About & History

Who we are and where we came from…

Norwich Astronomical Society was founded in 1945 by six men who met regularly to discuss their hobby and wanted to formalise their interest in astronomy. As the society developed, meeting regularly, it gained more new members so that it needed to build its own observatory and this was first located on Daniels Road, Norwich. With the impact of light pollution the society moved to a location on Colney Lane, on the southern edge of the city. The society was situated there for over 20 years and continued to develop its observing facilities. When plans were drawn showing that the new Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital was to be its next door neighbour NAS had to find a new location not affected by the increasing light pollution and found a site at Seething in South Norfolk and we have been there since 1994. This is in a dark skies location and on a good night you can see the arm of the Milky Way and many deep space objects.

Norwich Astronomical Society sit on a 2 acre site which it has developed and currently consists of a clubhouse and cabin; 2 viewing domes, Herschel and Genesis; two run-off observatories for astrophotography; sixteen telescope pads, 10 of them with electrical power and a small collection of telescopes available to NAS members. The Society has also developed the landscape of the site for local wildlife. The observatory facilities take up 1 acre of the site whilst the other half has been left as a managed wildlife area giving the site a County Wildlife status. Even the pond has a known history dating back over a 100 years.

The Seething site was once part of a large World War II airfield. Seething Airfield started construction in 1942/43. It was one of the first Norfolk airfields that as built specifically for the American 8th Air Force, used by the 448th bomb group who flew Consolidated B24 Liberators. Their first mission was 2/12/1943.

NAS has a membership averaging 150 and regularly meet on Fridays for club night with members staying to the small hours of the morning. We are a friendly, welcoming group. On good nights you will find members spending their time looking through telescopes or imaging and when it is cloudy you will find us in the clubhouse where we shared images, play pool or sit in groups chatting. We don’t spend all our time talking about astronomy but you are quite welcome to if you wish. We have a great club atmosphere and you would be most welcome to visit us on a club night and chat over a cuppa. Becoming a member allows you to fully use the observational facilities at the society, the extensive library, attend members’ talks and develop skills and knowledge from the breadth of experience from other knowledgeable members.

As a registered charity our aims and objectives are to promote and advance the public understanding of astronomy and to provide facilities for those wishing to study astronomy. We provide outreach by holding public nights, group visits and participating in activities that help promote astronomy. In doing this work we rely heavily on members to volunteer their help and without them we would not be the society we are today who meet weekly at great facilities with a great club atmosphere.