Observing is one of the core activities of any amateur astronomical society, and the NIAAS has an active observing group. Unfortunately, due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, observing sessions usually have to be arranged at very short notice, often only a matter of a couple of hours beforehand.
All observing sessions are announced on the forum, and all members, and indeed, members of the public, are welcome to attend.
Equipment Used In Club
Most members of the society own one or more telescopes, and these will be brought to observing sessions. The telescopes range in size from small refractors to quite large reflectors and catadioptrics. All society members also own binoculars, and these are used extensively, as some of the most beautiful sights in the sky are best seen with binoculars.
The society owns several telescopes, including a 10inch dobsonian reflector and a 6inch reflector. Spare binoculars are also available.
All the telescopes at observing sessions are shared between everyone at the session, so if some-one should find a particularly interesting object, everyone else will be invited to have a look. This creates a great atmosphere during the sessions, with both serious discussion and banter much in evidence. The occasional barbecue may also be lit.
The society uses several observing sites, although most observing sessions take place at Killylane Reservoir, near Shanes Hill, on the road between Larne and Ballymena. This is a good dark site, and is fairly accessible for most people. Other sites include Delamont, near Downpatrick, Slieve Croob, and an old disused quarry near Glenarm.