May Events at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Watch cult films at London's only planetarium in our Silver Screen Sci-Fi season: this month’s screening is Moon (2009). Visit the Royal Observatory for the Transit of Mercury on 9 May, and be inspired by the National Maritime Museum’s new exhibition, Above and Beyond. Learn how science fiction influences the technology of space exploration at the Spaceships Above and Beyond event.

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

Above and Beyond

Produced by Evergreen Exhibitions in association with Boeing, Above and Beyond is a ground-breaking new exhibition about the wonders of flight and mankind’s remarkable journey to space.

Created in collaboration with NASA, this exhibition hopes to inspire the next wave of engineers, pilots and astronauts by taking visitors on an exciting journey through the past, present and future of aerospace in the most interactive exhibition on the subject ever to tour.

Packed full with immersive simulations, interactive design challenges and visionary concepts for the future, you can learn how to fly like a bird with Spread Your Wings, take an Elevator to Space and enjoy the view of Earth from above, or go on a Marathon to Mars and see how your body would cope on the long-haul trip to the red planet.

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 the 2015 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

Silver Screen Sci-Fi Showing: Moon (2009)

Directed by son of David Bowie, Duncan Jones, lone astronaut miner Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) has reached the end of his contract on the Moon where he, with his computer GERTY (Kevin Spacey), send vital resources back to Earth.

As he readies himself for the long awaited trip home, an accident sets off a chain of events that turns his world upside down.

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.

Transit of Mercury

On 9 May 2016, from around 12.00 until 19.45, the planet Mercury will pass in front of the Sun, known as the Transit of Mercury.

On this remarkable day, the Royal Observatory Greenwich will be providing the public with opportunities to see the rare event through a range of telescopes. There will be free telescope viewings next to the Astronomy Centre and special ticketed sessions to view the event through the largest lensed telescope in the United Kingdom. Our astronomers will also be using small telescopes and solar projection for group viewing on the historic site (normal ticketed entry).

Note: Rain or cloud may prevent observing. No refunds are possible for ticketed sessions – images and footage of Mercury will be shown instead and our astronomers will be on hand to answer your questions.

Spaceships Above and Beyond

Inspired by our new exhibition, Above and Beyond, join us for a panel discussion where the realities of current space exploration technology collide with intriguing ideas from the world of science fiction. How might some of those ideas shape future voyages in our solar system and beyond?

The evening will begin with a screening of space exploration-themed short films.

Family Events

Out of this World: Mission to Mars

This summer half-term we will be exploring the amazing planet Mars. Find out about Mars in the Planetarium and discover past, present and future missions to the Red Planet. Explore Mars in our interactive science quiz, make a model Mars Rover to take home and find out how to spot the planet in the sky.

Weekend Space Cadets

Come along to our programme of weekend family workshops and participate in a varied range of activities related to space science and space exploration: from the latest news on European Space Agency British astronaut Tim Peake, to the latest discoveries about the Solar System and the wider universe.

Observatory Explainers

Enjoy a range of public talks and activities delivered by our Observatory Explainers in the Meridian Courtyard, ranging from short talks on the hidden stories of the Royal Observatory Greenwich to solar observing and hands-on science demonstrations.

Our Observatory Explainers will be happy to answer any questions you might have between presentations. Note: In the event of rain this activity will take place in the Great Equatorial Telescope or the Octagon Room. Please check with a member of staff.

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).

Asteroid: Mission Extreme

Join us on an epic journey to discover how asteroids present both a danger to life on Earth and an opportunity for future space exploration. The challenges of a mission to an asteroid are enormous, but could enable us to protect our planet and inhabit others. Explore what it would take for astronauts to reach an asteroid and how such an adventure could benefit humankind.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 charges 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 Summer 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

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


For further information or images please contact: Royal Museums Greenwich Press Office Tel: 020 8312 6789/6545/6790 | 07960 509802 | Email: | Twitter: @RMGPressOffice