Booking A Group Visit

Please use the form at the bottom of this page to book your group visits.

The Chesterfield Astronomical Society hosts many visits for local groups such as the Brownies, Cubs, Scouts, Cadets, adult groups. We also host group visits for 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.

What do our group visits involve?

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
  • For 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!

Whether its clear or cloudy, we do our best to give you an entertaining and educational experience!

What you can expect from us

We do our best to make sure the facility is available to people with mobility issues. Use of the main telescope requires climbing some 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 – £65 for adult parties and special occasion parties and a discounted price of £45 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. 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.

Risk Assessment

We take health and safety very seriously at the observatory and if you need a copy of our visitors risk assessment report, you can find it here.

Planning your 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.

About Hastings Close

The Chesterfield Observatory is located on a small residential close. As such, parking can be a problem and we ask that all visitors, including those who drop off children or adults for group visits -consider our neighbours’ needs for parking and respect the peace and privacy to which they are entitled. Please help us to ensure we maintain a good relationship with our neighbours. Thank you.

Nights to Avoid

Although the Chesterfield Observatory is available for bookings most nights of the year, there are a couple of limitations. FRIDAY NIGHT is club night and that means that we cannot accept group bookings for this night of the week.

Additionally, the society holds a committee meeting at the observatory on the FIRST TUESDAY evening of every month so this night also cannot be booked.

We know that for some groups, avoiding the above nights can cause problems and we are sorry about that but we hope you understand why we have to decline visit bookings on these occasions. We will of course be happy to work with you to book at the Chesterfield Observatory on a different night if that is possible for you and your group.

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    Group Visits Request Form

    Your Details

    About your group

    Please note we can only take bookings for 25 or less people. If you have more, you may need to consider booking more than one visit.

    If you have chosen 'Mixed Group' please tell us if you would prefer a talk aimed at children or adults in the booking details section.

    Booking Details

    Please provide your preferred date. We will confirm the date with you. Please note we cannot accept bookings for any Friday night because this is club night and the observatory will not be available for group visits. This also applies to the first Tuesday of every month

    If you wish to ask any questions or make any comments please put these in the box below