Richmond Astronomical Society

About RAS

The Richmond Astronomical Society is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational organization founded in 1949.  We are dedicated to providing experiences for our members and the public that are designed to expand understanding and awareness of astronomy and space science.

The Society supports a number of outreach events in the Richmond area.  Our volunteers lend their expertise and provide their telescopes for the public to view the night sky on the third Friday of each month at the Science Museum of Virginia.  We also host skywatches in conjunction with other organizations in the area and host periodic observing sessions for our members.  On the second Tuesday of each month, we gather at the Science Museum to discuss our latest astronomical adventures and to hear presentations on a wide range of topics related to astronomy.

The Richmond Astronomical Society is a member of the Astronomical League, the Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies and NASA Night Sky Network.

Live Video of the Richmond Astronomical Society Meetings
(archived videos are at this link)

Video clips at Ustream

When and Where

Meetings of the Richmond Astronomical Society begin at 7:30 PM on the second Tuesday of each month at Science Museum of Virginia. This museum is located at 2500 West Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia and can be reached via I-95 or I-64.

Main Part of Meeting

Normally the first order of business is for the members to relate any news they have seen on an astronomical subject and explain anything they have brought in for society’s attention. After this there are reports on various activities, such as the last Sky Watch, the status of the observatory, and astronomical events expected in the next month.

This is usually followed by a “Ten Minute Talk”, which is a short presentation given by a club member. This can be on any subject, but usually relates to a project the presenter in working on. The short talk is followed by a 15 to 20 minute break for general discussion.

There is a handbook for members that is available online by emailing our librarian, Virginia Eckert,
at virginiaeckert at comcast.net , explaining RAS monthly meetings, board, Skywatch, RAS observing sites and other information.

Program of the Month

A feature of Richmond Astronomical Society meetings is the Program of the Month. This occurs after the mid-meeting break. It usually lasts for about an hour and can be on any subject the presenter thinks will be interesting. Past topics have ranged from How to Keep Warm While Observing in the Winter, to How We Determine the Age of the Universe. On occasion the presenters have shown videos or invited in guest speakers. Members of the Board of Directors are responsible for the presentations, and usually give them, but any member of the society can give a presentation.

Programs of the Month since 1978, covering most programs of the month since that time, can be obtained by clicking the word “search“.

The meeting adjourns between 9:45 and 10:00. The Board of Directors try, as much as possible, to conduct the non-astronomical business of the society at their quarterly meetings, which every member is invited to attend.

To Become a Member

Talk to any board member during an RAS activity, such as a regular meeting. The dues per year are $30. To operate the Ragland telescope, you need to be trained in it and become a staff member; if you are a staff member, that is an extra $10. In addition, members can receive discounts in subscribing to Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines. To apply for membership, renew membership, or subscribe to the magazines, go to the Payments Page.