We always welcome visitors to our meetings at the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh (ASE) – and that will never change. But what does it actually mean if you choose to join us?

There will never be any pressure to join and we just want to share our passion for astronomy with everyone. Over the past couple of years our membership has grown significantly and now stands at 170. This is partly due to an increase in interest in the topic over lockdown but also because we have been doing so much more online during that time and there’s such a lot of enthusiasm in our Society. Just take a look at the amount and quality of images being taken by ASE members on our Flickr Group. We have the complete range of astronomical experience from brand new – to intermediate – to advanced – to former professionals.

At the very least you get to chat, regularly on our very active WhatsApp Group and at meetings, about anything to do with astronomy, telescopes, cameras, imaging and observing – a well as some more random subjects… We learn from each other, help to choose equipment, what to observe and image in the sky, how best to process images… Anything and everything. Members get to join our meetings via Zoom if they can’t make it in person.

Here’s a quote from a recent member about what it means to him.

“I joined the ASE just over a year ago after taking up astrophotography as a hobby in lockdown. I have been impressed by the range of online (and now in person) events and speakers hosted by the ASE. In addition the active WhatsApp groups and newsletter are great source of advice, encouragement and inspiration. And all for just £30 per year is a bargain!”
Pat Devine

North America Nebula, Pat Devine

North America Nebula, Pat Devine

Pat has only recently started imaging but look at the image in the banner. This is what he produces now along with many many more excellent images!

We also plan to run more group observing sessions again now that restrictions have eased a little. We recently had a group observing out in East Lothian together and that was very successful, with newer members learning from the more experienced.

Every week there is usually an Email Newsletter, discussing topics such as ASE news, what’s happening in the week, images from members, astronomy and space news, external events, learning about a specific astronomical topic, more random rambles around astronomy (recent topics have included astronomy and music, telescopes in the poems of Robert Frost), extracts from our archives and history, which goes back to 1924 and beyond.

Our Imaging & Observing Group is the most active part of our Society and meets via Zoom every month for members. The membership of the group has more than doubled in size over the past 2 years and so the place we used to meet is no longer large enough – and as we have International members, we meet online. We talk about everything to do with observing and imaging: equipment, techniques, objects, processing, sharing images. We also now get guest speakers, advanced amateur astronomers who share their experience with us. It’s great fun and to see just how far our members have come is staggering. Just look at the images on Flickr.

We also run our own projects to encourage people to get out imaging and to provide them with a focus: ASE Messier Project, ASE Caldwell Project, ASE Lunar 100 Project and we have interactive maps of these projects in development too. We have some equipment that members can borrow, to try out and maybe help them decide what they might want to get themselves.

There’s more information about Membership as well as Gift Memberships on the Membership Page. There really is no pressure and if all you want to do is watch our meetings, in person at the Augustine United Church in Edinburgh or on YouTube, then that’s fine by us and you will always be welcome. You can also taking part in our 4-Steps to the Stars Programme, to help get you started in astronomy. But if you want to go deeper into the subject, get a telescope, take up imaging or just become more advanced, then membership may be for you. Let us know how we can help you.

Mark Phillips