Our events run throughout the year and range from topics as diverse as the aurora, one of our most popular nights, through to specific themed planet nights, such as our ever popular Jupiter and Saturn evenings. During the summer months, we can make use of specialist solar telescopes to observe the Sun during the daytime.
During most events, the priority is to stargaze where possible. Our astronomers will keep a watch on the sky for any opportunities to observe throughout the event. The night sky changes throughout the year, so different event themes and observing targets will vary. But rest assured, we know the best places to point our telescopes to get the most phenomenal views of deep sky objects such as star clusters, nebulae and galaxies when conditions are suitable. When you’re not looking through the eyepiece of a telescope, our astronomers work hard to ensure you will be thoroughly engaged with tours of the site, along with interactive and educational talks on topics such as meteorites, cosmology or exoplanets. The range and diversity of our talks means that we regularly have multiple return visits from guests keen to gain a greater understanding of the vast and beautiful universe which we inhabit.
Please aim to arrive at the Observatory approximately 10-15 minutes before the event begins. There is unfortunately no waiting area inside the observatory. Visitors are welcome to walk around on our observatory deck prior to events starting or wait in the nearby car park until this time.
Our observatory events cater for all levels of knowledge and for all ages from 4 to 104. No question is too silly, no question too complex, we're happy to discuss everything from high level cosmology through to why the sky is blue. Our team of dedicated volunteers and astronomers love to be asked questions, and we actively encourage it throughout our events. We aim to deliver science from the ground up... if you want more, just ask, we're happy to talk at every level.
If you have booked for an event, then we will have your details on our computer at the observatory. Please print out your ticket and bring this with you where possible, or save it to your phone. If you have neither, please don't panic, as we will be able to confirm your details at the door as well.
We regret to say that once booked, all tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.
All events go ahead regardless of the weather unless weather conditions such as snow or ice prevent access to the observatory. We never take the decison to cancel lightly but if we do have to cancel an event we will notify you via email, text and phone call and offer you the choice of either a full refund or a voucher to rebook.
We will contact you by the number and email address you've given us when you booked so make sure you're available on the day to take our call.
If you have any doubts as to whether an event will proceed, please check via our social media channels.
- Ideally your ticket printed out or on your smartphone. If you don't have this, we will still be able to validate your booking at the door with your name and mobile phone no.
- Warm clothes.The Observatory is located in a remote part of Northumberland and it gets extremely cold. Do not underestimate how cold you might get – bring your warmest clothing and footwear.
- Suitable torches - Red light is ideal for getting around under our exceptionally dark skies, you are also welcome to use any normal torch to help you from the car park to the observatory, all we ask is that you point it downwards so that it doesn't interfere with other guests' night vision
- For refreshments, the Observatory has a tuck shop selling astronomically themed sugar (Mars Bars, Milky Ways...) and are able to accept cash or card payments for these items. Just one thing to remember, we make the best hot chocolate you have ever tasted... one not to miss!
- An open mind... your imagination is the only limit to what you will discover at Kielder Observatory.
Parking is provided at the Observatory during events so please drive all the way up the track to the observatory car park, which is less than 2 minutes walk from the Observatory building. The track will be open around 30 minutes before the event starts at the latest, if you arrive to find the gate locked please wait in the nearby car park for a member of staff. Visitors with wheelchair or other accessibility requirements are welcome to park outside the front of the observatory, please let us know in advance so we can make the necessary arrangements
Concessions - Our events booking page has options for concession tickets. Concessions are defined as follows
- Persons who are registered disabled.
- Persons who are aged 65+
- Persons under 16 years of age
- Children under the age of 2 are free if carried in person or in a sling. We regret that the concessionary rate is applicable for all children in a pram or pushchair due to the limited space available in the classroom (we would advise parents that events are in a relatively small classroom for 41 persons, and can last up to 45 minutes -1 hour between breaks, and that whilst we have on-site composting toilets, we have no dedicated baby change facility at this time)
Animals - Kielder Observatory is happy to permit assistance dogs/guide dogs on to the site, but regret that no other pets are allowed at the observatory. You are however welcome to leave them in your car in the car park and visit them during the event.
Event availability - If you go on our events page and select a date you'd like to visit but find that you cannot book, it usually means that the event is sold out. The best option in case is to have a look at similar events around the same period. However, it is not unusual for the observatory to be fully booked up to 3 months in advance of an event date, so, we do recommend if you are looking to come, to book as early as possible.
We are unable to operate a waiting list, but if tickets become available for events we will announce it via social media using our Facebook page, so if you have expressed an interest in obtaining tickets for a sold out event, please follow us to get the latest information.
Private Events - If you wish to book a private event, please email us via the contact us page for full details of costs and availability
Photography - Please be aware that we allow visitors to record film and take photographs throughout their visits and these may be posted on social media. We take photographs, and film videos and timelapses for use on social media. We also have password protected IP cameras on site to monitor the weather. Only staff are permitted to access images from the livestream.