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Observatory update NOV 2023

The Observatory is now re-opening after extensive works.

FOLLOW US ON EVENTBRITE giving your email address to get notifications of openings.

You will need to BOOK A TIME SLOT

HSS Observatory

Opening status The observatory is re-opening November 2023.
In order to keep things reasonably safe for both you and our staff we are introducing a ticketing system, to ensure there are not too many people at once in the small space we have. And be aware that openings are dependent inevitably on the weather and the availability of volunteers on the day.
Book your time slot via eventbrite.
Eventbrite will show no upcoming event until a couple of days before an opening, as opening is staff and weather dependent.
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Check on Eventbrite from Thursday mornings to Friday evenings to see if we might be opening for the Friday or Saturday nights. Thank you for your patience.
Book via eventbrite
Opening season We normally open Mid Sept - Mid-April, but we do vary this from year to year depending on the position and visibility of the bright planets.
Normally, the observatory is closed during the Summer, because during this time, the night sky does not really get dark and we need time to carry out cleaning and repairs. We may open on special occasions.
Opening times 11am-1pm CLEAR Sundays. NO Friday and Saturday night openings at the moment. Staffing limitation may mean we cannot open every clear weekend.
Daylight opening is to observe the Sun.
Exceptions Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day. We usually close on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day as well.
Special Events Click here We will also occasionally open 'out of season' to cover such events as eclipses, transits and the unexpected arrival of bright comets. Clear skies permitting of course.
Booking Check on Eventbrite from Thursday mornings to Friday evenings to see if we might be opening for the Friday or Saturday nights.
Book via eventbrite.
Eventbrite will show no upcoming event until a couple of days before an opening, as opening is staff and weather dependent.
Donations welcomed.
Remember: the observatory will only be open
IF THE SKY IS CLEAR and volunteers are available.
Location Lower Terrace, near Whitestone Pond.
Latitude: 51° 33.2' N.
Longitude: 0h 10.5m W.
Altitude: 175m.
[Map to HSS observatory]
TUBE: take the Edgware branch of the Northern line to Hampstead station (zone 2). From here you'll have a short walk up the hill along Heath Street to the observatory.
BUS: the 210 and 268 have stops near to the observatory. The 268 stops on Heath Street and the 210 on Spaniards Road.
CAR: there is parking available on Hampstead Grove and Lower Terrace. N.B. You can park in any of the 'residents' parking bays after 8:00 p.m. but do look and take note of the parking restrictions sign-posts, as enforcement in Hampstead can only be described as 'draconian'.

This is a small observatory which is one of the few, if not the only, observatory in London to provide for public viewing of the night sky. The observatory is one of the most visible ways the HSS promotes science providing views of the Moon, planets and other objects of interest on Friday and Saturday evenings. A more detailed listing can be found along this link.



The main instrument at the observatory is a fabulous piece of kit: a 6" Cooke refracting telescope which dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Despite being so old it delivers superb views of London's night sky. It is housed under a purpose-built rotating dome and mounted on a concrete pier. So it really looks like you'd expect. We also have a smaller portable 6", the 'Wildey' named after our former astronomical secretary Henry Wildey, who made it and also bequeathed funds to the society. In addition to these instruments, members sometimes bring up their own telescopes and binoculars.

If you are considering purchasing your own telescope, remember, that our experienced telescope makers and users will be on hand to offer advice and can often point you in the right direction to save time and money. if you would like to try building your own telescope, then we can even help with this. The Society is affiliated to C.A.T.S - the Camden Amateur Telescope Society. C.A.T.S. holds fortnightly meetings at the Highgate Newtown Community Centre where you can learn how to grind your own telescope mirrors and make your own instrument from scratch. There are few more fulfilling persuits than observing the wonders of the Universe with an instrument that you have made yourself. For further details contact our Joint Astronomical Secretary Simon Lang, FRAS, or go to the CATS website or make enquiries to ausa60@dsl.pipex.com



One point which can not be over stressed. If it is raining, cloudy, or blowing a gale, the observatory will be closed. Common sense dictates that if the sky is not clear then there's no point standing about looking at a dull orange glow getting cold and wet. Bar heaters and fires have the same basic hue and will be superior companions on such nights. If you want a high-tech solution then following this link will open a new window to an external site.



Our observatory cuts a striking figure inside and out, and here are some pictures.


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Registered Charity No. 278114.

Last modified: Nov 2023 JAA