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Closing date 12th January 2017. There are opportunities to join the team. Please check ABOUT US sect...
read more » 17th Nov 2016 16:50
Exciting programme in place for the October mid-term. Join us for science and astronomy edutainment.
read more » 21st Oct 2016 17:53
Exciting summer programme of Events & Activities .. Check our calendar for details!
read more » 10th Jul 2016 09:24
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 February  DARK SKIES DISCOVERY FESTIVAL: Friday
18th February   DARK SKIES DISCOVERY FESTIVAL: Saturday 
25th February   DARK SKIES DISCOVERY FESTIVAL: Adults 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.


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

PRE-BOOKING ESSENTIAL FOR SPECIAL EVENTS

22nd May   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'                                                  
Further Astronomy Course
Starting on the 1st February 2017 this six week course is designed for more advanced students. While building on the foundation provided by the introductory course you do not need to have completed this course to take part but a basic understanding of astronomy is assumed. The aim of the course is to provide a good overview of modern astronomy and astrophysics. It will discuss how modern science is applied to developing our understanding of a wide range of astronomical objects and other, more exotic astrophysical phenomena, and how these fit together into processes currently believed to be operating in the Universe. There are limited spaces available so book early to avoid disappointment.
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OPEN EVENING 4th February
On the 4th February 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 Moon. If you are not able to look through the telescopes don't worry, 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 on the 4th February 2017). Alongside the historic telescopes there will be the smaller telescopes of local amateur astronomers.
Find Out More