The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd: a company with charitable status dedicated to the promotion of science for everyone.
As a charitable organisation, profit from Science Projects contract work is invested into the historic site at Herstmonceux to maintain the Grade II* Listed Building and expand the exhibitions.
The Centre is an interactive hands-on science centre which has been operating in the former home of The Royal Greenwich Observatory since 1995. Since opening, this unique attraction has gone from strength to strength and now offers Spectacular Science amongst the domes and telescopes of a world famous observatory.
Please contact us to discuss any aspect of your visit.
We welcome press requests. ALL images remain copyright to The Observatory Science Centre and MUST be used appropriately.
Please contact us for different images or further information.
As with most place names there is a 'correct' pronunciation amongst local people and Herstmonceux is no exception.
Herst is the Saxon name for a wooded hill, and the manor is mentioned in the Domesday Book as being part of the land belonging to the Count of Eu.
In 1131 the Count's grandson transferred the manor to Drogo de Monceux, (great grandson of William the Conqueror) who married Idonea de Monceux. Their son was known as Walleran de Herst Monceux.
To answer the question 'How do you pronounce Herstmonceux?'
This is always a difficult question.
It very much depends on where the star is and how bright it is. Many of the stars are far too faint and distant making it extremely difficult to pinpoint.
To avoid disappointment therefore we do not usually offer to locate such stars with our telescopes.
Do you offer a "star naming" service?
No we do not.
Some commercial enterprises do say that they offer such a service and will charge a fee for it. However such "names" have no formal or official validity whatsoever.
This is an excerpt from the International Astronomical Unions (IAU) website: As an international scientific organization, the IAU dissociates itself entirely from the commercial practice of "selling" fictitious star names or "real estate" on other planets or moons in the Solar System. Accordingly, the IAU maintains no list of the (several competing) enterprises in this business in individual countries of the world. For further information please visit the IAU website www.iau.org/public/buying_star_names/
Not at all.
Space telescopes fulfil a very important role but they cannot be made as large as ground based telescopes due to weight and the cost of getting them into space.
The wider the diameter of a telescope the better light gathering ability it has and the more detail it can resolve.
At the moment the largest ground based telescope is the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) at 11m diameter. Although atmospheric disturbance is not a problem encountered by space telescopes, many ground based telescopes do have a problem and atmospheric disturbance can distort the image. However, adaptive optics used with large ground based telescopes can compensate for distortion caused by the atmosphere.
While the telescopes are not being used scientifically for research purposes they are open to the public on our open evenings which are usually held during the Autumn, Winter and Spring with one or two exceptions in the summer.
They are also open on our special themed evening events which take place throughout the year.
You can also hire the centre for private evening group visits when you may get the opportunity to use the telescopes (weather permitting).
Twilight educational visits or scouting and guiding group visits can also be arranged.
No, because if you catch the Sun it will blind you.....
Also daylight swamps the light coming from celestial objects making them almost impossible to see.
Not quite, Herstmonceux is 0.320 E of the Greenwich Meridian.
No. This is an empty building and does not have any public access.
The Centre is located within the estate of Herstmonceux Gardens and Grounds but is a separate business.
It is possible to purchase Joint entry tickets to both attractions.
We have a popular Membership Scheme
We will always help our visitors wherever possible, but we do not permit entry without a valid admission ticket.
The Centre is suitable for all ages and abilities.
Due to the nature of the site all visitors should take care of the ramps /steps / pond etc and all children under 16 years of age must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times.
Children are not admitted unless accompanied by an adult.
No you don't have to book because viewing through the telescopes is always subject to weather conditions.
You do however have to book for our special themed evening events.
As an independent, educational charity and visitor admissions are our main source of income.
We will always admit carers free of charge to a maximum 1-1 ratio (Blue Badge, benefit Award Letter or similar required). We also offer family and group rate tickets but are unable to offer discounts for students or the unemployed.
We have a Membership Scheme which offers fantastic value for year round admission.
It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of The Observatory Science Centre from 18th March 2020 until further notice.
This decision was made in the light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and recent UK government advice, which our charity has been carefully monitoring and following.
The safety and wellbeing of our visitors, staff and volunteers is our absolute priority during this difficult time.
Given the uncertainty we are all facing, we don’t yet know when we will re-open. If you have booked group visits / upcoming events etc. we will be in contact when we return to work.
We sincerely wish good health for you and your families during these uncertain times and we can’t wait to welcome you back as we continue our 25th anniversary celebrations.
The Observatory Science Centre team
Thank you for your cooperation, understanding and support.