Public Open Evenings

Public open evenings are held at Bayfordbury Observatory around once a month between October and March.

Spaces are limited so booking is required in advance.

Visitors to BayfordburyWhat you can expect

During these events, you can:

  • See some of our optical telescopes and, weather permitting, view interesting objects in the sky both looking through the telescopes and using high-sensitivity cameras.
  • Meet the researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students from the University's Department of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics.
  • See expert demonstrations in our lab.
  • Attend talks on various astronomy topics.
  • Talk to members of the local Hertford Astronomy Group
  • Enjoy a tour around the sky in one of our planetariums.

These evenings are tailored specifically for the public so that adults and children alike can all enjoy the event, regardless of previous experience with astronomy.

Please note that the position and visibility of planets and the Moon change throughout the year, and we may not be able to show you your favourites. This is unfortunately beyond our control. Only the very brightest planets, and a handful of galaxies and nebulae will show any detail or colour with an eyepiece, and therefore many of the telescopes will be equipped with sensitive cameras to show you live images of targets that would otherwise be invisible to your eye.

If we do not have any Open Evenings coming up, consider our community visits, which are run all year round. Perfect for individuals, families or small groups, these are a blend of our popular Open Evenings and Group Visits.

If you have a group of more than 10, for the best experience please consider our private group visits which will allow us to tailor your visit to the experience of attendees and give you a fully guided tour. Run all year round, find out more about booking a group visit. Open evenings are not tailored towards large groups.

Ticket Prices

  • Adults: £15
  • Concessions: £8 (Under 13s, people in receipt of Universal Credit, Income Support or Job Seekers allowance, and disabled people (with free entry for one carer) are entitled to a concession discount.)
  • Children under 3 are free.

Upcoming open evenings

  • Friday 1st December 2023 -  BOOK TICKETS
  • Friday 19th January 2024
  • Friday 16th February 2024
  • Friday 15th March 2024

Tickets are released approximately one month in advance of the Open Evening date.

Booking and payment is required in advance as spaces are limited and demand is high.

We have a range of staggered arrival times to manage limited parking. Visits are expect to last no more than 2 hours.

Booking is online only and we cannot take payment on the door.

Other events

We have other opportunities to visit Bayfordbury Observatory, please see our event options of Community visits, Group visits and School trips. Or we could visit you with our Mobile Planetarium.

Previous open evenings

3rd Nov 2023 - General Open Evening
24 Mar 2023 - General Open Evening
24 Feb 2023 - General Open Evening
27 Jan 2023 - General Open Evening
02 Dec 2022 - General Open Evening
04 Nov 2022 - General Open Evening
11 Mar 2022 - General Open Evening
25 Feb 2022 - JWST Special
27 Mar 2020 - Cancelled
28 Feb 2020 - General Open Evening
31 Jan 2020 - General Open Evening
06 Dec 2019 - General Open Evening
15 Feb 2019 - General Open Evening
08 Dec 2018 - General Open Evening
09 Mar 2018 - Art meets Science at Bayfordbury
16 Feb 2018 - General Open Evening
26 Jan 2018 - General Open Evening
24 Nov 2017 - General Open Evening
20 Oct 2017 - General Open Evening
31 Mar 2017 - Stargazing Live
03 Mar 2017 - Astrophotography and the Role of Amateur Astronomers
10 Feb 2017 - The Next Century of Space Exploration
20 Jan 2017 - Black Holes, Tiny and Huge
09 Dec 2016 - The Next Century of Astrophysics
11 Nov 2016 - Exoplanets/Proxima B special
18 Mar 2016 - Galaxies: from the Big Bang till today
26 Feb 2016 - The Milky Way: The Galaxy we live in
22 Jan 2016 - BBC Stargazing Event / Research Student's Jamboree
27 Nov 2015 - Planets: from Pluto to exoplanets
30 Oct 2015 - Special guest: Stuart Clark
March 2015 - BBC Stargazing Live
February 2015 - International Year of Light
January 2015 - General Open Evening
December 2014 - Comets and Asteroids
October 2014 - Halloween Special
March 2014 - Art and Astronomy
February 2014 - Galaxies special
January 2014 -  BBC Stargazing Live
December 2013 - Student's Life
November 2013  - Life of Stars
October 2013 - Atmospheric Physics
March 2013 - Astrophotography & Comet Panstarrs
February 2013 - Extrasolar Planets
January 2013 -  BBC stargazing live / MSc-PhD flash talks
December 2012 - Rockets and Space Exploration
November 2012 - Halloween astronomy
October 2012 - ESO's 50th birthday
March 2012 - Light Pollution
January 2012 - BBC Stargazing Special
December 2011 - Bayfordbury and black holes
November 2011 - Nebulae open night
March 2011 - Lab special
February 2011 - Radio and Rockets
January 2011 - Radio night
December 2010 - Exoplanets and Life
November 2010 - Cosmic Fireworks
March 2010 - Herschel Infrared Space Telescope
February 2010 - Herschel Infrared Space Telescope
November 2009 - Starry Messenger and Real Rockets

What our
visitors say

What ourvisitors say

The view through the telescopes was a highlight. I would highly recommend this evening and I hope to make a return visit in the not to distant future.