October 2016 Events at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Watch cult films at London's only planetarium in our Silver Screen Sci-Fi season. This month’s special Halloween screening is Ridley Scott’s 1979 film, Alien. You can also learn about the elusive Gravitation Waves which were only discovered in February this year.

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.

Exhitions and events

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016

The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 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 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 2016 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

Alien (1979)

In space, no one can hear you scream… Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, Alien is considered one of the greatest sci-fi horror films.

When the crew of space vessel Nostromo wake out of hypersleep to investigate a distress signal on a hostile planet, they discover a derelict spacecraft hosting a strange species. Abandoning the mission after one of them is attacked the crew make their way back to Earth, safe in the confines of their ship. Or so they think…

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: 29 October 2016 | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium, Royal Observatory Greenwich | Time: 18.30–21.00 | Admission: £8 adult, £7 concession, £6 child or guardian | Age: 15+

Gravitational Waves

In February this year an international team of physicists announced the confirmed discovery of Gravitational Waves. Join Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer, Dr Edward Bloomer as he shares his research experience around the subject, and explains how this discovery has opened up a brand new line of research in astrophysics.

Dates: 6 October 2016 | Times: 18.30–19.30 | Venue: Peter Harrison Planetarium, Royal Observatory Greenwich | Admission: £8, £7 concession Age: Adult

Family Events

Out of this World

Join our astronomers over the holidays for a series of activity packages for older children that include a planetarium show, interactive quiz, and virtual reality activity.

Dates: selected weekdays throughout October half-term 2016 | Times: 10.00–12.30 | Venue: Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich | Admission: £6 child or guardian | Age: 7+

Holiday to Space

Pack your bags for space as we fly around the Moon and planets in an early years’ planetarium show. Look out for the animal stories in the sky!

Children can enjoy afterwards an engaging actor-led performance and playful hands-on activity.

Dates: selected weekdays throughout October half-term 2016 | Times: 10.00–12.00 | Venue: Astronomy Centre, Royal Observatory Greenwich | Admission: £6 child or guardian | Age: 4+

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 International Space Station to the latest discoveries about the Solar System and the wider universe.

Observatory Unlocked

Enjoy a range of public talks and activities delivered by our Observatory Explainers in the Meridian Courtyard, ranging from uncovering 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.

Please 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).

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016

Taking you on a grand tour of the Earth, Solar System, galaxy and wider universe, this show will also include some of the most beautiful sights the cosmos has to offer, using shortlisted images from this year’s competition.

Dates: throughout October 2016 | Times: 15.30 (weekdays 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 family | Age: 5+

Asteroid: Mission Extreme

Join Alien and Ghostbusters' actress, Sigourney Weaver, 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

Observatory Life

The family apartments of past Astronomers Royals at Flamsteed House have been refreshed to convey the domestic stories of two families across different time periods: the Maskelynes (1765–1811) and the Airys (1835–1881). Through a rich mixture of objects, graphics and audio-visual material, discover how the families welcomed guests, played games, dressed fashionably, sketched their surroundings, and devised homemade remedies to combat illness.

The Gagarin Terrace

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 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.

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, National Maritime Museum, Queen's House 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 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: press@rmg.co.uk | Twitter: @RMGPressOffice