About Us > Our Observatory
The Chiltern Observatory
Wycombe Astronomical Society has its own observatory conveniently located in the grounds of Woodrow High House. Named “The Chiltern Observatory” it was built between 1990 and 1996 by members of the Society and officially opened in May 1997 by the Society’s president, Professor Heather Couper.
Over the years it has undergone a couple of refurbishments and upgrades and now houses a "state of the art" Celestron 11 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. This permanently mounted on a concrete pier and equatorial Mega Wedge. The observatory has a computer, which can be used to drive the telescope and the dome is fully motorised.
The society’s telescope is there for members and non-members to use whenever clear skies permit. It can be used for straightforward observing or for more complex procedures such as astro-photography and digital imaging and is there for the complete beginner or experienced observers.
Several members of the society are “night operators”. They are experienced telescope users who hold a key to the observatory. They will open up the observatory and set up the telescope enabling all members to enjoy an evenings observing.
Observing takes place all year round whenever weather permits and details of when the observatory is open are posted on the society's Facebook page. Members of the society will also receive an email announcing that the observatory will be open that evening and arrangements for meeting up. If you are a member and are interested in going up to the observatory on a clear evening you can also call the observatory to see if anybody is there. The mobile number can be found on the back of your membership card and in the “members area” of this website.
The Chiltern Observatory is also available for non-members to use and we would be happy to welcome guests along to an evenings observing. We actively encourage local educational groups such as schools, scouts, guides etc. to contact us to arrange an observing evening so that we can introduce you to the wonders of the night sky.
Preferably these evenings are a hands on session in the observatory however, if the weather does not permit an observing session we are happy to provide a classroom based, slide show introduction to astronomy and the night sky. The observatory can hold approximately 6 – 8 people at a time, but we are able to accommodate larger groups outside the observatory and rotate people around. Normally on such an evening members of the society will bring their own telescopes along to allow plenty of opportunity to observe the night sky.
If your organization is interested in visiting our observatory, or you are an individual or family who would like to come along please contact us to make arrangements. We are always pleased to hear from anyone interested in astronomy and observing.