If you don’t see the answer to your question below, please feel free to contact us.
- I would like to buy a telescope for myself or as a gift, but I don’t know where to start?
Please download our free telescope guide which covers telescope basics and provides suggestions for different types of use across a range of budgets. A telescope can be an expensive purchase, and we’d strongly recommend joining an astronomical society first so that you can ‘try before you buy’.
- I have a telescope but I don’t know how to use it, can I pay you to help me set it up or provide lessons?
We don’t provide individual lessons. We run an annual ‘telescope help’ session in January which is open to the public; bring your telescope along and we’ll do our best to help. Please see our events page for details. Our stargazing events are usually too busy for us to be able to assist you. We’d strongly recommend joining NEAS as you’ll quickly learn the ropes from other friendly members at our weekly club night.
- I have a telescope I’d like to sell, will you buy it or advertise it to your members?
We don’t advertise equipment for sale to our members, and generally don’t buy used equipment from the public. We cannot advise you on pricing equipment for sale. UK Astronomy Buy & Sell is a good place to advertise used equipment for free and the ‘sold’ ads will give you an idea of current prices.
- I have a telescope that I no longer use and would like to donate, would you be interested?
Please contact us with details of any unwanted items, as we may be able to use them for our outreach events or for loan to newer members.
- I’m thinking about becoming a member, can I see what your observatory is like before deciding?
Access to our observatory is for members only for insurance and security reasons. We’d recommend coming along to one of our public lectures or stargazing events to speak to us if you are unsure about joining. Our observatory has a variety of telescopes, an outdoor observing area and limited indoor space including a lavatory and tea-making facilities. To set your expectations, it is a building in an agricultural field rather than a NASA facility!
- Is membership suitable for children?
There is no age limit on becoming a member of NEAS; we have junior and family memberships available and we welcome children at our public events and (age-appropriate) members-only events provided they are supervised by an adult. We’d strongly advise bringing your children to at least one of our public stargazing events to gauge their level of interest before joining. Whilst it very much depends on the child, younger children are unlikely to find the observatory a fun playground.
- Do you cater for people with disabilities?
We do our best to be a friendly and welcoming society for everyone. Our Abberton Reservoir, Great Notley and Public Lecture pages contain specific disability access information, and our Members-Only events page contains access information about our Observatory.
Members with limited mobility may find it difficult or impossible to access our Observatory dome due to six narrow steps. The outside observing area can be accessed directly from the field if your mobility aids are able to cross it. We can usually arrange for members with limited mobility to park in the field directly adjacent to the observatory, though on occasions this may not be possible if the ground conditions or operational needs of the farm prevent it.
Many people with limited mobility can observe through our portable telescopes, although it may be difficult or impossible for some. We have a portable camera and viewing screen which can be used in these circumstances. If you would like to discuss your specific needs please do not hesitate to contact us.
Outreach & Events
- Can you run an event for my school, cubs/scout/brownies/guides or other organisation?
We run many evening events for schools, community and volunteer organisations each year. Please see our Outreach page for more information. We also run solar gazing stands at country fairs and similar public events. If you would be interested in having us attend such an event, please contact us for more information.
- I’m a member of the media, can you assist me?
We have members who can comment knowledgeably on spaceflight and astronomical news items, as well as providing general information on astronomy and space. Our members have appeared on television, radio and can provide quotes or more detailed commentary for newspapers, magazines and journalistic web sites.
Please contact us for assistance; we will do our best to respond quickly as we know you often have tight deadlines to meet, but please bear in mind we are volunteers with day jobs.
- I am reporting on a UFO sighting, will you comment?
We are more than happy to comment on genuine atmospheric, astronomical and spaceflight phenomena where you can provide sufficient information for us to identify the cause and provide a rational, scientific explanation. We do not comment on ‘Flying Saucer’, ‘Alien Encounter’ or ‘Flat Earth’ or similar pieces where you intend present pseudo-scientific nonsense and genuine science as having equal weight or validity. Whilst we appreciate your job is to fill column inches and increase your readership, our job is to educate and inform the public based on facts and well-founded scientific theories.