Welcome to ORAS! Welcome to the night sky.
Welcome to the Oil Region Astronomical Society.
We invite you to join us in admiring the majesty of the night sky of northwest Pennsylvania. We, too, are captivated by the mysteries of the heavens.
ORAS is a group of amateur astronomers who are passionate about the stars, the planets, and space in general. ORAS welcomes all individuals who gaze at the night sky in wonder and amazement.
We enjoy sharing our knowledge, experience, and facilities with others, from beginners with a casual interest to professional astronomers. Browse our website! We have information that is useful to astronomers of all experience levels. Please plan to visit us. All are welcome here.
We're on a mission
It is the mission of the Oil Region Astronomical Society to educate and inspire learners of all ages about the wonders of the universe.
Who we are
Astronomy is a subject that inspires passion. In 1991, that passion brought together a group of amateur astronomers who formed an organization in Venango County, Pennsylvania. Built upon their common interest, that organization has since grown into ORAS, the Oil Region Astronomical Society, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
ORAS members harness their passion for astronomy to accomplish amazing things. In addition to enjoying the wonders of the night sky, ORAS members share their knowledge with others. We built the Oil Region Astronomy Learning Center to further astronomy education for the ORAS members and for the surrounding communities. We also organize public outreach programs to share and spread knowledge of astronomy throughout northwest Pennsylvania.
Visit our About ORAS page to learn more about our organization.
Our place on Earth
ORAS has its own place on Earth: ORALC - The Oil Region Astronomy Learning Center. ORALC is a highly-versatile facility that encompasses the Bruce M. Bedow Memorial Observatory, the David L. Jones Activity Building, and an observing field. It is the culmination of many years of hard work by ORAS members and was made possible by much generosity from members of the surrounding communities. ORALC includes several impressive telescopes from which observations of the night sky are shared with visitors. Members also conduct educational activities in the Activity Building. The observing field provides a great location for viewing the night sky.
ORAS Events and Outreach
ORAS members share their passion for astronomy. We sponsor a number of events and outreach programs that provide the opportunity for ORAS members to interact with our community to provide education about astronomy. We offer evenings of observing at ORALC and informative meetings with guest speakers. Once per year, we host a multi-day astronomy event known as AstroBlast. If you are interested in astronomy, our events and outreach programs are an ideal way to boost your knowledge of astronomy.
Please visit our Events and Outreach page to learn more about our schedule of events.
Information for You
Just beginning in astronomy? Make your first step a visit to our Beginners page for suggestions on getting your study underway.
Our Resources page has a wealth of information about astronomy. We reviewed many references available in print and online and present the ones that ORAS members find to be most useful. In addition, we provide links to news about current events in astronomy on our Astro News page, and we provide links to Tools helpful for observing.
If you already have some experience with observing, challenge yourself by pursuing an observing certificate. See our Certificates page for details.
ORAS member have many talents and contribute much to the astronomy community. Our Members page is dedicated to sharing and highlighting the talents of our members.
Become a Member
We want you to be a member of ORAS. Join ORAS and enjoy the benefits of membership. ORAS offers memberships at several levels.
As an ORAS member, you receive access to the ORALC site, access to the telescopes at ORALC, and membership in the Astronomical League https://www.astroleague.org. Please visit our Join ORAS page for a membership application and for information on dues.
Help Support our Mission
Support ORAS through a contribution
ORAS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and we welcome your contributions to support our mission of educating and inspiring learners of all ages about the wonders of the universe. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. You may provide a donation directly via PayPal.
If you would like to make another form of contribution, please reach out to us using the contact information listed below and also listed on our About ORAS page.
Support ORAS through Amazon Smile
ORAS is an authorized recipient of Amazon Smile donations. When you shop at Amazon via the smile.amazon.com portal, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases at no cost to you. Here's how to set up an Amazon Smile account:
1) Go to smile.amazon.com https://smile.amazon.com/. Click on "get started."
2) In the search box, enter Oil Region Astronomical Society Inc. as the charity you wish to benefit. You must include the "Inc." at the end. Then click on "select." From then on, you can benefit ORAS with every Amazon Smile purchase. You only have to select your charity once.
3) In the search window at the top of the screen, type in the name of the merchant and/or product you'd like to buy (e.g., TeleVue Barlow lens). You will then be routed to one or more product descriptions that will allow you to complete your purchase.
4) You’re now set up to shop while supporting ORAS. Just remember to start every Amazon purchase at smile.amazon.com. We hope your purchases will become a continuing source of income for ORAS!
Oil Region Astronomical Society
P.O. Box 1535
Oil City, PA 16301