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31st March - 23rd April:3 weeks of Spectacular Science!
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Join us for exciting science week activities.
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The Observatory Science Centre
Herstmonceux
Hailsham
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Tel: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741

Email Us

What to see on Open Evenings

Please note: the list of Open Evening Dates is on the Open Evenings page.
What to see on Saturday 6th May 2017
8pm - 12.30am

The Sun will not set until 8.32pm so it will still be light when the Centre re-opens at 8pm. The end of ASTRONOMICAL TWILIGHT is not until 11.12pm so technically it will not be completely dark until then. The phase of the Moon is a waxing gibbous, 3 days after FIRST QUARTER and will not be setting until well after the Centre closes at 12.30am so will be visible all night.

To see the sky chart for the 6th May visit Heavens Above. You will need to alter the times and dates in the boxes below the current chart to find out what is in the night sky on the dates of the open evening.

This particular phase of the Moon although very bright is still quite stunning to look at through the telescopes. You are able to see craters and mountains as well as the Maria (or 'Seas').

The constellationn Hercules will be high in the sky which means the magnificent GLOBULAR CLUSTER M13 will be visible later on in the evening. M13, is located on the right hand side of the body of Hercules (which looks like a key stone). It appears as a beautiful three dimensional ball of stars through the telescopes.

The star of the show however is not a star at all; it is the planet Jupiter which will already have risen before 8pm and will be high enough in the sky to be visible through the historic telescopes. It was at OPPOSITION on April 7th so the closest it came to Earth this year. Even though it is now getting further away it is still a fabulous time to look at this beautiful planet through the telescopes. It is in the CONSTELLATION of Virgo, close to the bright star Spica and is very bright at MAGNITUDE -2.3.

The GREAT RED SPOT on Jupiter will be passing the Centre of the planet at about 11.45pm so should be visible (albeit a bit faint) for 2 hours before and after this time. The four largest Moons (the Galilean Moons) will definitely be visible with Ganymede on the western and Callisto on the eastern side. Europa will have disapeared behind the planet earlier on but will already have reappeared on the eastern side and will therefore be close to Jupiter. Io will start to pass in front of Jupiter at about 7pm and will still be crossing when the Centre opens. The TRANSIT will end at about 9pm but you may still be able to see the shadow of Io on the face of the planet. Remember, the telescope looks at things upside down and back to front!

The amateur astromomers from Wealden Astronomical Society will also have their smaller telescopes out on the lawns and welcome you to come along and take a look.
What to see on Friday 19th May 2017
8pm - 12.30am

The Sun will not set until 8.51pm so it will still be light when the Centre re-opens at 8pm. The end of ASTRONOMICAL TWILIGHT is not until 00.09am so technically it will not be completely dark until after the Centre has closed, but it will be dark enough! The phase of the Moon LAST QUARTER and will have already set so will not be visible all night.

To see the sky chart for the 19th May visit Heavens Above. You will need to alter the times and dates in the boxes below the current chart to find out what is in the night sky on the dates of the open evening.

Without a Moon the night sky will be darker and deeper sky objects will be easier to see. The constellationn Hercules will be high in the sky which means the magnificent GLOBULAR CLUSTER M13 will be visible. M13, is located on the right hand side of the body of Hercules (which looks like a key stone). It appears as a beautiful three dimensional ball of stars through the telescopes.

The star of the show however is not a star at all; it is the planet Jupiter which will already have risen before 8pm and will be high enough in the sky to be visible through the historic telescopes. It was at OPPOSITION on April 7th so the closest it came to Earth this year. Even though it is now getting further away it is still a fabulous time to look at this beautiful planet through the telescopes. It is in the CONSTELLATION of Virgo, close to the bright star Spica and is very bright at MAGNITUDE -2.3.

The GREAT RED SPOT on Jupiter will be passing the Centre of the planet at about 7.33pm so should be visible (albeit a bit faint) for 2 hours before and after this time, so you may just catch it if it is dark enough. The four largest Moons (the Galilean Moons) will definitely be visible with Europa and Io on the western side and Ganymede and Callisto on the eastern side. Ganymede and Callisto will be close together but getting further apart as the evening progresses. Remember, the telescope looks at things upside down and back to front!

The amateur astromomers from Wealden Astronomical Society will also have their smaller telescopes out on the lawns and welcome you to come along and take a look.
OPEN EVENING 6th May
On Saturday the 6th May The Centre will re-open again for the evening at 8pm. Come and explore the Centre at night - it is a different atmosphere entirely. All the indoor hands-on interactive exhibits will be available and if the weather is good the main focus of the evening is looking through some of the country's largest telescopes at some fabulous night sky objects including the Moon and magnificent Jupiter. If the weather is not very good and you are not able to look through the telescopes don't worry, if there are enough visitors in The Centre we will have a fascinating planetarium style talk for you which will walk you through the wonders of the night sky showing you objects you wouldn't ordinarily see. Normal admission price applies but if you are visiting during the day and would like to return for the evening, then take advantage of our special offer of just £5 per person (only valid with a receipt purchased during the day on the 6th May). Alongside the historic telescopes there will be the smaller telescopes of local amateur astronomers.
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