Group Visits

Please use this form to book a group visit

The Chesterfield Astronomical Society hosts many visits for local groups such as the Brownies, Cubs, Scouts, Cadets, adult groups and special events parties for people who fancy a different kind of night out. Many people choose to organise visits to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries too.

An evening at the observatory typically involves the following activities:

  • Talks about space in the lecture room
  • Q & A - we encourage all our visitors to ask questions about astronomy
  • Time in the dome learning about and using the main telescope
  • Time outside using one or more of our smaller telescopes
  • Star-pointing and star-hopping to teach you how to find your way around the night sky

If you are thinking about organising a visit for your Brownies or Cubs, we can make sure we cover subjects required for the Stargazer badge.

We always check if the International Space Station is due over during your visit and if it is, we’ll make sure you get the chance to see it!

We can’t guarantee the weather when you visit but we do our best to give you an entertaining and educational experience not matter if it is clear or cloudy.

Although we do our best to make sure the facility is available to people with mobility issues, use of the main telescope requires climbing a few steps so please bear this in mind when you are booking. For anyone who might not be able to get the full experience of using the main telescope, the smaller scopes outside provide alternative opportunities for stargazing. If you have any concerns or specific requirements, please let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. The facility is wheelchair friendly.

We can host your visit most days of the week but we cannot accept bookings on a Friday because this is club night when our members spend time at the observatory and the first Tuesday in every month is reserved for our Committee meetings. Although we don’t want to put you off visiting, it would be impossible for us to give you our full attention on a club night. However, you are welcome to join us any other evening including Saturdays and Sundays.

We have two prices for visits – £50 for adult parties and special occasion parties and a discounted price of £35 for visits for organised youth groups and clubs.

We kindly ask that you do not eat at the observatory during your visit. We’re sure you can appreciate that we have to be careful not to get food, drink or sticky fingers on our very sensitive astronomical equipment.

If you would like to make further enquiries, please use our contact form available from the menu at the top of this screen. You are welcome to call us instead but you’ll need to provide your requirements in writing at some stage. Please can you also give us a choice of three dates if possible to help us manage dates that clash with other bookings.

Please use this form to book a group visit

A night at the observatory is an unforgettable experience. We make sure we talk about astronomy in non-technical terms wherever possible and only lightly touch on the more complex aspects of the subject. With this in mind, youngsters under the age of 8 may find some topics difficult to understand.

Here are a few tips to help you plan your visit:

  • The best time of the year to visit is during winter or early spring
  • If you book before November or after March, the clocks will be set to British Summer Time so it will get dark a little later in the evening and during summer, you can’t do much stargazing before 10 o’clock or later
  • If you are coming in winter, make sure your party all wrap up warm. Although the lecture room is usually warm, everywhere else is very cold!
  • If you bring a compact camera or a camera phone, you’ll be able to take pictures through the telescope. This can be a bit fiddly but is well worth it.
  • We can accommodate a maximum of 25 people. Sorry but we do not have a large enough lecture room to accommodate more. Also, 25 people queuing in the observatory dome to use the telescope can take quite a while.
  • The evening is yours so we’ll stay open as long as you want.
  • We’re usually happy to provide at least two talks although we normally break after the first talk so that you can spend time in the dome and come back to the lecture room for another talk later if you want to.
  • If you or any of your party want to join the society, you will be very welcome to complete a membership form.

The cost of the evening is as stated irrespective of the weather. We are a registered charity with minimal income and group visits help us to maintain the observatory and the equipment housed in it. No individual makes money from visits.

Please use this form to book a group visit

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