Date: Saturday 23rd May 2015
Time: 7.30pm – midnight
Venue: The Stade, Hastings TN34 3FJ

Price: FREE

Conceived for the Stade Open Space, this public engagement event aims to be an evening of awe and wonder… a spectacular FREE astronomy event for Hastings. 

Ever wanted to see Saturn through a telescope? Well this is the night for you! On the evening of 23rd May, Saturn will be at opposition: an astronomical event that happens once a year when the planet is opposite the Sun as seen from Earth. So this is the best night of the year to view Saturn and its beautiful rings as it appears at its closest to us on its journey around the Solar System. With powerful telescopes to view this astronomical jewel, and an illustrated talk to explain the science, this event will open your eyes to the wonder of Saturn.

And if you fancy a beer, a glass of wine, or some delicious food to keep you going through the evening, eat @ The Stade will open for the event. 

The evening will start with solar viewing through dedicated solar scopes, together with specially adapted telescopes and binoculars; this will run alongside drop-in activities (see Programme below) including a Telescope Clinic, where you can get advice about buying a telescope or get help setting up your own equipment. 

cassini spacecraft orbiting saturnStade Hall will then play host to a talk by Hastings astronomer and space science communicator, Melanie Davies, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. The talk will focus on the international Cassini-Huygens mission to the ringed planet and its many moons. This bold mission has returned a bonanza of breathtaking images and awesome planetary science. 

Following the talk, it’s back outside to marvel at Saturn and its cosmic bling. There’ll be an array of powerful telescopes available, plus smaller scopes and binoculars, many of them supplied and operated by members of Ashford, Seven Sisters, and East Sussex Astronomical Societies. This team of experts and enthusiasts will be on hand to guide you across the night sky, whilst sharing their astronomical knowledge and expertise. Venus, Jupiter and the Moon will also be gracing the night sky; so if it’s clear, there’s a good chance of seeing them too. If it’s overcast outside, there’ll be a planetarium-style sky tour inside Stade Hall, showing the night’s wonders culminating in the jewel of the Solar System… Saturn, with Q&As throughout the show.

There’ll be a Red Light Rule throughout the hours of darkness, when white light (normal) torches will be banned! It takes 20 minutes for eyes to get used to the dark, so you don’t want a white light torch beam to go and ruin it. We’ll have a free drop-in activity either side of the talk where you can make your own ‘red light torch’ – just bring your own ordinary torch and we’ll help you with the rest. Alternatively, you can make your own before the event, or buy a red light astronomy torch/head torch from a specialist shop or eBay.

IMPORTANT: Wrap up warm as the evenings are still chilly after dark.


• Disabled access
• Toilets
• Refreshments

• The Bourne Car Park: £1 from 6pm until 8am, 29 spaces

• Rock-A-Nore Car Park: £1 from 6pm until 11.30pm (barrier restriction 11.30pm – 7.30am), 450 spaces



• Solar observing through solar scopes and filtered telescopes (weather permitting)
• Telescope Clinic: Get advice about buying a telescope or get help setting up your own equipment
• ‘Make A Star Wheel’ drop-in activity
• ‘Make Your Own Red Light Torch’ drop-in activity
• Citizen science with Galaxy Zoo

• ‘Cassini-Huygens: A Journey to Saturn’ talk by Melanie Davies FRAS

• Guided observing of Saturn through large and small telescopes (weather permitting)
• OR Planetarium-style sky tour focusing on Saturn
• Telescope Clinic: Get advice about buying a telescope or get help setting up your own equipment
• ‘Make A Star Wheel’ drop-in activity
• ‘Make Your Own Red Light Torch’ drop-in activity
• Citizen science with Galaxy Zoo

• Finish


“Saturn is such an alluring photographic target. It’s a joy to be able to take our images and composite them in an artful way, which is one of my cardinal working goals. It’s about poetry and beauty and science all mixed together.”

Carolyn Porco, planetary scientist and imaging team leader for the Cassini Mission



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