September Events at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Highlights this month include the spectacular Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015; cult films at London's only planetarium in our Silver Screen Sci-Fi season; and a new term of adult courses on astronomy and astrophysics.

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.


Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition opens at the Royal Observatory Greenwich on 18 September, displaying the spectacular winning images from this year's competition, in the Astronomy Centre. 

From distant galaxies to our very own Milky Way and neighbouring planets, the photographs 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 was organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with 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 – Westworld

This September, as part of a season dedicated to cult sci-fi movies, the Royal Observatory Greenwich will be screening West World (1973), written and directed by the creator of Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton. A visit to the futuristic Wild West-themed amusement park goes awry when a robot malfunctions and guests are left fighting for their lives. 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.

Solar Secrets: Understanding Our Star, the Sun

Join Royal Observatory Astronomer, Brendan Owens, as he takes you on a visual voyage of discovery that demonstrates how far we have come in our understanding of the Sun. Learn how it affects us here on Earth and how we can better forecast “space weather.

Family Events

Sunday Space Explorers

Come along to our drop-in family workshops where one of our astronomers will show you how to make a star finder to identify stars and constellations in the night sky all year round.

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 Taster Course

This taster course is a must for anyone interested in photographing the night sky without a telescope. The course involves two classes three weeks apart, providing information and advice on equipment, planning shoots and processing images. No prior knowledge or experience is required. The course is taught by Royal Observatory Greenwich Astronomer, Tom Kerss.

GCSE Astronomy

This comprehensive course provides an opportunity for those who are keen to acquire a rigorous scientific understanding of the Universe.

Some students would like to learn more about the Universe in the company of like-minded individuals, without gaining a qualification. If this is you, then simply book the core course which consists of 30 Tuesday evening classes focusing on key astronomy topics.

Some of our students are very keen to obtain a formal qualification in GCSE astronomy, which requires a commitment to the delivery of coursework. If you are such a person you will need to book both the core course and the weekend exam course. The exam course consists of 10 Saturday classes and includes study skills advice, revision sessions, past paper sessions, moderated coursework write-ups and a final examination. Exam registration fees are included.

Studying this course requires basic scientific and mathematical knowledge and computer literacy. A scientific calculator is also required. While this course is intended for adults, students aged 14 and upwards will be considered for enrolment on a case by case basis. The course is taught by astronomy lecturer, Mike Keskeys.

Foundation Astrophysics

The Foundation Astrophysics programme provides an exciting exposition of modern astronomy designed for those who have a GCSE in astronomy or equivalent and want to know more.

The course consists of six 10-week modules, which do not have to be studied in order. Year One explores the Sun, solar system, exoplanets and the search for life in the Universe. Year Two studies the life and death of stars, the Milky Way and other galaxies, and the ultimate questions posed by modern cosmology. The course explores contemporary astronomy to first year university level. GCSE maths or equivalent is recommended.

The course is delivered and tutored by Open University Associate Lecturer in Astronomy and Cosmology, Dr Roger O’Brien.

Module 4: Stars

This module provides an excellent foundation on the physics of stars. It begins by exploring the motion and distance of the stars before moving on to look at physical properties, the formation, evolution and demise of high and low mass stars and the dense objects they leave behind.

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).

Dark Universe

Astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson narrates this exciting planetarium show that goes beyond the night sky and into deep space. Find out how discoveries over the past 100 years have led us to two great cosmic mysteries: dark matter and dark energy.

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.

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.

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 Greenwich astronomer.

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.

Exhibitions and 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.

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 apply. 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.

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, National Maritime Museum Queen’s House andCutty 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 Line 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 and Queen’s House 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 6667/ 6545 /6790 | 07960 509802 | Email: