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.
Have a look at Our Telescopes to find out more about the historic instruments.
Viewing is always subject to weather conditions but we do not cancel Stargazing Evenings in the event of poor weather. If the weather stops us from using the telescopes we offer a cloudy night contingency plan which is usually a fascinating planetarium style talk plus you can explore the indoor exhibits.
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. Stargazing Evenings are not recommended for very young children.
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. White lines are painted on the edges of steps and on the edges of walls. Please do not cross a white line unless you are absolutely sure it is at the top of a flight of steps. PLEASE BRING A TORCH and wear sensible footwear. Check with your torch where you are walking.
We strongly encourage people not to use white light torches in the domes as this destroys night vision, therefore we would ask you to use red light torches if you have one. However, if you do not have a red light torch use a white light torch to navigate your way around The Centre.
We also recommend warm clothing.
Please 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.
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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.