Answers to frequently asked questions.


We meet at Bristol Photographic Society’s excellent meeting space, in central Bristol.

At the top of Station Road, just opposite Montpelier railway station.    

Bristol Photographic Society,
Unit 13 Montpelier Central,
Station Road,
BS6 5EE. 

We produce an annual programme of events, which can be found on the >Programme page. 

We try our best to keep this up to date, but occasionally last minute changes occur.  We’ll always announce any changes to members, as soon as they are confirmed.

Term time runs from October to June.
We meet every Friday evening during term time.  There are no meetings on public holidays. 

Non-Term meetings are held once per month.
July, August and September (details on the website).

Meeting Times
Doors open at 6.45.  Arrive by about 7:00 and get a tea/coffee and a biscuit, for 50p.  These contributions go toward running the society meetings, and maintaining the observatory.

Single Use Plastic
Many members bring their own mugs, in an attempt to reduce our use of single use plastic cups.  This is appreciated, but by no means compulsory.  Rest assured, you will get your coffee!

We hold all of our meetings in the ground-floor part of the building.  This is level all the way through.  The door has a small lip, but there are ramps available to allow wheelchair access.

Your first visit is free.  
Non-members are asked for a donation of £3 to attend subsequent talks.

Annual members attend for free.  Take a look at >Membership benefits.

Join in person at your next BAS Talk night, or download and complete our Membership Form from >The Membership page, which has more details.

  • Attend our talk nights free of charge.
  • Access to our Failand observatory and the opportunity to learn how to use the telescopes there.
  • Access to several telescopes which are available to borrow.
  • Access to a comprehensive library.
  • Access to the Yahoo emailing group and our new online forums for discussions and help about astronomy.

>The Society page has more details.

The same arrangements apply to all visitors. 
We offer a Family Membership, for all named persons at one address. 
It cost a little more, but all can get the same benefits. 

We offer concessions to retired, unemployed and student members, and generous concessions to youths, who are under 18.

Yes!  We run various opportunities throughout the year.  Predictably the weather can play mayhem with these plans, so we often schedule multiple evenings and cancel or proceed depending on the expected cloud cover.  

If you are under 18, we ask that you come with a parent or guardian

More details are available on the >Observing page.

We run an excellent four week course for children aged between 9 and 11.  Take a look at > Young Persons Astronomy class.

We are able to help local cubs/scouts/brownies with their astronomy badges.    Firstly, special nights can be arranged at the Failand observatory.

Group visits need to be booked in advance and are, as always, weather dependant.  All children must be accompanied by their parents or group leader at all times.    

Please email saturday.observing@bristolastrosoc.org.uk for more help.

Some of our members are willing to come and talk to a small group of children. Please be aware that this can take a little time to organise.

All children must be accompanied by their parents or group leader. 
Please send an email to saturday.observing@bristolastrosoc.org.uk giving details of what you require.   

We will do our best to advise, and will canvas our members, to help to find a buyer.  No guarantee of success!

Please email the >Secretary in the first instance.

We have limited storage space, so telescopes can only be accepted if they can be used in our programme of public meetings, or loaned-out to members.    

Please contact the >Secretary in the first instance.

Look here:  http://www.bristolastrosoc.org.uk/www/pages/observing/observing-advice.php

Contact the >Secretary for advice on specific models.  If necessary, your query will be passed on to someone with experience of that brand/model.  

We periodically run a ‘Telescope Surgery’ evening.  The evening is popular with people looking to purchase or upgrade their kit, or simple to come along and get advice.  

At this event, you can bring your telescope, if you already have one, and we will show you how to set it up. 

Contact the >Secretary beforehand, so that they might find someone with experience of that brand/model.

Celestial bodies and artificial satellites don’t usually flash, but are a constant white point.  The ISS for instance is a constant white dot that moves quite swiftly across the sky, from the West, until it enters the Earth’s shadow, in the East, when it vanishes.

There are also satellites that cause iridium flares, these appear quite dim, then suddenly bright, then dim and disappear as they move across the night sky.    This is caused by the sun suddenly reflecting off their solar panels.  They do not ‘pulse’ or repeat the change of brightness.

Planes have lights of differing colours, that sometimes flash and sometimes stay constant.  Helicopters also have an array of lights.  It could be difficult to see their outline at night.

You can find out more about what’s moving above us, by visiting >Heavens Above It will tell you exactly what satellites can be seen and when.   You can then watch them go over and compare them to what you have seen in the past.

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