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The aims of the Society

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS:

  • Organizes scientific meetings in Burlington House, its London HQ, and throughout the country
  • Publishes international research and review journals
  • Recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes
  • Maintains an extensive library
  • Supports education through grants and outreach activities
  • Represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally



Its more than 3500 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories, as well as historians of astronomy and others. Its central London premises are available for use by its Fellows and others.



The Society is located at Burlington House, Piccadilly, which was developed by the government in the 19th century as a meeting place for the arts and sciences. It shares the Courtyard with:

Together the societies sponsor a series of Burlington House Public Lectures.


Promoting science

The Royal Astronomical Society promotes the study of its sciences by means of:


Annual Report

Council produces annual reports, which approved at the Society's Annual General Meetings. 



Membership (styled Fellowship) consists of primarily professional astronomers and geophysicists, based in the UK and elsewhere, with a significant number of students, advanced amateur astronomers, and others with an interest in the geo- and astro-sciences.

Fellowship is open to any person over the age of 18 whose application is acceptable to the Society.

Find details of benefits, fees and how to join here.