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Astronomy Centre and galleries (free entry)
Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory South Building (download floor plan).
Times and admission:
Open daily 10.00–17.00; admission free.
- The oldest thing you'll ever touch – a 4.5 billion year-old meteorite
- Watch how the universe was formed – from Big Bang to now in 4 minutes
- Get answers to the big questions from our on-screen experts
- Guide a space mission
- Try your hand at being an astronomer
If you have ever wondered how stars and planets are born, what astronomers do during the daytime or even about our place in the universe, the interactive Weller Astronomy Galleries will help you unravel the mysteries of the cosmos.
See if you can find six meteoritic mirrors scattered throughout the Astronomy galleries, on display next to objects and instruments that have played a key role in our study of the Universe. Artist Matthew Luck Galpin has heated, hammered ground and polished actual meteorites into these 'Anvilled Stars'. The meteorites he has used crashed into the northern Argentinian desert 4000-6000 years ago, and are thought to be more than 4.5 billion years old.
See how the universe expanded from the smallest and how our solar system was formed.
The Astronomy Inspires gallery showcases an orrery from the 19th century which demonstrates the motion of the planets. Alongside is a state-of-the-art projection wall showing the how the Universe formed: from the Big Bang to now in 4 minutes!
Find out how to use different techniques to explore the Universe. Try your hand at guiding a space mission – you make the decisions about what to take and how to get there: will you have what it takes to lead a successful mission?
Use the interactive table-top to pick out questions about space and hear our experts give you answers to the big questions, including 'What is dark matter?'.
Events at the Observatory
See listing of all current and upcoming events at the Observatory, including planetarium shows, observing evenings and guided tours.