South Downs Planetarium

South Downs Planetarium South Downs Planetarium is an exciting place for people of all ages to visit. Sit back and relax. Get lost in our stunning full dome images and breathtaking videos whilst our enthusiastic lecturers take you on a mind blowing journey through space!

The Southdowns Planetarium and Science Centre is a charitable organisation set up to promote science and, in particular, Astronomy. Based in Chichester the Planetarium provides Public Shows on Astronomy on selected days, including most Sunday, Fridays and school holidays, all presented by the very knowledgeable Dr John Mason. Its primary aim is, however, to provide educational support in science to visiting schools from West Sussex and Hampshire. The Charitable Trust is a self funded organisation and any support you can provide is most welcome. Visiting a public show is not only fascinating but helps support science education in the area.

24/04/2019

Honoured to see Dr. Brian May unveil a Blue Plaque in memory of our founder Sir Patrick Moore. Introduced by our very own Dr. John Mason

In celebration of #InternationalWomensDay we honour our very own Helen Sharman OBE, who became the first Brit in Space o...
08/03/2019

In celebration of #InternationalWomensDay we honour our very own Helen Sharman OBE, who became the first Brit in Space over 25 years ago!

11/10/2018

Take a quick look at our #PrioryPark100 events! Thank you to everyone who was able to come along. Keep checking back to see details about any future observing sessions 🔭🌞🌔⭐️

Just one of the stunning images taken tonight using a small telescope and a smartphone 🔭📱 Thank you to everyone wh...
25/09/2018

Just one of the stunning images taken tonight using a small telescope and a smartphone 🔭📱 Thank you to everyone who was able to join us today for the daytime solar observing session and night sky event.

At last!.......
26/08/2018
BIG SUNSPOT ALERT:

At last!.......

For most of 2018, the solar disk has been blank without a trace of even the smallest sunspot. This weekend something different is happening. A large sunspot has suddenly emerged, growing rapidly into a sprawling group with two dark cores as wide as Earth. Satellites are monitoring the region to see....

Our upper atmosphere just gets more and more interesting..........
16/08/2018
A MYSTERY IN THE MESOSPHERE:

Our upper atmosphere just gets more and more interesting..........

This summer, something strange has been happening in the mesosphere--a layer of Earth's atmosphere so high that it nearly touches space. The mesosphere is the realm of noctilucent clouds, electric-blue glowing forms that are seeded by meteor smoke. Lately, these clouds have been glowing more brightl...

If it's clear - this should be good!
26/07/2018
LUNAR ECLIPSE AND MARTIAN CONJUNCTION

If it's clear - this should be good!

Friday, July 27th, is a big night for astronomy. Mars will be at opposition, making a 15-year close approach to Earth. The full Moon and Mars will be in conjunction. And, best of all, the Moon will pass through the shadow of Earth, producing the longest lunar eclipse in a century. Visit today's edit...

ESO News
18/07/2018
ESO News

ESO News

ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has achieved first light with a new adaptive optics mode called laser tomography — and has captured remarkably sharp test images of the planet Neptune, star clusters and other objects. The pioneering MUSE instrument in Narrow-Field Mode, working with the GALACSI ...

Beauty in the Cosmos!
12/07/2018
Colourful Celestial Landscape

Beauty in the Cosmos!

New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope show the star cluster RCW 38 in all its glory. This image was taken during testing of the HAWK-I camera with the GRAAL adaptive optics system. It shows RCW 38 and its surrounding clouds of brightly glowing gas in exquisite detail, with dark tendrils...

This could become a naked eye object through August!!!!
05/07/2018
APPROACHING GREEN COMET EXPLODES:

This could become a naked eye object through August!!!!

A comet that could become visible to the naked eye in August has exploded in brightness, suddenly increasing its luminosity 16-fold. Whatever happened on Comet PANSTARRS (C/2017 S3) on July 1st has given it an expanding green atmosphere almost twice the size of the planet Jupiter. Visit today's edit...

Should be seen through your own telescope!
03/07/2018
DUST STORM ALTERS THE APPEARANCE OF MARS

Should be seen through your own telescope!

A martian dust storm that started in late May, silencing NASA's Opportunity rover, has now wrapped itself around the entirety of Mars, radically transforming the appearance of the Red Planet. Amateur astronomers are taking pictures of the storm through backyard telescopes, and even naked-eye observe...

Look to the South East from around 10.30pm onwards......
01/07/2018
THE MOON VISITS MARS:

Look to the South East from around 10.30pm onwards......

Tonight, the gibbous Moon is passing by Mars, forming a heavenly duo in the constellation Capricornus. With Mars approaching Earth for a 15-year close encounter in late July, the Red Planet has become one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Its distinctive rusty hue is easy to see even in bri...

Have you registered to support us through easyfundraising yet? It’s a really simple way to raise money for us through ...
27/06/2018
South Downs Planetarium Fundraising Ideas | easyfundraising.org.uk

Have you registered to support us through easyfundraising yet?

It’s a really simple way to raise money for us through your everyday online shopping with over 3,300 big name retailers including Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, Booking.com, and it’s completely free!

Please support us: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/sdplanetarium/

Help South Downs Planetarium raise money by using easyfundraising.org.uk every time you shop online.

You must see this tonight!
27/06/2018
BRIGHT MOON-SATURN CONJUNCTION:

You must see this tonight!

Tonight, Saturn is "at opposition"--bigger, brighter, and closer to Earth than at any other time in 2018. To find the ringed planet, look south at midnight. You'll see it shining like a golden star right beside the full "Strawberry Moon" in the constellation Sagittarius. This is also the best night....

Not even the clouds could dampen our Summer Star Club meeting! We would like to thank all our supporters and members and...
17/06/2018

Not even the clouds could dampen our Summer Star Club meeting! We would like to thank all our supporters and members and in particular, we would like to give special thanks to our furthest travelling member, Peter (pictured here alongside Dr. Mason) who travelled all the way from Wareham in Dorset!

Do you want to be part of our club? Members only pay £10 a year (£15 for families) and receive a generous discount on ...
06/06/2018

Do you want to be part of our club? Members only pay £10 a year (£15 for families) and receive a generous discount on tickets and merchandise, our quarterly newsletter and an invite to our famous Summer and Christmas social events! Our next Star Club event is next week so join us NOW to be part of the fun! To subscribe, or to gift a subscription please call or email us on 01243774400 or [email protected]

Nothing to be alarmed about....
04/06/2018
A SMALL ASTEROID HITS EARTH:

Nothing to be alarmed about....

A small asteroid hit Earth on Saturday, June 2nd, exploding like 500 tons of TNT in the atmosphere over Botswana before it could reach the ground. The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona discovered the space rock just hours earlier as it hurtled toward our planet from inside the orbit of the Moon. Visit....

As part of the Selsey Walking Festival 2018, we led a fascinating guided tour of the night sky along Selsey shore tonigh...
31/05/2018

As part of the Selsey Walking Festival 2018, we led a fascinating guided tour of the night sky along Selsey shore tonight. Although it was a misty night, the views were stunning. Jupiter was particularly spectacular and so bright, it is visible on camera. We even waved to the astronauts onboard the ISS as it passed overhead!

Spaceweather.com
25/05/2018

Spaceweather.com

JELLYFISH SPRITES OVER OKLAHOMA: Last night, May 24th, a swarm of luminous jellyfish appeared over Oklahoma. "A swarm of jellyfish *sprites*, that is," says Paul Smith, who photographed them rising above an intense thunderstorm near Oklahoma City.

"The sprites were about 80 miles away from me," says Smith. "At that distance I could see over the tops of the storm cells where the jellyfish appear. I've photographed many sprites from 200 to 300 miles away. These, however, were unusually nearby, and they are my best pictures yet."

Sprites are an exotic form of upward directed lightning. Although the forms have been seen for at least a century, many scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now "sprite chasers" like Smith routinely photograph them from their own homes.

"I have been recording sprites since last summer when I accidentally caught a few during the Perseid meteor shower," says Smith. "I have a couple of hundred events on camera now and I am out almost every night there are storms in my vicinity. This month I have driven for five hours some nights trying to find a clear view over active cells."

Oklahoma is the epicenter of a region that we call "Sprite Alley"--a corridor stretching across the US Great Plains where intense thunderstorms produce lots of upward directed lightning. Already this year we have received reports of sprites and their stronger cousins, Gigantic Jets, from Texas to Nebraska. And summer thunderstorm season isn't even fully underway yet.

Some researchers think that sprites may be linked to cosmic rays: Subatomic particles from deep space strike the top of Earth's atmosphere, producing secondary electrons that trigger the upward bolts. If this is true, then sprites could multiply in the months and years ahead as cosmic rays intensify due to the decline of the solar cycle.

We are very happy to announce that you can now use our secure online booking system to pay for your tickets in advance! ...
16/05/2018

We are very happy to announce that you can now use our secure online booking system to pay for your tickets in advance! Tickets can still be reserved via our ticket line and paid for on the day of the show using cash or cheque. Booking is strongly recommended as our shows are often sold out https://www.southdowns.org.uk/Events.html

Big news coming soon...! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
12/05/2018

Big news coming soon...! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

Glad to hear Rumbolds Whyke CofE Infant School enjoyed their visit! Do you know any schools that would love to visit the...
26/03/2018
Chichester Post

Glad to hear Rumbolds Whyke CofE Infant School enjoyed their visit! Do you know any schools that would love to visit the Planetarium? Tell them all about us!

School children from Rumbolds Whyke C of E Infant School went to infinity and beyond with a trip to the South Downs Planetarium
Find out more here:
http://www.chichesterpost.co.uk/2018/03/pupils-go-world/

What a lovely surprise from Windlesham Pre-prep! Thank you to the Eights (Year 1) for your fantastic card, glad you enjo...
16/03/2018

What a lovely surprise from Windlesham Pre-prep! Thank you to the Eights (Year 1) for your fantastic card, glad you enjoyed your visit!

We were lucky enough to attend the ceremony and meet astronaut Tim Peake yesterday! Please share your pictures and selfi...
26/02/2018

We were lucky enough to attend the ceremony and meet astronaut Tim Peake yesterday! Please share your pictures and selfies with us if you were there too!

Nightwatch on the South Downs
14/02/2018
Nightwatch on the South Downs

Nightwatch on the South Downs

You are cordially invited to join us for an evening of Star Gazing. ADMISSION - FREE Suitable for all ages Come and see the Moon & Stars at Kennel Hill, Goodwood 6.30pm to 8.30pm (weather permitting) See some of the highlights of the night sky, close up, including:The Moon Wintertime Stars Star Clus...

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13/02/2018
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13/02/2018
Slindon College - Star Party - HAPPENING!

Slindon College - Star Party - HAPPENING!

WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT TONIGHT'S STAR PARTY AT SLINDON COLLEGEIS GOING AHEAD AS PLANNED!The weather is clearing and we should expect some clear skies  so You are cordially invited to join us for an evening of Star Gazing. ADMISSION - FREE Suitable for all ages Come and see the wonders of the wi...

Star Gazing Event
11/02/2018
Star Gazing Event

Star Gazing Event

You are cordially invited to join us for an evening of Star Gazing. ADMISSION - FREE Suitable for all ages Come and see the wonders of the winter night sky at Slindon College on Tuesday, 13th February 2018 6.30pm to 8.30pm (weather permitting) See some of the highlights of the night sky, close up, i...

South Downs Planetarium's cover photo
31/01/2018

South Downs Planetarium's cover photo

South Downs Planetarium
31/01/2018

South Downs Planetarium

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Kingsham Rd
Chichester
PO19 8AE

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