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Open evenings

You can read external reviews on Trip Advisor.

  • I expected something good but the visit surpassed expectations. We were lucky with the clear night, but in addition to the elements rated above it was wonderful to meet such a lot of enthusiastic students, staff and other helpers. It was a real privilege. I was also struck by how clearly they were able to explain things to adults and children alike. Oh and the kids really enjoyed the lovely Simmons cakes :-) Thank you so much. We hope to return one day. (February 2014)
  • I loved seeing Jupiter tonight through the telescope and would have liked a picture if at all possible. I look forward to getting the picture of my chosen Messier object but would have loved one of Jupiter too. Everyone I spoke to was informative and helpful and answered my questions in a way I could understand. I would recommend the evening to my friends without hesitation ( except I might not be able to book a place then ! ) A fabulous evening and I hope to come again next year. (February 2014)
  • A thoroughly enjoyable and educational evening and we are very grateful to Bayfordbury to allow public access. My daughter is ten and our first visit to Bayfordbury sparked an interest in astronomy and now during this visit she managed to answer all the questions in the children`s quiz correctly. Fantastic. Other members of my group were enthralled by the telescope views of Pleiades, The Moon, and especially Jupiter and its moons. The first visit for us that the sky has been clear enough. The young lady in the HD Planetarium was especially enthusiastic and we very much enjoyed her talk. So ten out of ten! Only down side was time available as we didn't manage to make the Radio Astronomy talk. (January 2014)
  • We had an unforgettable evening, especially seeing the planet Jupiter and the moon in such clarity. The Radio Talk was simply engrossing and so well presented. All the staff were so friendly and helpful. Overall a thoroughly informative and unique experience. (January 2014)
  • The students who did the clay modelling were amazing with my 6-year old son. Carla who did the planetarium talk was excellent - would really like to have longer talks in here. Everyone is always so considerate and full of information, in a way that brings space alive to my kids. We will be coming again next year. Thank you. (November 2013)
  • The planetarium should be an equal first with the telescopes. We all enjoyed it and something you never do anywhere else. The children took as much from it as we did. However we will also return without children for a more in depth and longer visit - if they will let us! Everyone who spoke to us was very knowledgeable and most importantly had an ability to communicate their knowledge to us amateurs in a manner in which we understood and fired our interest and enthusiasm. Thanks for a great evening to all. (November 2013)
  • I always find the event very informative but last night was the best night so far for observing with the optical telescopes. The varied topics of talks from one event to another is a good idea for the regulars. Thanks to everyone involved for making my evening very enjoyable.
  • Fantastic evening, thoroughly enjoyed it. The children have been to other evenings by local groups but the enthusiastic students that you had there really made the children think about it all. They loved the planetarium, and the telescopes, especially Jupiter and the Moon, also the pin-hole cameras. We will be recommending it to others. Thank you for the evening. (December 2012)
  • This evening exceeded my expectations, everyone in my party enjoyed the experience. The halloween theme was a great surprise and added to my daughters (12 years old) enjoyment. The views through the telescopes was a highlight, including the presentation on radio telescopes. Everyone was helpful, eager to answer questions and a pleasure to talk to. I would highly recommend this evening and I hope make a return visit myself in the not to distant future.
  • Nothing specific other than to say that despite the weather, my eight year-old God son (and his grandmother!) had a great time. He liked the lab activities, the planetarium and seeing the different telescopes. He enjoyed the cake afterwards too! The little pack of cards on sale at reception detailing stars and planets was very educational and we enjoyed playing the suggested game with them. Hopefully we will come again on a clear night.
  • I personal went specifically to see the telescopes and, even more specifically, to view the Andromeda Galaxy, which I had been told was one of the objects targeted by the observatory. I was lucky - it was visible! I bought my wife, two children (16 and 12) and mum (82) who only had a general interest. They all enjoyed the observing (although mum got a bit cold!) but also found the other activities as fascinating as me. Overall, I thought the evening was fantastic - the talks were pitched perfectly, the planetarium was excellent and the exhibits very interesting. I would also add that it was run by very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable people.
  • I'd like to say a huge thank you for the open evening. Everyone was so approachable and helpful, especially with my daughter who was wheelchair bound due to a broken leg. The lady who did the soldering and making of the flashy light thing, not only had the patience of a saint but also bubbled enthusiasm when working with both my children. ( Boy and girl aged 6 and 7).
  • We were a little disappointed with the timing, as this did not really allow us enough time to see and experience all that there was on offer/to see! As a large group we were very rushed and it was a squeeze to fit into the 2 talks we did manage to hear - which were both excellent. We found the planetarium very interesting and could easily have stayed longer to ask questions and see more. It was a shame about the weather, but only to be expected as this is England after all.
  • We enjoyed all the activities, especially the Planetarium in addition to the Radio Telescope Show above. A very varied and enjoyable evening; just a pity about the weather which stopped us viewing the telescopes.
  • Although I ticked talks as the most enjoyable, we also enjoyed the Radio Telescope and Planetarium show and the Labs. Overall it was an excellent visit and we would very much like to do a repeat visit next year.
  • The evenings are great, varied and cater for all levels of knowledge. If you could arrange better weather, that would help a little!!!! Thanks for inspiring evenings.
  • I love bringing my boys to your open evenings. They both have a keen interest in science and space and seeing the demonstrations, talks and being able to talk to staff/students is really inspiring for them. Thank you so much for making the evening accessible to young, curious minds. The only suggestion I have is that it would be fantastic if you did more events - specifically aimed at children.
  • The Lab activities were great too and as interesting as the Planetarium. It was great to see the telescopes in the domes but the weather was allowing it to be really show stopping. I was very impressed by the enthusiasm and care taken, thanks a lot.
  • I enjoyed the planetarium. It was a shame I missed the first talk as I was in the line. Good idea to repeat the talks. I really enjoyed the talk on comets and asteroids. Will be back later this year with the hope of looking through one of the telescopes.
  • Obviously it was unfortunate we could not see anything through the telescopes, but however it was a really interesting evening, one which i have wanted to do for a very long time. I will come along again, to talk one to one with the professors. For me this is a subject i love and want to find out a lot more. Once again i can only thank you and all those who made this a very interesting evening and hopefully i can have a look through a telescope at the night sky next time. My sincerest thanks and regards.
  • Thank you so much for a really interesting evening - our second visit and just as good as our first. We shall definitely come again and perhaps one day we will even come on a clear, starry night and be able to view the sky via one of the telescopes. We enjoyed all of the activities we went to but talks won by a whisker. Please thank everyone involved - such a friendly and welcoming group of people.
  • The lab activities were very interesting and good fun to do. The talks were a bit too technical. We would have preferred a more basic introduction to astronomy.
  • Really interesting evening, the students we spoke to were very knowledgeable and it was great to listen to them talk with such passion for the subject. Just a shame the weather was so bad! It would have been nice to know the schedule of talks before we booked as the talk I would have loved to hear was the first one but our time slot was 8pm so we missed it.
  • I always find the event very informative but last night was the best night so far for observing with the optical telescopes. The varied topics of talks from one event to another is a good idea for the regulars. Thanks to everyone involved for making my evening very enjoyable.
  • Really enjoyable evening had by all. Having such a clear night meant that people had to queue for the telescopes and that was to be expected. It may be helpful for people on arrival to be able to book slots in the planetarium for set times as while there were options at the telescopes - there was time lost from visiting the other activities because you were in the queue for the planetarium. I hope this makes sense Thanks again for a great evening.
  • We all enjoyed the only talk we attended - the Perfect Solar Storm very much too. Seeing the Moon and Jupiter through the telescope was definitely a great experience. The students and staff were very friendly and helpful. I wish I had known the programme for the evening in more detail before the trip so that I could make the most of it. We did miss out on a few activities as time was not enough. We have already booked for the 7pm slot on the next open evening and bringing our friends along who are coming all the way from Harrow as they are keen enthusiasts of Astronomy. Look forward to the next trip. Thank you.
  • We need to build a cloud moving device to allow me to see Jupiter sadly cloudy for the second year. Will be there again next year without fail. The coffee was of excellent taste and my 2 boys loved the muffins.

Group visits

  • I would just like to let you know that the Cubs had a fantastic visit to the Observatory last month.  The 20 or so cubs are predominantly boys (we now have 2 girls in the pack) and we also managed to bring along quite a few parents.  Everyone thought the visit was great fun and it has consolidated the work I had already done with them on finding Polaris and identifying constellations.  The team was fantastic with the kids and the opportunity to see the moon and Jupiter through your telescopes has really inspired a number of the Cubs.
  • Just emailing you to say how much our students enjoyed our trip. They found both the introductory talk and the planetarium show very interesting and inspiring. They also enjoyed the chance to look through a telescope at Jupiter (thanks for arranging the weather for us!) If there was anything that could have been better it would have been longer on the telescopes – taking advantage of the clear skies to see more objects. However I understand that another group's arrival was imminent so next time I'll make sure we get the later slot.
  • The weather had been a positively dreadful all day but it did not deter our senior age visitors from turning out. The lecture and questions were conducted in an age appropriate manner and the explanations were enjoyed if not thoroughly understood by us all. The walks to the telescopes was very pleasantly organised with our hosts highlighting the puddles to aid our way.  A couple of members took advantage of the lift offered.  The intricacies of the telescopes was explained and were much admired. Visits to the planetarium were really enjoyed. All in all everyone thoroughly enjoyed their visit and many of my members have expressed the desire to revisit the site on another occasion, when, hopefully the weather would be kinder to them and they would be able to view the sky through the equipment. The friendliness of our hosts was commented on.
  • The feedback I had from our group is that they very much enjoyed the visit. The Big Bang Lecture, planetarium demonstration and visit to a couple of telescopes was well-structured, informative and entertaining. We were also extremely lucky in that the clouds cleared and we had a beautiful clear night.
  • All the children thoroughly enjoyed the evening,despite it not being clear enough to look through the telescopes. The team were very engaging and made us all feel very welcome
    and encouraged the children to ask questions, and did their best to answer them. This was my second visit to the observatory (I brought my Scout group along earlier in the year and were greeted by a different team) and both visits have been excellent.
  • I just wanted to thank you again for your kind help with the Brownies when they visited the Observatory last month for the open evening. All of the Brownies went on to gain their Stargazer Badge and thoroughly enjoyed it. Building on their experiences at the Observatory, they went on in our next sessions to look at the phases of the moon (including a live demo with a floodlight and a beach ball of why the moon seems to change shape as it orbits the Earth) and made a display of the phases of the moon by nibbling a series of Jaffa Cakes into the right shapes. They also made their own 'toilet paper solar system' - a scale model of the solar system in which they positioned each planet at its correct scaled distance from the Sun by measuring out the distance along the floor in toilet paper, with Mercury being 2 sheets away and Neptune 104 sheets away. And they made their own constellation viewers out of cardboard tubes, we made our own mini-planetarium using a laptop and projector and Stellarium, and they had a demonstration of what the zodiac actually is. They all loved doing these activities and - who knows? - we may have helped a few budding scientists on their way to a lifetime of exploration. Thank you again.
  • Thank you very much for arranging the visit and talks yesterday. The whole group really enjoyed it and said they would love to come back to the open days. We had a wonderful clear night too.
  • Just to say a BIG THANKS from all of us here for affording the science students a viewing of the observatory. I have heard some very positive accounts this morning and it seems to have been a very popular, enjoyable and informative visit for all concerned. Given the popularity of the visit and the wonderful show case that it is for UH (especially with feedback into the markets from students), it would be excellent if we could arrange a trip every semester… let me know your thoughts. Please be sure to thank all the staff your end that took part, very much appreciated.
  • We all enjoyed our trip to Bayfordbury. The Brownies were full of it the following week when we met.  Indeed one of the Parents made a special effort to come in to say how much her daughter had enjoyed it and she had been looking up additional information on the internet. Can you please pass on our thanks to all those who helped with this enjoyable evening.
  • Thank you so much for organising everything and from the photos I can see that the Beavers had a great time. I am looking forward to hearing all about it to night from them. Once again thank you very much.
  • Thank you very much for the Risk Assessment, it was most useful to us to have prior to our visit.  We did enjoy the visit, and with a few of our young members who are now Cubs and starting their Astronomy Badge, it was especially beneficial. Please pass on our grateful thanks to Mark and his colleagues at your Observatory.
  • The Brownies and leaders enjoyed our visit to the Observatory very much indeed. Please thank Liz and her companion. We are hoping to re-visit next year and hope for clear skies!
  • I would like to give my sincere thanks for yours and James time on Friday night, all the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
  • Yes, just to repeat my thanks from the night - it was an excellent evening and whilst with a group of that many young people there are always a few who are "bored", the feedback on the night and since has been very positive. And of course, all the leaders had a great time - we would like to spend more time in the planetarium!!
  • We've just returned after a fascinating afternoon at the observatory, a visit quite splendidly hosted by Bob Forrest. Thank you for allowing is to come and, of course, special thanks to Bob for making it so enjoyable and interesting.

Courses

Feedback on course From Hydrogen to Humans:

  • Much improved knowledge of the Big Bang and Exoplanets. Greater understanding of the processes that happened at the start of the universe. Able to teach A-level with far more depth and also able to inspire the Key stage 4 students with more confidence.
  • Clearer understanding (at higher level) of life-cycle of stars and astrophysical processes involved. More confidence and enthusiasm for Astrophysics from my means the students are more motivated.
  • Better understanding of the formation of the universe and the elements that make it/how heavier elements are formed. Knowledge of the constellations and their history has improved and my Stellarium talk for Science Club was more interesting what I learnt.
  • Significant changes have been made to KS4 scheme introducing new practicals demonstrated. Astro club set up with a goal of setting a GCSE.