Stargazing Evenings are a fascinating way to experience the natural wonders of the night sky. It may be the Moon or the planets (if they are visible) or it may be deeper sky objects; looking through a telescope is awe inspiring!
What to expect
While gates open at 6.30pm (unless otherwise specified i.e. April/August dates will be from 8pm) you do not have to be there at 6.30pm. The evening is free flowing around The Centre and there are no set times for anything. When you arrive at reception you will be told about what is available on the evening and there will be tannoy announcements throughout the evening to keep you informed about which telescopes are open and how to access them. If we do have to resort to the cloudy night contingency (see below) then there will be more than one talk and these usually do not start before about 7.30pm (9.30pm on evenings when we do not open until 8pm) to allow time for visitors to get to The Centre. However, it is recommended that you arrive before 8.30pm (10pm on evenings when we open at 8pm) on a cloudy night to take advantage of the planetarium shows.
The indoor exhibits will be available to explore but for Health and Safety reasons the outdoor exhibits will not be available and the Discovery Park will be closed during the hours of twilight and darkness.
If the weather is not suitable to look through the telescopes (cloudy, rainy or foggy), we do not cancel Stargazing Evenings because we offer a cloudy night contingency plan. This is usually a talk all about the night sky which in itself is a fantastic and fascinating experience, immersing you in the Universe with explanations of what you are seeing and hopping across the sky to various objects and looking at the different constellations. While the telescopes will not be operational on cloudy/wet nights, the telescope domes are open and you can chat freely to the very knowledgeable amateur astronomers and ask those burning questions you always wanted answers to.
Stargazing evenings are suitable for families unless it is specifically an adults only evening. However, we would recommend that children are 7 years and older. NOT suitable for very young children or babies requiring pushchairs.
If you have Gift Tickets and would like to redeem them against a Stargazing Evening then please phone The Centre on 01323 832731 to reserve your place(s). We will need the numbers on the back of the Gift Tickets to book you in.
If you are looking for a present then Gift Ticket packages are available for Stargazing Evenings (General Gift Ticket vouchers which are valid for either daytime or Stargazing Evening visits) from our online shop
What will I see on Stargazing Evenings?
PLEASE NOTE: there are 2 more evenings at the beginning of September during the Astronomy Festival when we are open for viewing through the telescopes (weather permitting).
By booking this event you agree to the terms of our cancellation policy.
A note about the availability of the telescopes
Not all the historic telescopes are operational but we usually open Dome D and Dome E. On some evenings we may be able to open Dome C which houses a modern 16-inch Meade telescope and Dome A which houses the historic and operational 30-inch Thompson reflector.
The telescopes are all operated by volunteers and we are very grateful for their continued support. Domes A and C are only opened if our volunteers who run the telescopes are available.
We are also exteremely grateful to our loyal STEM Ambassador volunteers who bring their own equipment for you to look through and enhance the evening with their vast knowledge and experience.
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Stargazing Evenings Enquiry
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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.