Leonids Shooting Stars

The Observatory Science Centre, Wartling Road, Wartling, Herstmonceux, East Sussex, BN27 1RN
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Leonids Shooting Stars
16 November 2024. The debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle gives rise to the Leonids meteor shower and the debris trail left behind by comet Encke gives rise to the Taurid meteor shower. Join us for an informative talk before heading out to try and spot some meteors (shooting stars). If the weather is good you will also have an opportunity to look through an historic telescope; we have some of the largest working telescopes in the country.

The Leonid meteor shower occurs as Earth passes through the deris trail left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle. These meteors are very fast and often leave persistent trains behind them. The peak activity is the evening of the 17th and pre-dawn hours of the 18th November when you may see about 10 meteors per hour. While we are just past the peak you should be able to still see a good few meteors. The natural limits of the shower are 6th - 30th November. The phase of the Moon is one day after full Moon so pretty bright.

The Taurids shower marks the time when the Earth passes through the dust trail of comet Encke. The debris left behind by comet Enke is the largest in the inner solar system and it takes several weeks for the Earth to pass through this trail giving an extended period of activity; 20th October - 10th December. The peak activity for the Taurids is on the 12th November but given the protracted period of activity you may see meteors from comet Enke too.

While we don't use the telescopes to spot meteors, if the weather does permit you will get a chance to look at some other interesting celestial objects through the large telescopes.

The evening aims to be both informal and informative with a talk presented by a guest speaker. Following the talk, if the weather is nice and clear you will have the opportunity to try and spot some fast moving meteors with the unaided eye and look through the telescopes at other interesting celestial objects. If the weather is unsuitable for viewing, the talk will go ahead regardless and a comprehensive tour of the telescopes will replace viewing. On the tour you will be taken into domes not open to the public during the day. We DO NOT cancel this event if the weather is unsuitable for viewing.

PLEASE NOTE: Gates open at 6.30pm and the talk will be at 8.15pm. The Centre closes at midnight. All the exhibits will be available for you to explore when you arrive.

Itinerary for the evening:

6.30pm: gates open (please arrive before 7.30pm). You will be issued with a coloured itineray and map.
6.30pm - 8.00pm: Food served from the Launch Box; drinks/snacks including a bar served from the cafe; time to explore the exhibits and the exhibitions. Astronomers will be based in the domes and while it will be too light to see anything through the telescopes you can go along and have a chat to them (bear in mind you will be going into the domes following the talk. Viewing is subject to weather).
8.15pm - 9.15pm: Talk
9.30pm - 12.00am: Groups will be taken to each area (domes E, D & C and the lawns) for viewing (weather permitting). You will be in each area for 30 minutes before moving on to the next area (this will be clearly marked on your coloured itinerary).
12.00am: Centre closes

The Launch Box serves:
Burger & Fries
Cheeseburger & Fries
Falafel Burger & Fries
Frankfurter Hot Dog & Fries
The cafe will also be open for hot/cold drinks and snacks plus alcoholic beverages.

Following the talk, if the weather is nice and clear you will have the opportunity to try and spot some fast moving meteors with the unaided eye and look through the telescopes at other interesting celestial objects.

If the weather is unsuitable for viewing, the talk will go ahead regardless and a comprehensive tour of the telescopes will replace viewing. On the tour you will be taken into domes not open to the public during the day.

Numbers are limited to 100 (age 18+ only), so book early to secure your place.

The evening aims to be both informal and informative.

Booking essential

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Map & Directions

Opening Times

. (16 Nov 2024 - 17 Nov 2024)
DayTimes
Saturday - Sunday18:30 - 00:00

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