While this year will be much smaller, all the festival favourites including camping will be back in 2022!
See dates and times of the sessions at the bottom of this page. Each session is booked individually.
Please note: The Centre will close at 4pm and re-open at 6pm. There is no provision to stay in The Centre during this time.
Online booking closes at 11.59 pm on the evening ahead of the visit date; the date then disappears off the booking list. Please phone The Centre on 01323 832731 to ask about availability on the day or evening of your visit.
Friday Evening 3rd September: Stargazing
Saturday during the day 4th September: All the Spectacular Science Exhibits and talks about the telescopes plus Lectures and Planetarium shows. The lectures and planetarium shows will carry a small extra cost of just £2 per person.
Saturday Evening 4th September: Stargazing
Sunday during the day 5th September: All the Spectacular Science Exhibits and talks about the telescopes plus Planetarium shows and lectures. The lectures and planetarium shows will carry a small extra cost of just £2 per person.
More information about the lectures below.
Booking online available. PLEASE NOTE: Booking closes at 11.59 pm on the evening ahead of the visit date.
PLEASE NOTE: We do not cancel Stargazing Evenings in the event of poor weather; we offer a cloudy night contingency plan which is usually a planetarium style talk if the weather is unsuitable for viewing through the telescopes. PLUS we have a fabulous new camera which we can mount on the back of one of our historic telescope and take images. We have a bank of images which we can show you on a screen and explain about how the system works.
We are being joined by local astronomy societies both during the day and the evening. They are extremely knowledgeable and will be bringing their own amateur telescopes to the lawns for you to look through (please don't bring your own telescopes to The Centre).
Solar Observations (weather dependent)
Amateur Astronomers will be using The Science Centre's 90mm solar telescope to look at the Sun safely.
Amateur Radio with Stuart Constable and his team
Observing the Sun through radio waves and satellite tracking. Hands-on demonstrations. Stuart is a licensed radio amateur, callsign M0CHW, and has over 20 years experience studying radio signals from the Sun.
Stereoscope with our very own Jeremy Harrison (Sunday only)
over 1000 cards to view of true 3D images some of which date back as far as 150 years. Plus Jeremy will be bringing his Georgian refracting telescope.
University of Sussex
Join Dr Darren Baskill and his team from the University of Sussex. They will have a model of the James Webb Space Telescope mirror.
Each lecture is just £2 extra per person.
11am-12 noon: 'Look Up, Live It, Love It!' Jane Green FRAS
This is a family friendly talk.
In this talk, with the aid of stunning audio visuals, Jane deconstructs the seemingly complex, de-mystifies meaningless phrases and reveals the darkest wonders of the cosmos to ultimately share what inspires her and her audiences most … perspective, majesty and beauty on the grandest of scales. This powerful and insightful journey begins and ends with ‘nothing’. What could possibly fill the ‘space’ in between? Find out as Jane inspires you to look up, live it and love it.
2pm-3pm: 'Stars and Stoolball' Ian Whiteley
From 1958 to 1990, the buildings and grounds of Herstmonceux Castle were the home, office and playground of the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO).
Science Centre volunteer and operator of the astrographic refractor in Dome D, Ian Whiteley presents video memories of some of the renowned astronomers, engineers and theoreticians who lived and worked at this historic site. Hear about the discovery of the first black hole, of earning five bob a night as an observer in the domes, and of how the people who built their careers here felt about the RGO’s closure.
11am - 12 noon: 'The Webb Telescope' Dr Steven Wilkins
The Webb Telescope, which is due to launch later this year, is the long-awaited successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. Webb is an international collaboration, featuring strong involvement from the UK. Ultimately thousands of scientists from around the world will use data from Webb to answer a range of scientific questions. Webb will enable an enormous range of science from allowing us to identify the first stars and galaxies to form in the Universe to probing the atmospheres of alien planets.
2pm - 3pm: 'Solar Eclipses' Greg Smye-Rumsby
This is a family friendly talk
Every now and then the Moon passes exactly between the Earth and the Sun and because the two bodies appear to be of similar size we experience a solar eclipse. These events are completely predictable and we can calculate eclipses many centuries into the future. Let me take you on a personal journey of these most amazing natural phenomena.
Jane Green FRAS
Find out more about Jane
Find out more about Ian
Dr Steven Wilkins
Find out more about Steve
Find out more about Greg
This year all the sessions are at the general admission price:
With Gift Aid Without Gift Aid Notes Adult £9.65 £8.75 Child (4-17) £7.45 £6.75 Senior (65+) £8.55 £7.75 Family of 4 £30.55 £27.75
Maximum of 2 Adults
2 Adults + 2 Children or 1 Adult + 3 Children
Family of 5 £36.05 £32.75
Maximum of 2 Adults
2 Adults + 3 Children or 1 Adult + 4 Children
Carers* FREE Free
Requires production of I-Go Card, Compass Card, Blue Badge, benefit award Letter or similar.
Children will not be admitted unless accompanied by a responsible adult / senior at all times
* Carers admitted free of charge when accompanying a paying child/adult. Please book on-line but you will be required to show your I-Go Card, Compass Card, Blue Badge, benefit award letter, or similar when you arrive for your visit.
The Observatory Science Centre reserves the right to alter admission prices without prior notice.
There will be no camping this year due to all the uncertainties with COVID-19. However, if you did want to stay at Bader International Study Centre which is in the grounds of Herstmonceux Castle:
- Double ensuite £80.00
- Single ensuite £55.00
This is for room only and will be available for Friday to Sunday evenings. If you would like to add breakfast this can be ordered for £6 per person in addition to the room rate.
For bookings please contact Bader Hall on 01323 834400 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Herstmonceux Castle is about a 10 minute walk from The Science Centre but is within the same estate so no need to walk on main roads.
While we do not want to dwell on the negatives and we look forward to a wornderful weekend we have been asked about the availability of what we usually offer on our Astronomy Festival. All being well we will be back to normal in 2022 but for this year we are unable to offer the following:
- No camping
- No beer tent or the sale of any alcohol
- No trade stands
- No information tent
- No extra family activities on Sunday but a couple of the lectures are family friendly and all the spectacular hands-on exhibits will be available (apart from the outdoor exhibits after dark, which is normal anyway!)
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The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd, a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 02186073 and a registered charity No: 298542. The registered office is 3 – 15 Stirling Road, Acton, London. W3 8DJ. UK.