Back to Home
Science Projects
There are opportunities to join the team. Please check ABOUT US section of this website.
read more » 18th Feb 2017 16:50
Exciting programme of Events & Activities now in place for the 2017 season
read more » 27th Jan 2017 15:18
Exciting programme in place for the October mid-term. Join us for science and astronomy edutainment.
read more » 21st Oct 2016 17:53
The Observatory Science Centre
Herstmonceux
Hailsham
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Tel: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741

Email Us

Open Evenings

OPEN EVENINGS ARE USUALLY HELD ON SATURDAY EVENINGS STARTING AT 6.30PM AND FINISHING AT 11PM (UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED IN THE LIST BELOW)

USUAL ADMISSION PRICE APPLIES APART FROM THE ASTRONOMY FESTIVAL. 
Are you interested in the night sky?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look at the stars, planets and the moon through some of the country's largest telescopes?  Well here is your opportunity!  Come and join us on our open evenings and take a glimpse of what it would have been like to use these amazing instruments. Open evenings will be held on selected Saturdays during winter, spring and autumn (unless otherwise stated). Scroll down below the photographs and click on the date in the table for further details of the evening and what you are likely to see through the telescopes.

Viewing is subject to weather conditions. If you are specifically coming just to look through the telescopes then please check the local weather before embarking on a long journey. We still open for the evening and plan a cloudy night contingency talk which is usually a planetarium show in our large white geodesic tent - if there are enough people in the Centre.

Please note that some of the telescopes used on open evenings are not available to the public during the day and are only accessible by narrow steep stairs - if you have mobility issues please contact the centre for further details if required. See Access below. The Centre is also unsuitable for prams and pushchairs during Open Evenings.

WARNING! Our site is very dark and we keep lighting to a minimum to preserve night vision and make sure you have the best possible experience in terms of viewing the night sky. This inevitably means that there are areas that are dimly lit or very dark. With high walkways, ramps and steps throughout the Centre you need to take great care when moving around. PLEASE BRING A TORCH and wear sensible footwear. However, we strongly encourage people not to use white light torches especially in the domes as this destroys night vision, therefore we would ask you to use red light torches if you have one (red light torches can be purchased in our shop). We also recommend warm clothing.

PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT bring laser pointers into The Centre. Our staff and volunteers do use laser pointers as teaching aids but they adhere to strict rules and regulations about their use within The Centre and therefore they are controlled. Laser pointers can be dangerous especially if misused.
CURRENT MOON

Access

While the Centre makes every effort to accomodate wheel chair users and others with mobility issues, by virtue of the nature of the building (grade II* listed), the telescopes are accessed by steep narrow stairs. If you require further information please do not hesitate to get in touch. Please also note that the telescope domes are not suitable for prams/push chairs as there is limited space available. Therefore Open Evenings are not recommended for very young children requiring prams/push chairs.
Normal admission price applies unless otherwise stated

Please note that Open Evenings are run as separate events to a daytime visit and therefore your daytime receipt is NOT valid for the evening and you are unable to stay in The Centre. However, if you have visited during the day when there is an Open Evening and you would like to return for the evening session then we are offering a special discounted rate of just £5 per person (only valid on production of a receipt purchased on the same day).

Times: 6.30pm - 11pm (unless otherwise stated)

NO PRE-BOOKING REQUIRED FOR OPEN EVENINGS


2017 Open Evenings

21st January  SPECIAL OFFER! £5 admission to welcome in New Year
4th February  Regular Open Evening
17th & 18th February  DARK SKIES DISCOVERY FESTIVAL: Friday & Saturday
25th February   DARK SKIES DISCOVERY FESTIVALAdults ONLY
4th March   Regular Open Evening
18th March   Regular Open Evening
1st April   Regular Open Evening: 8pm - 12.30am
6th May   ETA AQUARIDS METEOR SHOWER: 8pm - 12.30am
19th May   MUSEUMS AT NIGHT: Friday 8pm - 12.30am
17th June   ADULTS ONLY MUSIC & BAR: 7pm - 12.30am
11th August   PERSEIDS METEOR SHOWER: Friday 8pm -  12.30am
1st & 2nd September   ASTRONOMY FESTIVAL: Friday and Saturday. Please note there is a different admission charge
23rd September   Regular Open Evening
7th October   DRACONIDS METEOR SHOWER
21st October  ORIONIDS METEOR SHOWER
28th October  HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR: Additional cost for optional children's activities
11th November  TAURIDS METEOR SHOWER
17th November  LEONIDS METEOR SHOWER: Friday
9th December  GEMINIDS METEOR SHOWER

* Please note that the admission price for the Astronomy Festival is different from other open evenings. See Astronomy Festival admission for further details.

Because viewing is subject to weather conditions please phone the centre in advance to check the forecast if necessary. If the weather does not permit viewing and there are no visitors in the centre before 8pm, open evenings will be cancelled.

On cloudy evenings there is usually a talk or a planetarium style presentation which takes place after about 7.30pm depending on the number of people in the Centre at the time. Please note that the cloudy night contingency presenation will only take place if the weather is unsuitable for viewing.

DARK SKIES DISCOVERY FESTIVAL

The South Downs National Park was designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2016. To celebrate they are holding a Dark Skies Festival over two weeks in February with star parties, talks, observations and other family activities. These activities are taking place all over the South Downs in various locations and we are going to be joining in their celebrations by holding our own Open Evenings during the fortnight. For more information visit their website. 

You may also be interested in the following themed evening events in 2017

PRE-BOOKING ESSENTIAL FOR SPECIAL EVENTS

8th April   Special Event: 'Science of Beer'
20th May  Special Event: 'A Reason to Murder'
1st July  Special Event: 'Soundscape'
12th August  Special Event: 'Perseids Shooting Star'
18th November    Special Event: 'Comets and Curry'
1st December  Special Event: '50th Anniversary of the INT'
2nd December  Special Event: 'Christmas Songs by Starlight'                                                  
OPEN EVENING 25th February
On Saturday the 25th February The Centre will re-open again for the evening at 6.30pm but this one is FOR ADULTS ONLY. This Open Evening is also being held to help celebrate the designation of the South Downs National Park as an International Dark Sky Reserve. Come and explore the Centre at night - it is a different atmosphere entirely and with no Moon it will truly be a dark site! All the indoor hands-on interactive exhibits will be available and without any children present there will be a great chance to get in touch with your inner child and really explore. If the weather is good there is the added bonus of being able to look through some of the country's largest telescopes at some fabulous night sky objects including Venus, Mars and the Orion Nebula. If the weather is not very good and you are not able to look through the telescopes don't worry, if there are enough visitors in The Centre we will have a fascinating planetarium style show for you which will walk you through the wonders of the night sky showing you objects you wouldn't ordinarily see. Normal admission price applies but if you are visiting during the day and would like to return for the evening, then take advantage of our special offer of just £5 per person (only valid with a receipt purchased during the day on the 25th February). Alongside the historic telescopes there will be the smaller telescopes of local amateur astronomers.
Find Out More
OPEN EVENING 4th March
On Saturday the 4th March The Centre will re-open again for the evening at 6.30pm. Come and explore the Centre at night - it is a different atmosphere entirely. All the indoor hands-on interactive exhibits will be available and if the weather is good there is the added bonus of being able to look through some of the country's largest telescopes at some fabulous night sky objects including Venus, Mars and the Orion Nebula. The Moon will also be high in the sky when the Centre opens and being 1 day before first quarter it is a great time to look at this magnificent object. If the weather is not very good and you are not able to look through the telescopes don't worry, if there are enough visitors in The Centre we will have a fascinating planetarium style show for you which will walk you through the wonders of the night sky showing you objects you wouldn't ordinarily see. Normal admission price applies but if you are visiting during the day and would like to return for the evening, then take advantage of our special offer of just £5 per person (only valid with a receipt purchased during the day of the 4th March). Alongside the historic telescopes there will be the smaller telescopes of local amateur astronomers.
Find Out More