Watch cult films The Thing (1982) at London's only planetarium in our Silver Screen Sci-Fi season in December, and Renaissance (2006) in January. 

December 2015–January 2016

Admission charges apply to planetarium shows, Flamsteed House and Meridian Courtyard, courses and some events – see below for details. Entry into the Astronomy Centre is free.

Exhibitions and Events

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015

The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich displays the spectacular winning images from this year’s competition in the Observatory’s Astronomy Centre.

From distant galaxies to our very own Milky Way and neighbouring planets, the entries to this year’s competition reflect our enduring fascination with the night sky. Images on display include the winners from the nine main categories, as well as two special prize winners.

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 is organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Entry to the Astronomy Centre and to the exhibition is free of charge.

Special Events

An Evening with the Stars

The popular after dark experience at the Royal Observatory Greenwich includes a show in London’s only public planetarium and the chance to look through the gigantic Great Equatorial Telescope at what the night sky has to offer. Plus, spend some time on the Greenwich Meridian with a hot drink, an amazing view and astronomers on hand to answer all your space-related questions.

Note: In the event of adverse weather conditions observing may not be possible. A presentation by one of our astronomers will replace the observing session. No refunds can be provided.

Silver Screen Sci-Fi Showing – The Thing

From the influential filmmaker, John Carpenter, The Thing has become a cult classic since its inception in 1982.

When scientists in the Antarctic discover that a shape-shifting alien has infiltrated their camp and is assuming the forms of those it kills, they set out to try and destroy the beast before paranoia consumes them and dooms mankind.

Following the movie there will be a talk from one of our astronomers on the science behind the film. Popcorn, confectionery, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase in the Planetarium foyer before the event.

Silver Screen Sci-Fi Showing – Renaissance

Starring Daniel Craig, Renaissance (2006) is a stylish black and white animation set in dystopian Paris in the year 2054.

In this distant future, the city is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded, and casting a shadow over everything is the city's largest company, Avalon. As a police captain tries to find a kidnapped scientist, he unwittingly uncovers a dark conspiracy involving the company.

Following the movie there will be a talk from one of our astronomers on the science behind the film. Popcorn, confectionery, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase in the Planetarium foyer before the event. #

Date: 9 January 2016 | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium, Royal Observatory Greenwich | Time: 18.00-20.15 | Admission: £8.00 adult, £7.00 concession, £6 child or guardian | Age: 15+

Royal Observatory Greenwich Christmas Lecture

Join leading space scientist, Professor Monica Grady, as she explores the winter wonderland revealed on the surface of the comet known as ‘The Rubber Duck’ by the pioneering Rosetta spacecraft and its lander, Philae.

Grady was involved with the Philae lander project from very early on and also worked on a component of the project – a shoe-box-sized gas analysis instrument – called Ptolemy.

Think Space Lecture

Find out about the latest research and developments in astrophysics with our Think Space Lectures. No prior knowledge is required, just a healthy dose of curiosity.

Date: 12 January 2016| Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium, Royal Observatory Greenwich | Time: 19.00-20.30 | Admission: £6.00 adult, £5.00 child or guardian | Age: 11+

Adult Courses

Introduction to Astronomy

Taught by astronomer Greg Smye-Rumsby, this 6-week course provides an excellent introduction to astronomy from historical, scientific and practical perspectives.

Digital Astrophotography with a Telescope

A must for amateur photographers and astronomers looking to develop new skills in photographing the night sky with a telescope, this course provides information and advice on equipment, planning shoots and processing images and is taught by Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer, Tom Kerss.

Participants will require some familiarity with the use of telescopes. For those without experience of using a telescope, the Practical Observing for Beginners course offers an excellent introduction.

Family Events Weekend

Space Cadets

Come along to our new programme of weekend family workshops and participate in a wide range of activities related to space science and exploration: from life on the International Space Station to the latest robotic missions exploring the solar system and beyond.

Meet the Time Travellers: Nevil Maskelyne

Meet time-travelling Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne, and his human computer, Mary Edwards, in the Meridian Courtyard to find out about their life and work at Greenwich in the 18th century.

Talking the Line

Enjoy a range of public talks and activities delivered by our Observatory Explainers in the Meridian Courtyard. Talks will cover topics ranging from the history of the Royal Observatory Greenwich to the science of navigation and timekeeping, while activities will range from solar observing to hands-on science demonstrations.

NOTE: In the event rain this activity will take place in the Great Equatorial Telescope or the Octagon Room. Please check with our Visitor Assistants.

Dates: Weekends and holiday weekdays throughout January 2016 | Times: 12.30-16.30 | Venue: Meridian Courtyard, Royal Observatory Greenwich | Admission: Included in Royal Observatory, Flamsteed House and Meridian Courtyard admission price | Age: 7+

Planetarium Shows

Peter Harrison Planetarium

The Peter Harrison Planetarium, featuring state-of-the-art technology is the only public planetarium in London and is the centrepiece of the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Centre. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

An ‘Astro Ticket’ combining access to the historic Royal Observatory buildings and Meridian Courtyard with a planetarium show is available subject to availability. This offers savings for both individuals and families – contact the bookings team or see the website for further information.

Please note that the Planetarium is closed on the first Tuesday of every month for essential maintenance (except August and during Easter).

We Are Aliens

Rupert Grint of Harry Potter fame narrates this exciting planetarium show, exploring how our understanding of life on Earth guides our hunt for alien life elsewhere in the Universe. Visit Mars, Europa and distant exoplanets to try and answer the ultimate question… are we alone?

Dates: Throughout December 2015 | Times: 16.15 (weekdays during term time) & 11.45, 14.00, 16.15 (weekends and holiday weekdays) | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium | Admission: £7.50 adult, £5.50 child, £6.50 concession, £20.00 family | Age: 7+

We Are Stars

Narrated by Lord of the Rings actor, Andy Serkis, this unique show explores the secrets of our cosmic chemistry and explosive origins. Discover what we are made from, where it comes from, and examine the link between life on Earth and the evolution of the Universe.

Dates: Throughout January 2016 | Times: 16.15 (weekdays during term time) & 11.45, 14.00, 16.15 (weekends and holiday weekdays) | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium | Admission: £7.50 adult, £5.50 child, £6.50 concession, £20.00 family | Age: 7+

The Sky Tonight: Christmas Stars

Come and find out what the night sky has to offer in December as we head toward Christmas in this festive-themed show. Presented live by a Royal Observatory Astronomer, the show will look at the Moon, constellations and planets, as well as providing the latest information on the International Space Station and British astronaut, Tim Peake, as he prepares to spend Christmas in space.

Dates: Throughout December 2015 | Times: 14.45 (weekdays during term time) & 12.30, 14.45 (weekends and holiday weekdays) | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium | Admission: £7.50 adult, £5.50 child, £6.50 concession, £20.00 family | Age: 5+

The Sky Tonight

This live show, presented by a Royal Observatory astronomer, takes visitors on a tour of what can be seen in the night sky on the day of their visit and the months ahead. The journey takes in stars, constellations, planets and moons, and includes a fly-out to the edge of the visible Universe.

Dates: 27–31 December 2015 and throughout January 2016 | Times: 14.45 (weekdays during term time) & 12.30, 14.45 (weekends and holiday weekdays) | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium | Admission: £7.50 adult, £5.50 child, £6.50 concession, £20.00 family | Age: 5+

Meet the Neighbours

The Earth travels around the Sun with seven other planets, hundreds of moons and millions of asteroids. Meet our neighbours in space in this entertaining, interactive show where you can decide which planets to visit. Presented live by a Royal Observatory astronomer.

Dates: Throughout December 2015 and January 2016 | Times: 12.45, 13.45 (Selected Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during term time) & 13.15, 15.30 (weekends and holiday weekdays) | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium | Admission: £7.50 adult, £5.50 child, £6.50 concession, £20.00 family | Age: 5+

Space Safari

Follow the adventures of Ted as he searches the Solar System for the great, big bear in the sky, visiting the Sun, the Moon and the Planets. In collaboration with local schools, music and songs have been developed by Trinity College of Music.

Dates: Throughout December 2015 and January 2016 | Times: 12.45, 13.45 (Tuesdays during term time) & 11.00 (weekends and holiday weekdays) | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium | Admission: £7.50 adult, £5.50 child, £6.50 concession, £20.00 family | Age: 7 and under

Solar System, Galaxy, Universe

This show explores the scale of the Solar System, Galaxy and Universe and how we measure it, investigating the structure of the universe from the smallest planets to the largest galactic superclusters.

Dates: Throughout December 2015 | Times: 12.45, 13.45 (Selected Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during term time) | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium | Admission: £7.50 adult, £5.50 child, £6.50 concession, £20.00 family | Age: 11+

Galleries

Time and Space at the Royal Observatory

Astronomy Galleries: Situated in the Astronomy Centre, these three visually striking galleries provide opportunities to explore astronomy and our place in the universe. With amazing hands-on exhibits helping to provide answers to big questions, the galleries discover how astronomers study space and explain recent developments in modern astronomy. Admission: Free

The Gagarin Terrace at the Royal Observatory Greenwich is home to the statue of the celebrated Russian cosmonaut and first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. The statue was originally sited at the Mall in London, please see website for details.

Time Galleries: Explore the importance of time in all our lives through the interactive exhibits in galleries on ‘Time and Longitude’, ‘Time and Greenwich’, and ‘Time and Society’. Admission charge applies, please see website for details. Admission price includes entry to Flamsteed House, the Meridian Courtyard and the Meridian Building in addition to the Time Galleries.

General Information

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House and Cutty Sark operate under the banner of Royal Museums Greenwich.

In preparation for the 400th anniversary in 2016 of its commissioning and design, the Queen’s House will be closed until 4 July 2016.

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, National Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark are open daily 10.00–17.00 (last admission 16.30). Cutty Sark’s opening times may be subject to change - please see website for details.

Admission to the Astronomy Centre at the Royal Observatory Greenwich is free. Admission to the Royal Observatory’s historic Flamsteed House, Time Galleries, Meridian Courtyard and Meridian Building is charged, please see website for details. An ‘Astro Ticket’ combining access to the historic Royal Observatory buildings and Meridian Courtyard with a Planetarium show is available offering savings for both individuals and families, please see website for details.

General admission to the National Maritime Museum is free. Admissions prices for Cutty Sark, as well as Museum special exhibitions can be found online. For advance bookings and further pricing information please call 020 8312 6608 or email bookings@rmg.co.uk

For updated information prior to visit please visit our website or phone 020 8858 4422.

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For further information or images please contact:

Royal Museums Greenwich Press Office | Tel: 020 8312 6789/6545/6790 | 07960 509802 | Email: press@rmg.co.uk | Twitter: @RMGPressOffice