EMMA DUNN catches up with a club whose band of members are always looking upwards PEOPLE who have a passion for stars and planets may enjoy being a member of Swindon Stargazers.

The group of astronomers, which formed in 2009, welcomes new members whether they’re long-term enthusiasts, novices or people who simply want to come and look through a telescope and decide whether the hobby is for them.

The group was started by Peter Struve, of Park South, who has been looking to the skies through telescopes since he was eight-years-old.

“We have so many people interested that the town is big enough to have its own astronomy club. My first view of Saturn’s rings was the ultimate ‘wow’ factor. It was absolutely stunning,” he said.

Newcomers can get started with a simple pair of binoculars for £20 or £30, although a powerful set of astronomer’s binoculars can be bought for as little as £60.

Peter said: “Most amateurs start with a cheap pair of binoculars but you can start looking with your naked eyes. It is about learning how to use your eyes. Nowadays amateurs use the same imaging equipment scientists had in the 1960s.”

The group meet every month at Liddington Village Hall for information talks.

Their next meeting is on September 19 from 7pm until 9.30pm.

Peter wasn’t the first person in his family to cast his eyes to the heavens; he comes from a dynasty of astronomers.

One ancestor, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve, was ennobled by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.

Another relative, Otto Struve, spent most of his career in America, where he founded the huge McDonald Observatory in Texas and was director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia.

 Swindon Stargazers meet once a month at Liddington Village Hall. 
Membership costs 
£18 a year. 
For more information visit www.swindonstargazers.com