We hold regular public stargazing sessions at Great Notley Country Park from 6–9pm where we have telescopes set up for you to observe the Moon, any visible planets, and other objects of interest in the night sky. We can teach you about the constellations and how to recognise them, and answer any questions you may have about astronomy or telescopes.
The events are free (site parking fee applies), and suitable for all ages (children must be accompanied by an adult). We can be found somewhere in the vicinity of the main building, near the Sky Ropes.
Viewing will be subject to clear weather and may be curtailed or cancelled if the weather is poor. In the event of rain, sessions will be cancelled. If cloudy or part clear, please follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds for information as to whether the event will go ahead, or call the park on 01376 347134. Usually if it is cloudy we will still be on site to answer questions, ever hopeful of a break in the clouds, but viewing may be limited.
For details of how to get to the park, please see the information at the bottom of this page.
We also host monthly events at Abberton Reservoir, but pre-booking is essential for these. For more information, go to the Essex Wildlife Trust website here and search the What’s On listing.
The dates of our 2016 stargazing events are as follows. Unless otherwise stated, the sessions will run from 6pm to 9pm for evening events, and solar observing runs from 12.00 midday until approx 3pm.
Saturday 16th January Saturday 13th February Saturday 19th March Saturday 16th April Saturday 7th May (midday solar observing) Monday 9th May – Transit of Mercury (12.00 midday to 19.45)
Saturday 11th June (midday solar observing) Saturday 16th July (midday solar observing) Saturday 6th August (midday solar observing)
- Saturday 10th September (7–10pm) – Cancelled due to rain
- Saturday 8th October
- Saturday 19th November
- December – No event
Also if you already own a telescope and need help with it, you are welcome to bring it along and we will try to assist you BUT only where possible if any of our volunteers are available – on busy nights this is not always possible. Please note that if you do bring your own telescope, it is entirely your own responsibility and you will need to be able to carry your telescope from the public car park. We are unable to assist with transporting your equipment to the observing site. Only NEAS members are covered by public liability insurance at our events, so please be aware of this before letting other members of the public use your telescope.
Please park in the public car park. The main site is off limits to cars while the event is active, and only NEAS volunteers have the park’s permission to park on site due to Health & Safety reasons.
We would like to thank Great Notley Parish Council for their generous support in sponsoring some of our equipment purchases.
- For more information about Great Notley Country Park and how to get there, click here.
- A Google Maps link is here. The park is well signposted.
- For in-car satnav purposes, the park’s postcode is CM77 7FS
Many people have asked us about where to purchase a good quality but affordable telescope. Here are three retailers that we recommend for buying a telescope, or alternatively click on the NEAS Store page link in the top menu).