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Assistant Cafe Manager, part time. This is a NEW POSITION to support and develop our current cafe o...
read more » 2nd May 2017 18:02
31st March - 23rd April:3 weeks of Spectacular Science!
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Join us for exciting science week activities.
read more » 8th Mar 2017 11:53
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 17th June 2017
7pm - 12.30am (ADULTS ONLY)

The Sun will not set until 9.20pm so it will still be light when the Centre re-opens at 7pm. There is no end to ASTRONOMICAL TWILIGHT at this time of year so technically it doesnt get completely dark. However, it will be dark enough! The phase of the Moon is LAST QUARTER and will have already set so will not be visible all night.

To see the sky chart for the 17th June 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 -2.1.

Unfortunately the GREAT RED SPOT on Jupiter will not be visible during the times that he Centre is open. However, the four largest Moons (the Galilean Moons) will definitely be visible with Callisto way out on its own on the western side along with Europa which will be much closer to the planet. Io and Ganymede are extremely close together on the eastern side. Remember, the telescope looks at things upside down and back to front!

The other emerging wonder of the night sky is spectacular Saturn which will be rising at approximately 8.50pm. While it will not be visible straight away it will rise high enough before the end of the evening to be visible through the telescopes if it is clear. It reached OPPOSITION on June 15th so it is a great time to see it being the closest it will come to Earth this year. It is at MAGNITUDE 0. The magnificent RING SYSTEM is almost fully open now making it very bright and easy to see. 

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.

For this special summer Open Evening there will be music and a bar. See 'Music and the Stars' for further information.
What to see on Friday 11th August 2017
8pm - 12.30am 

The Sun will not set until 8.30pm so it will still be light when the Centre re-opens at 8pm. ASTRONOMICAL TWILIGHT ends at 10.58pm so it will not be completely dark until this time. The phase of the Moon is 4 days after FULL so a waning Gibbous. It will rise at 10.17pm so will only be visible through the telescopes later on in the evening.

To see the sky chart for the 11th August 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 early on, the night sky will be darker and deeper sky objects will be easier to see. The CONSTELLATION Hercules will still be in the night 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. There are also some nice double stars in the night sky at this time of the year too.

While Jupiter will be too low on the wetern horizon magnificent SATURN will be clearly visible in the CONSTELLATION Ophiucus. It reached OPPOSITION on June 15th so is not quite as bright as then but will still be spectacular at MAGNITUDE 0.3. The beautiful RING SYSTEM is fully open at 26.8 degrees giving us a stunning view of the top side of the rings.

The Moon itself is also very beautiful to look at and you should be able to see craters and maria when it is high enough in the sky to view.

Not only will you be able to look through the telescopes at fascinating night sky objects you can also try and spot some shooting stars associated with the Perseids METEOR SHOWER. This meteor shower occurs as Earth passes through the outskirts of a cloud of debris from comet Swift-Tuttle. The dust and bits of rock left behind are called meteors. As they enter the Earth's atmosphere they "burn up" with the larger pieces producing bright streams that you can see with the naked eye before they fade away. These bright streams are also known as shooting stars and can be seen from 23rd July until 20th August. The maximum is on the evening of the 12th when you may see approximately 60-80 shooting stars per hour.

The smaller telescopes of the local Astronomical society will be situated on the lawns at the front of the Centre and will also be available for you to look through.