The Astronomy Section of the La Société Guernesiaise runs and maintains the David Le Conte Astronomical Observatory on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands - See Map . It is a division of the larger La Société Guernesiaise, a charitable organisation founded in 1882 to encourage the study of the history, natural history, geography and geology of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the conservation of the Bailiwick’s natural environment and the preservation of its historic buildings and monuments. In many respects, La Société Guernesiaise is similar to the UK Wildlife Trusts. However, its activities extend into many other areas, including history, archaeology and astronomy.
The Astronomy Section, founded in 1972, is an active group of about 60 members and welcomes anyone with an interest in astronomy, whether beginner or experienced. In addition, a small number of volunteers offer an outreach program for education, youth groups and adults in the winter months.More Information
The Section is a member of the British Astronomical Association, and the Federation of Astronomical Societies.
Members have many interests including the planets and Solar System, galaxies, nebulae, cosmology, astrophotography and the history of astronomy. Many are relative beginners, ready to learn from others. If you have the slightest interest in astronomy then the Astronomy Section is for you!
Meetings & Member Activities
We meet biweekly at 8:30pm onwards throughout the year (excluding summer months), Calendar when typically, we may observe or have a talk on a wide variety of astronomical topics, all suitable for beginners.
For those wishing to learn how to use a modern telescope we may offer training on a Celestron GoTo telescope. We can also help if members need assistance with their own telescope.
Members receive a regular Bulletin giving details of upcoming scheduled activities. We may also meet on a more impromptu basis if the weather is looking favourable – this might be for observing, imaging and/or training.
We welcome visitors at our scheduled meetings – just turn up and join in for the evening.
Public Open Evenings
When the weather is favourable, we might open the observatory to the general public to view a selection of objects including Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon and deep space objects such as stars, galaxies and nebulae. Typically, there is also an astronomy-related talk in the meeting room. We may also open during the day for solar observing. These events are advertised on our Eventbrite page, to receive an email notification of them please subscribe here . We rely on donations to run the observatory and maintain the equipment therefore, welcome contributions and suggest £2 per adult and £1 per child.
We offer outreach activities to groups including schools, youth groups and adults. The outreach is offered by our volunteer members. Please note that we do not offer outreach during British Summer Time as the hours of darkness are too limiting - Calendar .
From time to time, we offer lectures and short courses to children and adults. Some examples include: A Rocket Ship Ride Around the Solar System for very young children, An Introduction to the Solar System and its Ocean Worlds, Winter/Summer Stargazing, An Introduction to Widefield Astrophotography and An Introduction to Deep space Astrophotography. Please follow us on Eventbrite to be notified of upcoming courses.
The Section is consulted from time to time on matters such as sundials , and was closely involved in the design of the Guernsey Liberation Monument . In August 1999 the Section was involved in the organisation of the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting (NAM99), which was held in Guernsey. The Section was also heavily involved in arrangements for observations of the total eclipse of the Sun in Alderney on 11 August 1999.
Section members are happy to advise on the acquisition of telescopes and binoculars for astronomical observing, and to advise on their use. If you have a telescope and would like help in learning how to use it then please come along on a scheduled Tuesday evening.
David Le Conte Observatory site and buildings
The facility contains a meeting/lecture room with a Sony projector, computer and fibre broadband. On the computer there is a selection of astronomy and astrophotography software. There is also a small kitchen area with tea/coffee/biscuits available and a comprehensive library.
Adjacent to this is a timber-framed roll-off roof building that houses a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope and 5-inch Takahashi refractor on an LX200 equatorially configured mount which is connected to a computer. There is also a 55” wall mounted monitor that can be used for presentations.
There are a number of concrete pads set into the grassed area where portable GoTo telescopes may be set up, some include access to power. See our Equipment List for more information.
For a detailed history of the Astronomy Section and its buildings please see the following article .
Mounts & Telescopes
- Meade 16-inch research-grade SCT
- 5-inch Takahashi refractor
- Celestron Nexstar 8SE
- Celestron Nexstar 102 SLT Maksutov
- Skywatcher Skyliner 300P SynScan Dobsonian
- iOptron GEM 45 mount
- Skywatcher Esprit 80mm refractor
- iOpton SkyGuider Pro portable tracker
- 6-inch Heliostat
- Lunt LS60T Ha solar telescope
- ZWO ASAI 533 cooled colour deep space camera
- ZWO ASI 178 colour planetary imager
- ZWO ASI 290 mono planetary imager
- Starlight Xpress Oculus All-Sky camera (Click here for live images.)
In addition, we have a selection of solar, imaging and spectroscopy filters; flatteners and other specialised equipment.
Membership & How to Join
Membership of the Astronomy Section runs from January 1st for a year and costs £15.50, to join please complete and return this leaflet . In addition, you must also be a member of La Société Guernesiaise, to join the LSG. Members receive Bulletins throughout the year giving details of upcoming activities Example , and an annual Sagittarius Newsletter with astronomical information for the coming year 2024 .
Astronomy Section contacts
Sections of La Société Guernesiaise are led by Section Secretaries, the Astronomy Section Secretary is supported by a Committee, the Officers of which are:
|Jean M Dean
|Stephanie Le Tissier
|Website & IT