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About the East Midlands Stargazers

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About the East Midlands Stargazers

Welcome to the East Midlands Stargazers astronomy website, a non-profit online astronomy community.

East Midlands Stargazers is a community of amateur astronomers from all over the East Midlands. We've got members from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, so meeting other astronomers who are local to you is really easy. By being a member of our community you'll be able to socialise with people who share a common interest, astronomy, learn more about astronomy by asking questions in the forum and help others by sharing your own knowledge and experience. East Midlands Stargazers is built upon strong friendships and participation.

Many of our members are already members of astronomical societies based in the East Midlands, such as the Derby & District Astronomical Society, the Ilkeston District Astronomical Society, the Leicester Astronomical Society, the East Lincolnshire Astronomy Club and the Nottingham Astronomical Society. It doesn't matter if you're part of a society already, everybody is welcome to use our forums. We've given these societies a forum of their own on these very boards to help you find them!

We've got two dedicated dark sites for imaging and observing, which are available for use by our "Dark Site Members" all year round. One of these dark sites is between Nottingham and Leicester, at Wymeswold, and the other is near Belper. Both dark sites provide great dark skies away from the bulk of the light pollution and they both have excellent facilities, used during meetings for making hot drinks and taking comfort breaks.

You can read about our observations in the reports section of our board. These are informal, but are still a great record of the things we've observed.

History of the East Midlands Stargazers

East Midlands Stargazers began in July 2010 when two members, Doc and Cosmic Dave, decided to do something for the local astronomy community. Glider was the first member to join East Midlands Stargazers when he met Doc at the Plank & Leggit pub in Long Eaton, where a great many details were discussed. It was agreed at that Glider would take on the role of treasurer due to his experience in helping to run other small clubs. Glider was key in securing the first of our two original dark sites at Sawley, which we no longer use. Belper Cricket Club would soon follow, which is also no longer used. We later began using the cricket club at Wymeswold when the Sawley site closed and a camping site near Belper. These two dark sites are both used regularly by the community today and both offer great dark skies.


In late 2011 it was decided that we needed a home of our own. After some deliberation with our most active members and a lot of work, the East Midlands Stargazers website was launched. The website has quickly become a hub of communication between members, with beginners coming to ask questions, with imagers sharing their creations, and with our observing and imaging sessions being arranged online. Most of our meetings often include tea, biscuits and cakes too!

Turning such an idea into a fast growing community needed a lot of time and dedication from the staff of EMS. It's thanks to their hard work early on, the friendliness of our members and, last but not least, a helping hand from the Stargazers Lounge, that the East Midlands Stargazers grew to what it is today.

Today, East Midlands Stargazers continues to provide a forum for the discussion of astronomy and a social platform on which astronomers in the East Midlands, from all walks of life, can meet to discuss astronomy, socialise, observe and image.

East Midlands Stargazers Star Party

Since 2011 we've held a few star parties in Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire, starting with EMS1. Members from as far as Scotland made the journey for a weekend of observing, imaging and good social fun. In 2012 we decided to hire a speaker for EMS2. Paul Money, a well known astronomer associated with the Sky at Night Magazine, joined us on the second night. Paul gave a brilliant talk and joined us afterwards for some observing. For EMS3 we stepped up the game with two speakers, Paul Money from the Sky at Night Magazine and Dr Paul Abel from the BBC's Sky at Night. We were thrilled to have two highly regarded astronomy figures join us!

Joining the East Midlands Stargazers

If you haven't already done so, you can create an account on the forum and then post a 'hello' message in our welcome area. You're sure to be made to feel very welcome! There are no requirements to meet to join the forum, except a passion for astronomy and a desire to join in the fun.

Becoming a Dark Site Member

Firstly it must be emphasised that the East Midlands Stargazers forum is free. There are no charges for joining or using the forum, it will remain free forever.

The only money that ever gets exchanged between the East Midlands Stargazers and our members is for our Dark Site Membership. A Dark Site Member simply means a member has contributed to the upkeep of the East Midlands Stargazers dark sites, in return gaining the use of our dark sites at Belper and Wymeswold. Each year all of our Dark Site Members contribute £20 to the kitty which we then use to pay for both dark sites, public liability insurance and for speakers at events (such as Paul Money who joined us at EMS2!).

All new members to East Midlands Stargazers who might be interested in becoming a Dark Site Member are welcome to visit us at one of our dark sites to see if they like us and the location. This first visit is free and is a great way to get to know our members better before taking the plunge into becoming a Dark Site Member. There are two ways to pay the yearly contribution, either in person to Sheila (our current treasurer who took over the role from Kim) or via the forum using the Dark Site Membership link at the top.

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