Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society holds a number of public open evenings each year during the Autumn and Winter months.
The 2016/2017 season of public open evenings has now finished, but the dates for the new 2017/2018 season are as follows:
- 30 September
- 28 October - International Observe the Moon Night
- 25 November
- 27 January
- 24 February
- 24 March
Gates open at 6.45 p.m. If you are bringing young children it is advisable to come for the start.
Entrance £5.00 adults / £1.00 under 16s. (Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult).
No advance booking.
Car parking space at the observatory is limited and there are no areas for parking nearby. Entry to the car park will be on a first come, first served basis. Unless you have a special reason for coming early it is usually better to arrive after 9.00 p.m. when car parking often eases; entry carries on throughout the evening so by arriving later you do not miss anything (however, please be aware that on cloudy, windy, wet nights we may only have a few visitors and therefore close early).
We would like to remind visitors that it is illegal to park on the grass verge of the main road, and vehicles must NOT be allowed to block pavement or entry access to properties. It is also strongly advised NOT to park or queue on the busy main road as emergency vehicle access MUST be maintained at all times.
When you arrive, you will be allocated a ticket with a time for your building entry. Visitors enter the building in groups of 20. There is a 20 minute talk from one of the society's knowledgable amateur astronomy lecturers; the subject of the talk is different at each open evening and is announced on our news page. After the talk, the group go into the dome housing the large observatory telescope and which, weather permitting, will be in use for you to view through.
Please be aware that due to the popularity of the event, especially on clear nights, there is a possibility that even if you arrive early before the gates open, you may have to wait a couple of hours before being admitted to the main telescope and talk. However, if this does happen, please visit our other activities first.
We do not have a specific finish time; we will continue to accept new visitors and run all our activities and displays until the last people enter the building for their talk and tour. Our outside activities could include:
- View the moon and other astronomical objects through a variety of smaller telescopes owned by the society or our members (weather permitting).
- An introduction to finding your way around the night sky with the naked eye and binoculars (feel free to bring your own binoculars along).
- Video presentations on astronomical topics or a talk by one of our members.
- Radio astronomy section - detect incoming meteors and listen to "the sounds of space".
- Children's activities including a quiz, "crater maker", and space shuttle landing simulator.
- Opportunities to ask questions about astronomy or about the telescopes.
- Factsheets and/or skymaps to take away.
- Merchandise, including excellent photos of astronomical objects.
There is wheelchair access into the building/lecture room and disabled toilet facilities. However, please be advised that the main telescope is accessible only by a spiral staircase.
Please note that the dome and large telescope cannot be opened up and used if the weather is wet or very windy and even in dry conditions it is usually cold both in the dome and outside so warm clothing is a necessity.