Welcome to RAS200!

RAS200 - celebrating 200 years of the Royal Astronomical Society

In 2020 the Royal Astronomical Society will be 200 years old.

To celebrate our bicentennial, the Society has established an Outreach and Engagement Fund of £1,000,000 to support astronomy and geophysics projects that create a real buzz about science – understanding, discussion and dialogue – in diverse sections of the community. This money has now been allocated to 12 extraordinary projects from varied, innovative and inspiring partners.

To find out how the winners are getting on, or how you can get involved, read on! Don’t forget to check the Events calendar to see what is going on and which events you can attend or participate in. Have a look at our pages to see how you can get involved – we need you!

RAS200 presents: Girlguiding


Brownie looking through a telescope
Brownie looking through a telescope

To celebrate our bicentennial, the Society established an Outreach and Engagement Fund of £1,000,000 to support astronomy and geophysics projects that create a real buzz about science – understanding, discussion and dialogue – in diverse sections of the community.

The 200th anniversary team have made 6 short films about 6 of the 12 projects, and you are invited to view the special premieres once per month from July until the end of the year!

Each premiere will be accompanied by a short Q&A with the project team, and a chance for you to ask questions about these incredible projects.

The first premiere will be about the Girlguiding Brownie Space Badge on Thursday 30th July 2020, then one more film will be released once per month until December.

Here is the link to watch the first premiere, releasing at 12pm on the 30th July 2020.

In the meantime, you can watch the introductory video with Prof Steve Miller here.

2020 is here!

For the last 5 years the RAS200 steering group, staff and project partners have been working hard towards 2020 to celebrate our bicentenary. Can you believe it is finally here?

This year there will be many exciting events showcasing the wonderful RAS200 projects, from screenings of The Planets 360 in Hawaii, to a bespoke concert in Galway, various Girlguiding adventures and stargazing off the coast of Scotland with Care 4 Carers.

The end of 2019 was equally fun, with a space theme winter fayre at Bounce Back HQ in London, called a “Festive Constellation”.  The offices were transformed into different areas to include a Knowledge Room, Fun Lab, ‘Ask an astronomer’ and Space Café. The rooms were buzzing with inquisitive minds as people came to learn, engage and interact with astronomy and the universe. There was also a taste testing experiment and a chance to taste the foods that astronauts eat in space !

Space sleepovers!

180 Rainbows, Brownies, Girlguides and Rangers had a cosmic sleepover at the National Space Centre in Leicester this spring, combining the musem and planetarium shows with exploding rockets and space-themed cakes.

The RAS has developed a space interest badge for Girlguiding, as part of the RAS 200 projects to develop innovative outreach to celebrate the Society’s bicentenary in 2020. This trip, for girls aged 5–18 from Girlguiding Ribble Valley, drew together space with other themes such as women in STEM.

Betty, age 9, from St James Brownies said: “It was amazing, I’ve never been on a trip like it. The planetarium activities were fascinating and I learnt so much.”

The full article can be found here.

The PDF can be found here.

The RAS200 Girlguiding Brownie badge

The RAS has invested in a new Brownie badge about space – find out what one Brownie thinks about it.

Many people bitten by the space bug start their interests young – and what better way to encourage them to develop that interest than a badge to recognise their efforts.

Sheila Kanani asked one Brownie who has taken the badge what she thinks about it. The news is good: Jessica loved it!

“I thought earning a space badge would be awesome,” she said. “I liked learning about space because of all the colours in the galaxies and the planets.” She also enjoyed a trip to a planetarium and, especially, finding out about Mars and the robots exploring its surface.

The full article can be found here.

The PDF version is available here.

Coll and the Cosmos

A beautiful logo created by Paul Middleton, from a booklet made to celebrate a Care for Carers trip to the Isle of Coll – a tangible indication of the effectiveness of one of the RAS200 outreach projects.

Read the full article here.

Multilingual logos!

Seeing as RAS200 is an international endeavour we thought we should have the logo in as many different languages as possible. Here it is in English, Gaelic, Cornish and Welsh. Can you tell which is which?

Download the RAS200 logos and use them where ever you are!

Sharing Sky and Earth


RAS 200: Sky & Earth is an outreach programme that is considerably more than the sum of its parts. And the next step, reports Sue Bowler, is for more RAS Fellows to get involved.

In September 2018, representatives of most of the partner organizations being funded by RAS200 came to Burlington House to meet each other and members of the RAS 200 committee and staff.

Steve Miller, RAS 200 chair, congratulated the new partner organizations from the second tranche of funding: Bounce Back; National University of Ireland, Galway; Girlguiding; and Truro High School. “It was a very competitive process,” he said “and the winners are all fantastic projects.”

And they are already making a difference. “I’ve been lucky enough to work with groups from the Prince’s Trust,” said RAS Education, Outreach and Diversity Officer Sheila Kanani. “The effect that the RAS 200 projects are having on their lives is profound. I know we’re not changing the world on a grand scale, but I do think we’re changing lives.”

One aim of this meeting was to reinforce the RAS 200 community, and build links between projects and with RAS Fellows. “I’m keeping a wish-list of Fellows and skills wanted, so do let me know what you need,” said Kanani to the RAS 200 group representatives. “But do also be proactive and think about what your local universities could do for you. Bounce Back is already approaching London universities and we have Fellows all over the country who could help.”

The full article can be found here.

The PDF can be found here.

Care4Carers goes from strength to strength

Sue Bowler talks to the Care for Carers team about the surprising benefits that are coming out of their RAS 200 project.

Since 2015, Care for Carers, a small Edinburgh-based charity, has used astronomy to support local carers, with RAS 200 support. Its innovative approach to outreach has begun to pay dividends – and reveal unexpected outcomes.

“We at the RAS feel that Care for Carers is blazing a trail that is incredibly important for the health and well-being of these hard-worked people,” says Steve Miller, chair of the RAS 200 Steering Group. “But we are also very pleased that the RAS support is enabling Care for Carers to raise even more funding. It was always the aim of RAS 200 that our partners would be able to use our support to leverage even more. That way, more people can be reached and helped and the legacy of the project will be that much greater.”

The PDF can be found here.

The full article can be found here.

South African Big Data

Sue Bowler reports on how an RAS 200 grant aims to link the world- class astronomical infrastructure taking shape in South Africa to the country’s schools, society and future economy.

The full article can be found here.

The PDF can be found here.