Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society holds a number of public open evenings each year during the Autumn and Winter months.
The remaining dates for the 2017/2018 season are as follows:
- 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. However, you may be redirected to an "overflow" area. 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 or 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. Please observe instructions from the car park marshals.
When you arrive, you will normally be met and given an outline of the evenings' activities.
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 some time before being admitted to the main telescope and other activities within the Observatory building. However, if this does happen, please visit our external 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 arrive and depart . Our activities include:
- Viewing the Moon and other astronomical objects through our main telescope and 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).
- A rolling series of astronomical themed talks in our external marquee.
- Radio astronomy section - detect incoming meteors and listen to "the sounds of space".
- Children's activities including a "crater creator" and space shuttle landing flight simulator game.
- Opportunities to ask questions about astronomy or about the telescopes.
- Free factsheets and/or skymaps to take away.
- Merchandise, including excellent photos of astronomical objects.
- Refreshments and "astrodraw."
There is wheelchair access into the building and disabled toilet facilities. However, please be advised that the main telescope is accessible only by a spiral staircase.
The dome and large telescope cannot be opened up and used if the weather is wet or very windy. Even in dry conditions, it is usually cold both in the dome and outside, so warm clothing is a necessity..