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The Observatory Science Centre
Herstmonceux
Hailsham
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Tel: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741

Email Us

Open Evenings

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


2016 Open Evenings

23rd January    Open Evening: £5 special offer to welcome in the New Year         
6th February         Normal Open Evening
20th February  Normal Open Evening
5th March  Normal Open Evening
19th March  Normal Open Evening
 2nd April  Open Evening 8pm - 12.30am
13th May  Friday evening for 'Museums at Night' 8pm - 12.30am
21st May  'Blue Moon' Adults ONLY 8pm - 12.30am
12th August  Friday Evening for the 'Perseids Meteor Shower' 8pm - 12.30am
2nd & 3rd September  Friday and Saturday Evening for the 'Annual Astronomy Festival'
24th September  Normal Open Evening
7th October  Friday for the 'Draconids Meteor Shower'
22nd October  Normal Open Evening
29th October  Open Evening for the Halloween Spooktacular
18th November  Normal Open Evening
26th November  Normal Open Evening
10th December  Open Evening for the 'Geminids Meteor Shower'

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 our planetarium show will usually take place from about 7.30pm depending on the number of people in the Centre at the time. Please note that the planetarium show will only take place if the weather is unsuitable for viewing.


You may also be interested in the following themed evening events

PRE-BOOKING ESSENTIAL FOR SPECIAL EVENTS

23rd April Science of Beer Curry Night
14th May Museums at Night Cheese and Wine evening about living on and returning from the ISS
18th June Midsummer Murder Mystery
13th August Perseids Shooting Stars
19th November          Comets and Curry
Red Light Torches
Our gift shop sells three types of red light torch, which are suitable for astronomy. The Microlight LED Keyring which retails at £7.50, the Flashlight LED Torch which retails at £11 and the head torch which retails at £25.
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. There are high walkways, ramps and steps throughout the Centre PLEASE BRING A TORCH (preferably red light) or purchase one in reception. Please also dress warmly and wear sensible footwear.