It has around 350 members who represent the full range of interests and experience in astronomy. Beginners are very welcome. The Society was founded in 1999, and is part of the membership organisation of Royal Museums Greenwich. Our lecture meetings are held once a month between September/October and May/June, usually on a Monday evening, in the lecture theatre of the NMM, or in the Peter Harrison Planetarium at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG). We feel it a privilege to be able to hold our meetings on a site of such astronomical significance, and to have access to the ROG professional staff and other eminent guest speakers. As well as the history of the subject, lectures are arranged on all aspects of astronomy including cosmology and space flight. Information about our previous meetings and visits can be found in the Meetings & Events section of this website.
Some members of the Society work as volunteers at the ROG, as observing assistants and tour guides. One of the Society’s objectives is to help the ROG by making donations of equipment to enhance the educational work. Two Hydrogen-alpha solar telescopes have been donated and have enabled visitors to the Observatory to see prominences and sunspots. Members participated very successfully with the solar telescopes at ROG events for the public to watch the 2004 Transit of Venus and the partial solar eclipses in 2005, 2006, & 2008.
We have access to the ROG Peter Harrison Planetarium, the most modern in Europe, and we arrange briefings about the night sky presented by the ROG astronomers. Once or twice a year we stage telescope workshops at the ROG to help beginners choose and use starter telescopes, or to assist more experienced observers with planning an upgrade or using advanced techniques.
The Society regularly holds observing evenings using members’ own telescopes as well as the Society’s 10-inch Dobsonian, made by members. Observing sessions are held on Blackheath SE3, at Cudham in Kent, and at Romney where a member has a permanently-mounted 14-inch SCT telescope. In addition the Society stages viewing sessions with the ROG’s 28-inch Great Equatorial refractor, the largest of its kind in the UK, and seventh largest in the world.
Eminent speakers at the Society have included Prof Colin Pillinger, Sir Arnold Wolfendale (14th Astronomer Royal), Prof John Brown (Astronomer Royal for Scotland), Heather Couper, and Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell. Pre-Christmas meetings have been held in the famous Octagon Room at the Royal Observatory.
Excursions and visits are arranged during the Summer, along with some social activities. In the past we have visited Herstmonceux, Jodrell Bank, Rutherford Appleton Labs near Didcot, the Herschel Museum in Bath, the Orwell Park Observatory near Ipswich, and the Paris Observatory.
Membership of the Flamsteed includes membership of Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG). Membership of RMG provides you with a number of benefits in addition to those offered by the Flamsteed:
- Free entry to Cutty Sark
- Free fast-track entry to the new special exhibition programme at the Sammy Ofer Wing
- Free-of-charge access to the Peter Harrison Planetarium, Flamsteed House and the Meridian Courtyard
- Personal invitations to private views and an exciting programme of Members events
- 10% discounts in shops, cafés and the new 16 Seconds West Brasserie overlooking Greenwich Park
- Concessionary discount on adult learning talks and courses
- Access to the elegant Members Room
- Quarterly newsletter and bi-monthly e-newsletter
Committee minutes can be found on this page.