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!
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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.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our faithful followers ❤️
14/02/2020

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our faithful followers ❤️

Happy New Year from all the Volunteers here at the Planetarium.We hope your 2020 is out of this world! Just like NGC 425...
01/01/2020

Happy New Year from all the Volunteers here at the Planetarium.
We hope your 2020 is out of this world! Just like NGC 4258, a galaxy about 23 million light years away.

Struggling to think of original gifts?Have a look in our Planetarium Gift shop before a show!We also sell gift vouchers ...
04/12/2019

Struggling to think of original gifts?
Have a look in our Planetarium Gift shop before a show!
We also sell gift vouchers so you can spread the cosmic joy!

16/07/2019

Don't forget tonight's partial eclipse! It begins at Moonrise, around 21:05 and is at maximum at 22:31, ending around midnight 🌝

Look out for this incredible event tonight! https://astronomynow.com/2019/07/15/dont-miss-tuesday-nights-partial-lunar-e...
16/07/2019
Don’t miss Tuesday night’s partial lunar eclipse – Astronomy Now

Look out for this incredible event tonight! https://astronomynow.com/2019/07/15/dont-miss-tuesday-nights-partial-lunar-eclipse/?fbclid=IwAR2wsstmS02OrxCS0pniqKcGn4hPjlG8pAwCJ04CMYr9Z3lsVhsStk8_aNo

Don’t miss Tuesday night’s partial lunar eclipse 15 July 2019 Mark Armstrong A partial eclipse of the Moon will be visible from across the UK on the evening of 16/17 July, with the Moon rising already partially immersed in Earth’s deep umbral shadow. You’ll need to find an observing site wit...

Our MoonFest programme of events in July celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landing. Come and join...
11/07/2019

Our MoonFest programme of events in July celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landing. Come and join in the fun!

The Diamond Ring of yesterday’s total solar eclipse. Captured by our very own Dr. Mason at Villaseca in the Elqui Valley...
04/07/2019

The Diamond Ring of yesterday’s total solar eclipse. Captured by our very own Dr. Mason at Villaseca in the Elqui Valley, Chile.

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 who was ...
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 yo...
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 ti...
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...! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

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Kingsham Rd
Chichester
PO19 8AE

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As we are a charitable organisation, we are not always open for visitors unless there is a scheduled event taking place. Please call ahead or check our website for our opening hours and please be advised that our tills on site can only accept payment either by cash or cheque (cards can be used for online booking but not on site).

If travelling using SatNav, please use the postcode PO19 8AE

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