Eclipse of the supermoonDate: Saturday 15th December 2018
Time: 2pm – 8pm
Venue: The Stade, Hastings Old Town


A public engagement event dedicated to our natural satellite: the Moon. Conceived and developed by Creative Space, a Community Interest Company providing free astronomy-based community events across the South East.

If skies are clear in the afternoon, we’ll kick off with some daytime lunar observing on the Stade Open Space. We’ll also be looking at the Sun through specially adapted telescopes and dedicated solar scopes. We’ll have our pop-up planetarium set up in the Hall, showing Back To The Moon For Good; a fulldome film produced by the National Space Centre about the Moon’s resources and what humanity’s future on the Moon might look like.

nasa lunar samples

During the day, we’ll also have a bunch of drop-in, hands-on activities. We’ll even have very small, but real pieces of the Moon brought to Earth by Apollo Mission astronauts in the 1960s and 70s, plus meteorites to help learn about how the Moon was made. We’ll be running a telescope clinic with advice about buying a telescope or getting help setting up your own equipment, and how best to observe the Moon. While we’re waiting for darkness to fall, there’ll be a public talk by William Joyce: Understanding the Moon. And it’s all absolutely FREE!

As the Moon rises at 12.38pm, it will be 55% illuminated. The 8-day-old Moon will be in its First Quarter phase, with lots of amazing features visible along the terminator (the division between lunar day and night). Telescopes will reveal mountains and craters in incredible detail and if visibility is good, we might even get to see the ‘Lunar X’ and ‘Lunar V’ – features on the moon that fleetingly take on an X- and V-shape when the Moon appears at First Quarter.

There’ll be an array of large and small telescopes set up (if skies are clear), many supplied and operated by members of local astronomical societies. This team of experts and enthusiasts will be on hand to guide you across the night sky and to share astronomical knowledge and expertise. Sunset will be at 3.51pm, followed by astronomical twilight, with official night-time starting at 5.53pm.

The Moon will be our main focus, but there might also be a chance to see distant Mars and Uranus. And from about 8pm onwards, the constellation of Orion will be on show with its astronomical delights. But if clouds stop play, viewing will be back inside Stade Hall with the night’s wonders on display inside the planetarium.

The best observing is under the darkest of skies. Now this is Hastings, so it’s never going to be pitch black, but the pole lights around the Open Space will be turned off for the event and lights will be dimmed inside the eat@ café. It takes 20 minutes for eyes to get used to the dark (called ‘dark adaption’), so you don’t want a white light (normal) torch to go and ruin it. You can make your own red light torch before the event, or adapt your torch in the Hall, where we’ll have the kit on hand. Or if you want to buy a red light astronomy flashlight/hands-free torch from a specialist shop, head over to 365Astronomy.

And if you fancy a beer, a glass of wine, or a delicious snack to keep you going, eat@ The Stade will be open until 5pm.

• Disabled access
• Toilets
• Refreshments (eat@ open up to 5pm)
• Parking nearby (parking info here)

2pm – 5pm:
• Lunar and solar observing with local astro societies (weather dependent)
• ‘Back To The Moon: For Good’ planetarium shows
• Hands-on, drop-in workshops and activities all about the Moon

• Telescope Clinic: advice on setting up and buying a telescope and how to best observe the Moon
• University of Sussex space activities

5pm – 6pm:
• ‘The Apollo Missions: Astronauts on the Moon’ public talk by William Joyce, FRAS

6pm – 8pm:
• Guided observing of the night sky with local astro societies (weather dependent)
• Planetarium sky tours focusing on the Moon (if cloudy)
• Telescope Clinic: advice on setting up and buying a telescope and how to best observe the Moon

With special thanks to 365Astronomy who have very kindly sponsored our Space@TheStade events, to STEM Learning and the University of Sussex Physics Department for their support, and to all the wonderful volunteers who so kindly give up their time to help us out.