Cambridge Astronomical Association
Cambridge Young Astronomers


About the CYA

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7 - 11 year old Meetings

Held in the foyer of the Hoyle Building, at the Institute of Astronomy (IoA) Madingley Road, Cambridge.
Meetings are from 10.00 am - 12.00 am on the last Saturday of every month.
There are two exceptions - the Autumn trip which is a coach outing to an astronomical place of interest and the December Meeting (with a star studded Pantomime).
Please see the CYA Meetings page for confirmation of dates.

There is a theme to the morning, for example: galaxies, ancient astronomy, peculiar stars, death of the dinosaurs etc. Our aim is to make astronomy fun.


When the youngsters arrive they are given a name label with a number on (to be used in a draw later on). Non-members are relieved of 1.

The 8 minute sessions

The first 50 minutes to an hour are taken up with the children sitting at tables (for 8 minutes at a time) in small groups, while the tutors tell something about the topic, show a demonstration or play a game. After this the children move onto the next table and the adult repeats the mini talk (demo or whatever) to the next group. This carries on until the youngsters have visited all the tables (usually 6). We find working in small groups we can give attention to all - even the shy.

Saturday Cinema

After a short break for a drink and a biscuit or two, it is into the lecture theatre for 25 - 35 minutes. This gives us an opportunity to tidy up and prepare for the activities. The film is generally stopped at a 'cliffhanger' - much to the disgust of the children - to be continued next month.

Activity session

This is a more relaxed session than the first, making something connected with the theme of the day. So for the last half hour, there's gluing , sticking, colouring etc. Just before 12 o'clock we hold the draw for a few small prizes.


We run an unsupervised "grown-ups creche" where children can deposit their parents, if they have to stay. Parents - please bring your own entertainment!! We welcome volunteers to help with anything from getting involved with activity sessions to making the drinks (especially for those who have given their talks 6 or 7 times!).


Once a year we organize a trip to somewhere astronomical. Sometimes it is aimed just at the older CAA members, but on other occasions, both the CYA and the older members join forces for a day out, such as to the National Space Center in Leicester, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, the Science Museum in London or an IMAX cinema visit (often combined with the Science Museum visit).

We also do star parties, visits to places of interest and other events which the Young Astronomers can attend.

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