The Royal Astronomical Society is a learned society that began as the Astronomical Society of London in 1820 to support astronomical research. It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving its Royal Charter from William IV, a Supplemental Charter in 1915 opened up the fellowship to women. Meetings are held in Burlington House, in Piccadilly, London and they are involved in the production of astronomical journals and periodicals. The society has over 3000 members, around a third of whom live outside the UK, in addition, those members of the public who have an interest in astronomy and geophysics and wish to support the work of the society may become Friends of the RAS. One of the activities of the RAS is publishing refereed journals. It publishes two primary research journals, the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in astronomy and the Geophysical Journal International in geophysics and it also publishes the magazine A&G which includes reviews and other articles of wide scientific interest in a glossy format. Fellowship is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is considered acceptable to the society, as a result of the societys foundation in a time before there were many professional astronomers, no formal qualifications are required. However, around three quarters of fellows are professional astronomers or geophysicists, the society acts as the professional body for astronomers and geophysicists in the UK and fellows may apply for the Science Councils Chartered Scientist status through the society. The fellowship passed 3,000 in 2003, in 2009 an initiative was launched for those with an interest in astronomy and geophysics but without professional qualifications or specialist knowledge in the subject. Such people may join the Friends of the RAS, which offers popular talks, visits, ordinary meetings featuring lectures about research topics in astronomy and geophysics are normally held in Burlington House in London on the second Friday of every month from October through to May. Reports of the meetings appear in The Observatory magazine, scientific discussion meetings about particular research topics are held on the day of the ordinary meetings. These allow several speakers to present new research results and experts to present reviews of scientific fields, discussion meetings on two different topics within astronomy and geophysics frequently take place in parallel at different locations within Burlington House. The Society occasionally hosts meetings in other parts of the United Kingdom, the Society also sponsors the National Astronomy Meeting, a week-long general conference of professional astronomers, normally held each spring at a university campus in the United Kingdom. The Society holds occasional lunchtime public lectures in Central London aimed at a general, non-specialist, the Royal Astronomical Society has a more comprehensive collection of books and journals in astronomy and geophysics than the libraries of most universities and research institutions. The library receives some 300 current periodicals in astronomy and geophysics and its collection of astronomical rare books is second only to that of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh in the UK. The RAS library is a resource not just for the society but also the wider community of astronomers, geophysicists. The society promotes astronomy to members of the public through their outreach pages for students, teachers. The RAS has a role in relation to UK public examinations, such as GCSEs
Image: Entrance to the Royal Astronomical Society 3
The Royal Astronomical Society at the University of London History Day, 2016.