some of the objects that are visible through our telescopes. Members evenings are there to allow members to use the facilities to carry out their own observations.
Where is your Observatory ?
The observatory is located in Kenley Surrey please EMAIL your name and address to our enquiry address details are on our contacts page and we will send you full details and a map
What facilities are there at the Observatory ?
We have Electricity, a phone & several telescopes. If you have to answer a 'call of nature' there are several large fields.
How do I get to the Observatory ?
By it's nature the observatory is located away from housing and thus public transport. If you do not have your own transport the options are either a 2 mile uphill walk from Kenley Station, a 1.8 mile uphill walk from Whyteleaf Station or a 1.6 mile uphill walk from Whyteleaf South Station. Taxis are available from Kenley.
Is the Observatory open if it rains ?
In general we do not open on public evenings if it is raining or cloudy - we try to leave a message on the observatory answer phone to tell you if the observatory will be open or not. If you have arranged a group visit you will be told what we will do if the weather is not suitable.
What is the telephone Number of the Observatory ?
020 8668 9642 - Leave a message on the answer phone if we are not there
What should I take with me to the observatory ?
Have a look at the information on the observatory page
I want to bring a group to your observatory how do I arrange it ?
Please contact our group visit co-ordinator by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
How big is your telescope - how far can it see etc.
Our main telescope is an 14" Schmidt Cassegrain, with our previous telescope using an electronic CCD camera we have taken an image of The Gravitationaly lensed Quasar QSO 0957 +561A,B at a redshift of z=1.41 around 7 Billion light years away!
What you can see visually depends on how skilled an observer you are, how well your eyes are dark adapted & the observing conditions but Quasar 3C273 has been observed at a redshift of z = 0.158 a distance of around 2 billion light years.
How do I become qualified to use the Telescope at Kenley ?
You need to demonstrate our nominated committee member that you can safely use the telescope without risk to you, others or the equipment. If you are interested send an EMAIL to our enquiry address - details are on the contacts page.
What is a good web site to look at to learn basic Astronomy ?
Have a look at some of the sites that have been found by the Google Search Engine here. There are lots to chose from ! You could also have a look at NASA's Astronomy Picture of The Day & follow some of the links. Pop back each day and see what there is to learn ! Another set of Google Links can be found here. Don't forget there are a lot of good books out there - have a look at your local library or one of the larger book sellers.
I want to buy a telescope can you give me any advice ?
Have a look at the links from our links section here.
I have a question about the Society that is not on this list
Send us an EMAIL to our enquiry address - details are on the contacts page and we will try to answer your question.
The committee members have received a lot of SPAM EMAIL when their addresses were published as links on the site. This is a result of nasty things out there called SPAM robots that search the web for EMAIL addresses so they can be entered onto mailing lists used by SPAMers. As a result we have changed most of our mailing addresses and they are now on the web site as a picture / image which should reduce the risk of them being harvested.
As explained above we have lots of problems with SPAMers sending EMAILs to the addresses that were published on the web site. As a result we have had to close some of them down.. If you send EMAILs to these addresses you will get a message saying the address is no longer in use. If this happens please resend the EMAIL to the new address from the contacts page.