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The Observatory Science Centre
Herstmonceux
Hailsham
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Tel: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741

Email Us

Astronomy Festival Archive 2016

Astronomy Festival 2016

We had another fantastic weekend in 2015 and are now gearing up for the 2016 event! Watch this page as more details emerge about this year's festival.

Our lovely new marquee became the lecture theatre last year and was very well received so will be used again this year giving ample space for everyone. We now have a full complement of speakers for the weekend including a NASA scientist who will be with us for the whole weekend. 

Bookings for the camping and weekend registration are now being taken.
Astronomy Festival 2015
Camping

Camp under the backdrop of the observatory domes:

• There are a limited number of pitches so BOOK EARLY!
• Friday, Saturday and Sunday (2nd/3rd/4th September)
• £30 per pitch regardless of the number of nights. Allows up to 5 people per pitch.
• Size of pitch: 7.5m x 7.5m. Please note that we cannot accomodate tents, caravans or motorhomes that are larger than your pitch. There are plenty of camping sites in the local area that would be more suitable for your needs.
• If you are bringing a caravan or motorhome with toilet facilities, please note that there will be no provision for emptying toilet waste.
• Pitches will be allocated beforehand on a first come first served basis. Please select your pitch from the camping site map at the top of this page before you phone the Centre to book. Please note that there are different areas for families, adults only and general camping. Please select a pitch in the appropriate area for your group. While we endeavour to update the map on a regular basis we cannot guarantee that the pitch you choose will be available when you book. Please select an alternative as a back up. Please you note that at this time we are unable to take bookings for camping on-line.
• Please read the camping rules (top of this page) very carefully before you phone the Centre to book your pitch. This document contains important information.

Alternative Accomodation at Herstmonceux Castle

If you do not fancy camping but wish to stay within walking distance of the festival then this year Herstmonceux Castle have 50-60 standard rooms available.

Herstmonceux Castle is located within a 600 acre estate and as an operating International Study Centre, offers 3-star rated campus accommodation. The rooms are located in Bader Hall about 500 metres walk from the castle where breakfast is served in the dining room.

Twin standards with shared washrooms along the corridor - £38.00

Single standard with shared washrooms along the corridor - £22.00

Prices include breakfast

For bookings please contact Bader Hall on 01323 834400 or accom@bisc.queensu.ac.uk
Provisional Programme of Activities (subject to change) 

Friday evening (6.30pm - 11pm)

FREE opening lecture 7.30pm with Ian Ridpath
• Viewing through the historic telescopes (weather permitting)
• Viewing through smaller telescopes with amateur astronomy societies (weather permitting)
• Visits to the QRZ Amateur Radio Group of Sussex

Saturday Day (10am - 6pm) 

• Four lectures throughout the day (£3 per person per lecture)
• Talks about the telescopes in Dome E
• 'Destination Space' activities
• 'Meet the NASA Scientist'
• Planetarium shows
Trade stands
• Astronomy Society stands
• Dark Skies Discovery with South Downs National Park
• Astronomy activities with the University of Sussex outreach team
• Newton's Bar
• Solar Observing
• 3D Stereo cards
• Daily Raffle

Saturday Evening (6.30pm - 11pm)

8pm Pub Quiz with Steve Collingwood (SCTelescopes)
• Viewing through the historic telescopes (weather permitting)
• Viewing through smaller telescopes with amateur astronomy societies (weather permitting)
• Visits to the QRZ Amateur Radio Group of Sussex

Sunday (10am - 6pm) 

• Four lectures throughout the day (£3 per person per lecture)
• Talks about the telescopes in Dome E
• Planetarium shows
• Destination Space activities
• Rocket Launching
• Family Quiz
• 'Meet the NASA Scientist'
Trade stands
• Astronomy Society stands
• Dark Skies Discovery with South Downs National Park
• Astronomy activities with the University of Sussex outreach team
• Newton's Bar
• Solar Observing
Daily Raffle plus the Grand Prize Raffle draw

All this PLUS Spectacular Science exhibits both indoors and outdoors.


South Downs National Park 

After achieving International Dark Sky Status in May this year, the South Downs National Park will be displaying their Sky Quality Map of the area and providing advice on where to go and how to ‘do your bit’ to protect dark skies. There will also be an astronomical ‘feely box’, a solar scope and some walk leaflets for the area. In the evening, we will have our 14” dobsonian on hand to view the sky.
Interactive activities with the University of Sussex SEPnet (South East Physics Network) team

Come and have fun with a host of interactive activities including particle zoo and particle lego; Marshmallows in a bottle; Kebab stick through a balloon.
QRZ Amateur Radio Group of Sussex QRZ ARGoS will be opening its doors on both evenings over the AStronomy Festival and you are welcome to go and visit them to find out what they are doing. 
RAFFLES: There will be two daily raffles during the festival which will include various items donated by our sponsors and trade stands. We would like to thank them in advance for their generosity and thank you for purchasing tickets which helps towards our fund raising efforts and the upkeep of the fabulous historic telescopes and domes.

GRAND PRIZE DRAW: Once again we would like to thank Telescope House for donating a fabulous telescope for our Grand Prize Raffle Draw. The telescope is a National Geographic 70mm Automatic reflector (SRP £320). The draw will take place on Sunday 4th September and the winner will be notified and their prize delivered as soon as possible thereafter. The Grand Prize Draw is separate to the daily raffles and tickets, which are £5 each can be purchased in advance from The Centre. You do not have to be at the draw to win the telescope.
National Geographic 70mm telescope
Admission 2016

Weekend Registration

If you are able to join us for the whole weekend then we are again offering a fantastic deal.

Adult: £40 
Child: £30 
Family of four: £110 
Family of five:  £140

With your weekend registration you will receive a souvenir, a ticket to visit the gardens and grounds of Herstmonceux Castle and a wrist band which permits entry into The Centre from Friday afternoon until 6pm on Sunday. This can be booked in advance (does NOT include camping). Wrist bands are not transferable and you are required to wear your wrist band at all times. The Centre reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone who is not wearing a wrist band.

PLEASE NOTE: At this time we are unable to take bookings for camping and pre-bookings for weekend registration on-line. Please just phone the Centre on 01323 832731 and you can reserve yur place(s) using a credit or debit card. Thank you.
 

MEMBERS: Enjoy a 10% discount on FULL WEEKEND registration from 1st March to 30th June (this applies to pre-booked full weekend registration only).

Admission per session (there are four sessions including the 'Open Evenings')


Adult: £10
Child: £7.50
Under 4: FREE

This price applies to EACH of the four sessions (please note that membership is not valid for the astronomy festival weekend but you can get a 10% discount on full weekend registration if you book BEFORE 1st July). 

Friday:     6.30pm - 11pm (also listed as an Open Evening)
Saturday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 6.30pm - 11pm (also listed as an Open Evening)
Sunday:   10am - 6pm

Herstmonceux Castle is well worth a visit during your stay. There is a separate admission price if you do not purchase weekend registration. Entry to the gardens and grounds of the castle: £6 adult, £4.95 senior, £3 child. Tours of the castle are sometimes available at an additional cost.
Local Accommodation

There are plenty of campsites in the local area which will provide electrical hook-up, showers and space for larger tents or vehicles. If you do not wish to camp but require local accomodation here are a few suggestions:

Cleavers Lyng B&B
Halfway House B&B
Big Sky Tipi luxury camping
Wartling Place B&B
Butlers Farm House B&B
Stone Acre Lodge B&B
Sandhurst B&B
Ivydene Guest Accomodation
Lamb Inn, Wartling

Alternatively you could hire a VW Camper Van
Festival 2016 Despite the weather we had another fantastic weekend in 2016. Thank you for coming along and supporting the Centre and helping to make the weekend very special.The atmosphere was again incredible and the speakers were fantastic and we must thank them all for giving up their time to come and speak for us. The programme was packed and thanks go to everyone who contributed to the brilliant activities including: The South Downs National Park
SEPnet (the University of Sussex)
The Society for Popular AStronomy
Wealden Astronomical Society
East Sussex Astronomical Society
Eastbourne Astronomical Society There are so many other people to thank including the trade stall holders who generously donated raffle prizes: Telescope House
365Astronomy
Astronomy Now
Primary Science Resource Packs. Hailsham district council for lending us the white line marker which helped us enormously when marking out the caming pitches. Astronomy Now and Sky at Night for advertising. A huge thank you must go to Telescope House for donating the Telescope for the Grand Prize Draw. The sale of these tickets is enormously beneficial to us and really helps with the upkeep of the telescopes and domes. Finally it is our visitors who make this festival so special. We receive no external funding to keep the Centre running or the telescopes maintained so by visiting us you are keeping the Centre alive and we appreciate your support enormously. Thank you!
Camping Site Map
Campsite Regulations
Code of Conduct