Astronomy festival’s tenth anniversary in Herstmonceux

Herstmonceux Science Festival by Science Projects
Herstmonceux Science Festival by Science Projects

The annual Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The festival is hosted by the Observatory Science Centre in Herstmonceux which was once home to the Royal Greenwich Observatory until 1990.

The festival started in 2005 and was an idea put forward by Pulsar Observatories based in Norfolk and Telescope House from Marsh Green in Kent. They suggested starting an event at the former home of British astronomy with visitors camping over a weekend.

Gary Walker, managing director of Pulsar Observatories, said: “I visited the science centre back in 2002, to assist with upgrades to one of the observatory telescopes. After two or three visits I realised what a wonderful location it would be for an astronomy event, with the historical telescopes, science centre and superb location. I think myself and Terry Dobner [Telescope House] had a conversation at the time, but it was a year later, when we actually got together for the first time, that we realised we were onto something really exciting.”

Dr Sandra Voss, science director at The Observatory Science Centre, said: “We cannot quite believe that we have already reached our 10th anniversary. From humble beginnings, it has grown to be our major fundraising event, with ever increasing visitor numbers.”

This year’s festival takes place from Friday (September 5) to Sunday (September 7).

The festival also brings together a host of traders offering state-of-the-art equipment, plus astronomy societies and facilitators offering astronomy-related events. Alongside planetarium shows, rocketry workshops, and informal talks about the telescopes.

There will also be evening sessions where September’s supermoon will take centre stage and the three Royal Greenwich Observatory telescopes will be swung into action for astronomy enthusiasts and novices.

Organisers said 2014 promises to deliver the biggest and best festival yet, with an opening address by Stephen Pizzey, joint founder of Science Projects Ltd who owns and operates the science centre, followed by a keynote lecture by Prof Donald Lynden-Bell, CBE FRS. Visit the-observatory.org.