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Institute of Astronomy - Public

*** We are now taking bookings for our current season (up to March 2021) ***

As of September 2020, we are conducting all our outreach activities online. We would be very happy to host an online activity for your group. Please get in contact using the form below.


Community Group Visits

We welcome evening visits from community groups to the Institute of Astronomy during the winter season. This includes groups of brownies, cubs, guides and scouts who are working towards their Astronomy or Stargazer badges. There are two options:


  • You can book to join one of our regular Wednesday public open evenings, if you are a small group (fewer than 20 people in total). The evening consists of a half-hour talk, followed by the chance to observe if the weather is clear. Even if cloudy, we'll try to arrange for your group to visit one of our historical telescopes. Entrance is free; however we cannot guarantee that the talk will be tailored to your group's interest and experience. Only one such group can be booked in each week - you can see which dates do not yet have a group booking listed on our current schedule. To arrange this, or to find out more, please contact Dr Matt Bothwell.


  • Alternatively - and this is probably the better option for most groups - we can try to accommodate your visit separately on another evening, which could fit better with your more regular meeting time and day. This way, we can provide a talk tailored to the age and interests of the group (and, if brownies/cubs/etc, the badge they are working towards). You will visit the oldest telescope on site, and have a stargazing session if the weather is clear - or some other activity if cloudy. We expect a suitable number of adult helpers to accompany your group to provide leadership and discipline; parents and siblings are very welcome to come along! We charge a small fee for hosting such groups: groups of fewer than 40 people will cost £50, and larger groups will cost £75. To book this option, please check the availability of dates in the calendar below, and submit the request form at the bottom of this page. 


Please note that we can only view the skies through our telescopes if the weather is clear! If it is cloudy, we can offer a talk and information about the skies instead. Unfortunately, we cannot rebook your group for another day if the weather is cloudy. If you would like to organise a school or daytime visit to the Institute, or you have any further questions, please contact Dr Matt Bothwell.


How to request a group visit:

Please complete and send the form at the bottom of the page.  The calendar below shows possible available dates for your community group booking.


Please choose only dates marked as available in the calendar above.
Please choose only dates marked as available in the calendar above.
Please choose only dates marked as available in the calendar above.

Upcoming Public Talks

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