Bury’s new astronomy group boldly goes for new members

Richard Young with  The Athenaeums Victorian telescope . Picture Mark Westley ANL-150112-214656009
Richard Young with The Athenaeums Victorian telescope . Picture Mark Westley ANL-150112-214656009
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The Athenaeum Astronomy Association is taking the next step in helping Bury St Edmunds reach for the stars with a meeting next Friday.

The association began in 2015 with a long term aim of restoring the observatory on top of The Athenaeum and last summer organised viewings in the Abbey Gardens of the transit of Mercury across the sun.

It now has its own meeting room and is holding the meeting at The Athenaeum next week to show what it does.

Chairman Richard Young said: “We’re in the process of writing up a constitution and the paperwork so we can join the Federation of Astronomical Societies, but we’ve got a working astronomy group.”

He said they have had a series of traing evenings to ‘bring members up to speed on astronomy’ and from this month have their own observation site at Nowton Walled Garden, where they have a meeting room for fortnightly meetings.

They had joined in with Orwell Astronomical Society’s Star Parties in Bury and this year plan their own spring and autumn Star Parties in 2017.

But the Athenaeum’s observatory, opened in 1860, has not been forgotten. Mr Young said: “We’ve had estimates on what we need to do to make access to it safe for the public.”

He likened restoring it and its Victorian telescope to restoring ploughing engines.

“We can see how these things used to be used by preserving equipment like that and it’s the same with the telescope,” he said.

It has mechanical features to do things modern telescopes do electronically.

The January 27 meeting, at 7pm, includes talks on celestial objects and photographing them. For details visit the society’s website www.3A.org.uk