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read more » 31st Aug 2017 11:28
The Observatory Science Centre
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Tel: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741

Email Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to book for Open Evenings?

No you don't because viewing through the telescopes is always subject to weather conditions. You do however have to book for our special themed evening events.

What are the opening times & admission prices?
You will find this information in the VISIT US section 

Why do I have to pay more with a Gift Aid admission?

You will find this information in the VISIT US section under Gift Aid

Is The Centre suitable for young children?

The Centre is suitable for all ages and abilities.  Due to the nature of the site all visitors should take care of the ramps /steps / pond etc and all children under 16 years of age must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times. Children are not admitted unless accompanied by an adult.

Are there concession admission prices?

As an independent, educational charity visitor admissions are our main source of income.  We will always admit carers free of charge to a maximum 1-1 ratio (Blue Badge, benefit Award Letter or similar required).  We also offer family and group rate tickets but are unable to offer discounts for students or the unemployed.  We  have a Membership Scheme which offers fantastic value for year round admission.

How do I become a member?

You will find this information in the VISIT US section under Membership

Do you have a Family Membership?

You will find this information in the VISIT US section under Membership

Can I buy a ticket as a present?

We have gift tickets for general admission, special events and membership, so we are happy to help you purchase these as a present. Please contact The Centre.  01323 832731

Do you have a café and what food do you sell?

You will find this information in the VISIT US section under Facilities

Can we use the café / toilet facilities without paying an admission price?

We will always help our visitors wherever possible, but we do not permit entry without a valid admission ticket.

Is the site accessible??

You will find this information in the VISIT US section under Facilities

Do you have a wheelchair available?

You will find this information in the VISIT US section under Facilities Do you keep lost property?

All items of lost property are recorded and saved; where identification is possible we will endeavour to contact the owner  / school etc. Items can be collected in person, or you can send a SAE for us to post the item to you. All lost property is cleared at the end of the season.

Can I visit Herstmonceux Castle Gardens and Grounds? Visit the Herstmonceux Castle Estate website

Does the admission price to the science centre include admission to the castle?

The Centre is located within the Estate but is a separate business. It is possible to purchase Joint entry tickets to both attractions.

Can we visit the Isaac Newton dome?

No, at the moment it is an empty building and does not have any public access. 

I'm chair person of the school PTA - can I request a raffle prize?

The Centre is an educational charity and does not issue raffle prizes or gifts to any organisation.

Is The Centre on the meridian line?

Not quite, Herstmonceux is 0.320 E of the Greenwich Meridian

Can we look through the telescopes during the day?

No because if you catch the Sun it will blind you. Also daylight swamps the light coming from celestial objects making them almost impossible to see.

Who uses the telescopes now?

While the telescopes are not being used scientifically for research purposes they are open to the public on our open evenings which are usually held during the Autumn, Winter and Spring with one or two exceptions in the summer. They are also open on our special themed evening events which take place throughout the year. You can also hire the centre for private evening group visits when you may get the opportunity to use the telescopes (weather permitting). Twilight educational visits or scouting and guiding group visits can also be arranged.

Has the Hubble telescope made earthbound telescopes redundant?

Not at all. Space telescopes fulfil a very important role but they cannot be made as large as ground based telescopes due to weight and the cost of getting them into space. The wider the diameter of a telescope the better light gathering ability it has and the more detail it can resolve. At the moment the largest ground based telescope is the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) at 11m diameter. Although atmospheric disturbance is not a problem encountered by space telescopes, many ground based telescopes do have a problem and atmospheric disturbance can distort the image.  However, adaptive optics used with large ground based telescopes can compensate for distortion caused by the atmosphere.

I’ve had a star named after me!  Can I see it through a telescope?

This is always a very difficult question. It very much depends on where the star is and how bright it is. Many of the stars are far too faint and distant making it extremely difficult to pinpoint. To avoid disappointment therefore we do not usually offer to locate such stars with our telescopes.

Do you offer a "star naming" service?

No we do not. Some commercial enterprises do say that they offer such a service and will charge a fee for it. However such "names" have no formal or official validity whatsoever. This is an excerpt from the International Astronomical Unions (IAU) website:  As an international scientific organization, the IAU dissociates itself entirely from the commercial practice of "selling" fictitious star names or "real estate" on other planets or moons in the Solar System. Accordingly, the IAU maintains no list of the (several competing) enterprises in this business in individual countries of the world. For further information please visit the IAU website 

How do you pronounce Herstmonceux?

As with so many place names there is a definite 'correct' pronunciation amongst the local people and Herstmonceux is no exception.
Herst is the Saxon name for a wooded hill, and the manor is mentioned in the Domesday Book as being part of the land belonging to the Count of Eu. In 1131 the Count's grandson transferred the manor to Drogo de Monceux, (great grandson of William the Conqueror) who married Idonea de Monceux. Their son was known as Walleran de Herst Monceux.

So, to answer the question 'How do you pronounce Herstmonceux?'
Herst as in 'first'
Mon as in 'monsoon'
Ceux as in 'zoo'
Telephone: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741