Public Open Evenings
Last open evening THIS Wednesday 29th March 2017!
The Institute of Astronomy is open every Wednesday evening 7 - 9pm during the Winter season.
Entrance is free, and there is * no need to book * unless you are a group of over 15 people.
What happens at a public open evening?
An astronomer from the Institute will present a half-hour public talk, starting promptly at 7.15pm. This is followed by an opportunity to look through the historical Northumberland and Thorrowgood telescopes if and only if the weather is clear. Members of the Cambridge Astronomical Association also set up modern telescopes on the observatory lawns, with video projection facility and expert commentary. We can't always guarantee observing, of course, as it is very weather-dependent. However, the talk will always take place, and on a cloudy evening will be followed by a tea break and some short entertainment from the CAA.
The main entrance doors are open by 6.45pm. Seating in the lecture theatre is available on a first-come, first-seated basis - if it's full, we'll do our best to enable you to watch a live streaming of the talk to an overspill room. We are also hoping to stream our public talks live to the web next season, and also archive the recordings.
If you wish to skip the talk and only attend the observing, please do not turn up at the telescopes before 7.45pm, as we shall still be setting up and you will be in the way...
How do I know whether observing will take place?
We have to make a decision at around 6.45pm whether to set up the telescopes or not, and it's entirely weather-dependent - we can't observe if it's misty/raining/cloudy/very windy. A basic rule of thumb is that if you can't see any stars, then neither can we!
What do I need to bring?
Observing can sometimes be cold, so please bring wrap up warmly. You are welcome to bring a torch to help you find your way about the site; but if so, please wrap up the end in something seethrough and RED (such as a transparent sweet wrapper) so you don't lose your (or anyone else's) night vision.
How do I find you and where do I park?
We have maps showing how to find the IoA . There is plenty of parking available , with 3 car parks along Madingley Rise. Please allow a little time for finding parking and walking back to the IoA; you can always drop off people at the main entrance before finding parking. Please do not park along the verge or pavement on Madingley Rise.
What about children?
Children are of course welcome; but please be aware that not all the talks will hold their interest for 30 minutes. Please look at the talk schedule to see which might be particularly suitable for a younger audience. Alternatively, it's always possible to sneak out during the talk and look at the pretty pictures around the department instead till the observing begins.