Star-gazers set to focus on the sky

Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival
Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival
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The annual Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival takes place this weekend.

The festival, which is in its ninth year, will take place at The Observatory Science Centre in Herstmonceux which was once home to the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

The site is now an interactive science centre and educational charity.

From today (September 6) until Sunday (September 8) star gazing enthusiasts will be able to view the heavens through some of the giant astronomical instruments which are among the UK’s largest historic telescopes.

A collection of smaller, more modern telescopes will also be set up on the lawns if the viewing is good.

If the sun shines during the daytime sessions, specialist solar scopes and solar viewers will also be on hand; demonstrating what a fascinating and dynamic star the sun is.

There will also be a host of activities throughout the weekend, both indoors and out, including the chance to view science exhibits, attend lectures and go on in-depth telescope tours.

The centre’s own mobile planetarium will be bringing space down to Earth and there is a chance to ‘Meet the Experts’ from the South East Physics Network (SEPnet) who will be carrying out experiments as part of the ‘Explore Your Universe: Atoms to Astrophysics’ project.

There is also an Astronomy Pub Quiz in the beer tent on Saturday night, on- and off-site catering, rocket making on Sunday, radio astronomy and monitoring chat with the ISS, interactive science shows and the chance to win some great raffle prizes.

With a weekend registration pack, you also get to visit the historic Herstmonceux Castle.

Throughout the weekend, the site will be swarming with amateur astronomers, and the odd professional, too, keen to impart their knowledge and share their experiences.

Astronomy societies from across the South East will be in attendance, plus some of the South’s major equipment suppliers.

The festival is supported by BBC Sky At Night Magazine, Telescope House, Astronomia, IO Astronomy and Altair Astro.

If you are interested in finding out more information or would like the full programme of events and pricing, go to the observatory’s website at

If you will also be visiting Herstmonceux Castle and would like more information about the castle, visit the castle’s website at