Derby and District Astronomical Society

Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary Year

Welcome to the website of the Derby & District Astronomical Society (DDAS). We were founded in 1974 and are open to all with an interest in astronomy. We currently number around 50 members from all walks of life and whose knowledge of astronomy ranges from complete beginner to advanced. The society holds regular meetings on the first Friday of each month (except July and August) at 7:30 pm at the Friend's Meeting House on St. Helen's Street in Derby. This period stone building is owned by the Quakers Religious Society Of Friends, and is next door to BBC Radio Derby. Please note that we are not affiliated with the Quakers Religious Society Of Friends, but rent the meeting space from them. This venue may be found on Google Maps. Meetings usually involve an outside speaker, but members also give talks, and the society holds a quiz in January. We also hold 'Introduction to Astronomy' evenings at the Friends Meeting House on the third Friday of the month, and these are designed to cover the basics of astronomy. See below for more information or check out our meetings programme. We are a friendly and, despite our subject, 'down to earth' society. Meetings are a great way for potential new members to see what we're about in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. The social aspect continues after most monthly meetings with a visit to, appropriately enough, The Seven Stars.

The society's Flamsteed Observatory houses a 10-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and Altair ED-80 refractor on a computerised 'GOTO' mount. The observatory is named in honour of England's first Astronomer Royal, the Reverend John Flamsteed (1646-1719), who was born in Derbyshire and attended Derby School. Regular monthly observing sessions are held (weather permitting) at the facility and new people are always welcome. They are usually held on the second Saturday of the month and start times vary with the season. The observatory is located on North Lane, Ashbourne, DE6 1PL, about two miles north of the village of Brailsford, and may be found on Google Maps. The observatory is available for use by individual members at any time after some simple training. A barbecue is held at the observatory on the first Saturday in July instead of a meeting at The Friend's Meeting House that month. The society also takes part in a number of public events and observing evenings during the year, at which members share their enthusiasm for the night sky and bring along their telescopes. An annual trip provides the opportunity for members to visit a different site of astronomical or space interest within the UK each year. Several of our members photograph the night sky and our picture gallery is entirely comprised of DDAS member's work.

DDAS members with Dr Allan Chapman (seated), after he delivered the DDAS 50th Anniversary Lecture at Derby Museum on John Flamsteed - Derby's Gift to Astronomy and Founder of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, on the 18th May this year.  Picture Credit: Anthony Southwell.  More pictures from this event...

DR ALLAN CHAPMAN KEEPS AUDIENCE SPELLBOUND AT MUSEUM TALK... On the afternoon of Saturday 18th May 2024, we were delighted to welcome Dr Allan Chapman from Wadham College, Oxford, to deliver a lecture at Derby Museum on John Flamsteed - Derby's Gift to Astronomy and Founder of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Here is a selection of DDAS members photos of the event.

AURORA LIGHTS UP SKIES FOR DDAS 50TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY... On the evening of Friday 10th May 2024, a spectacular auroral display lit up the skies over the UK. Many DDAS members were quick to observe and photograph this marvel. This included a group of members who were the last to leave the DDAS 50th Anniversary Party at the Littleover Social Club in Derby that evening, who witnessed the spectacle from the club car park! What a fantastic coincidence that it occurred on that evening! Here is a selection of DDAS members photos of the spectacle. Photos from the party itself can be seen here.

ASTEROID 69273 DERBYASTRO  The Derby & District Astronomical Society is delighted to announce that we now have an asteroid named after us! Thanks to a suggestion made by DDAS member Mike Dumelow, and the work of DDAS member Anthony Southwell in conjunction with the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Small Bodies Nomenclature (WGSBN), our 50th anniversary year is now marked by a solar system body with our name on it! Asteroid 69273 Derbyastro (1989 TN1) is a main belt asteroid discovered by English astronomer Brian G. W. Manning at Stakenbridge Observatory near Kidderminster in October 1989. It measures 4.6 km in diameter, has an absolute magnitude of 14.6, and takes 4.6 years to orbit the Sun, with an orbit lying between Mars and Jupiter that is inclined 11 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic. Our naming citation reads: 'The Derby and District Astronomical Society is based in Derby, England and was founded in 1974 by Jane Kirk. The society holds monthly meetings and engages in public and educational activities. It also operates the Flamsteed Observatory and runs monthly public viewing nights.'. View our entry in the WGSBN Bulletin. More details of our asteroid my be found at the JPL Small-Body Database Lookup.

STARGAZING ON CATHEDRAL GREEN A GREAT SUCCESS... On Wednesday 17th April 2024, DDAS members, in collaboration with Derby Museums and Derby Live, put on an evening of stargazing on Cathedral Green. A photo journal of the visit can be seen here.

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE 2024   DDAS member Mike Lancaster viewed and photographed the total solar eclipse of the 8th April 2024 from Teaxs, in the company of the Astro Trails tour group. See his photos of the eclipse here.

LATEST IMAGES!  The Sun taken on the 18th July 2024 by Chris Callaway. The Sun taken on the 21st June 2024 by Chris Callaway and Jim Sarsgard. The 4 day old Moon taken by Jim Sarsgard on the 10th June 2024. A video of solar activity taken by Chris Callaway on the 19th May 2024 and an image of the 12 day old Moon taken by Jim Sarsgard on the 20th May 2024. Member's photos of the auroral display of the 10th May 2024. The total solar eclipse of the 8th April 2024 as viewed by Mike Lancaster from Texas. The Whirlpool Galaxy and the Sun captured by Chris Callaway in March and April 2024 respectively. Lower's Nebula captured by Mike Lancaster on the 3rd March 2024. Jupiter, the gibbous moon and the Trapezium Cluster captured by Peter Branson in January 2024. The Orion Nebula, the Horsehead and Flame Nebulae, the Plieades and the Christmas Tree Cluster, Cone and Fox Fur Nebulae captured by Chris Callaway in January 2024. The Crab Nebula and M35 captured by Mike Lancaster on the 17th January 2024. The moon taken on the 17th January 2024 by Jim Sarsgard and Tony Wright. Orion captured by Peter Branson on the 15th January 2024. Jupiter captured by Tony Wright on the 28th November 2023. Globular clusters Caldwell 42 and M15, and galaxy Caldwell 30, all captured by Mike Lancaster on the 10th November 2023. The Sun and the Veil Nebula taken in October and November 2023 by Chris Callaway. The moon captured by both Mike Lancaster and Malcolm Neal on the 29th October 2023. Globular cluster M2 captured by Mike Lancaster on the 13th October 2023. The Sun taken by Pete Hill on the 4th September 2023. Open cluster NGC 6823 captured by Mike Lancaster in September 2023. The Ring Nebula captured by Mike Lancaster on the 4th September 2023. M31 captured by John Hill in August and September 2023. The Blue Super Moon of the 30th August 2023 captured by Malcolm Neal, Jim Sarsgard , Iryna Eaton and Donald Anderson. Bode's Galaxy M81 captured by John Hill on the 15th August 2023. The Crescent and Dumbell nebulae, and globular clusters M13, M56, M71, M92 and Caldwell 47, all taken by Mike Lancaster in August 2023. The Sun taken on the 9th and 10th August 2023 by Chris Callaway.


The DDAS is a member of the
Federation of Astronomical Societies.

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Last Updated: 18th July 2024.
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