RAS was founded in London in 1820 as the Astronomical Society of London and received its royal charter from King William IV in 1831. At that time, most members were ‘gentleman astronomers’ rather than professionals. It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving a Royal Charter from William IV. A Supplemental Charter in 1915 opened up the fellowship to women.
The RAS is dedicated to the advancement of astronomy through research, education, and outreach. It publishes several scientific journals, including the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), and hosts a number of annual conferences and events. The RAS also maintains a library and museum of astronomical artifacts.
The society holds monthly scientific meetings in London, and the annual National Astronomy Meeting at varying locations in the British Isles. The RAS publishes the scientific journals Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Geophysical Journal International and RAS Techniques and Instruments, along with the trade magazine Astronomy & Geophysics.
The RAS now has over 4,000 members, known as fellows, and is the UK-adhering organization to the International Astronomical Union.
The Royal Astronomical Society has a more comprehensive collection of books and journals in astronomy and geophysics than the libraries of most universities and research institutions. The library receives some 300 current periodicals in astronomy and geophysics and contains more than 10,000 books from popular level to conference proceedings. Its collection of astronomical rare books is second only to that of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh in the UK. The RAS library is a major resource not just for the society but also the wider community of astronomers, geophysicists, and historians.
According to the Internet