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The Observatory Science Centre

The Observatory Science Centre
Herstmonceux
Hailsham
East Sussex
BN27 1RN

Tel: 01323 832731
  • General
  • Monday 10:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
  • Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
  • Friday 10:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
  • Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
  • The Observatory Science Centre

Meet the Team

Frequently Asked Questions

  • + How do you pronounce Herstmonceux?

    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?'

    • Herst as in 'first'
    • Mon as in 'monsoon'
    • Ceux as in 'zoo'

    'Hirstmonzoo'

  • + I’ve had a star named after me! Can I see it through a telescope?

    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/ 

  • + Has the Hubble telescope made earthbound telescopes redundant?

    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.

  • + Who uses the telescopes at Herstmonceux now?

    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.

  • + Can we look through the telescopes during the day?

    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.

  • + Is The Centre on the meridian line?

    Not quite, Herstmonceux is 0.320 E of the Greenwich Meridian.

  • + Can we visit the Isaac Newton dome?

    No. This is an empty building and does not have any public access. 

  • + Does science centre admission price include admission to the castle?

    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.

  • + Do you have a Membership Scheme?

    We have a popular Membership Scheme

  • + Can we use the café / toilet facilities without paying an admission price?

    We will always help our visitors wherever possible, but we do not permit entry without a valid admission ticket.

  • + Is The Centre suitable for young children?

    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.

  • + Do you have to book for Open Evenings?

    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.

  • + Are there concession admission prices?

    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.

Parking

Our usual parking field is temporarily closed following recent unprecedented rainfall

Please use the hardstanding car park on Wartling Road: just south of the estate entrance

Blue Badge parking bays available as usual behind the main building

All parking is free!

Please do call ahead to check......