Telescope 400 (Thomas Harriot Day at Syon Park)

The Great Conservatory

The day has now run, but this page will be kept in place for reference

Sunday July 26th 11.00 – 17.00

Come and celebrate the 400th anniversary of Thomas Harriot’s historic observations of the Moon, by participating in the following activities


All Day Exhibitions and Displays in the Great Conservatory

  • Harriot’s Maps and Drawings
  • Contemporary maps and images of the Sun and Moon
  • Greg Smye-Rumsby
  • Dark Skies Awareness – the fight against light pollution
  • Local Astronomy Societies – get involved!

Activites, Observations and activities

  • Solar Telescopes - look safely at the Sun with the help of experts
  • Learn how to draw what you see – a workshop
  • Solar Projection – see our star in all its magnificence
  • Make & Take – simple starfinders and sundials to take home and USE
  • Create a Comet!
  • Design & launch a water-propelled rocket
  • Launching a water rocket
  • Meet a Spaceman - learn what it would be like to go to the Moon
  • Visit the Explorer Dome - see stars in our mobile planetarium!
  • Win a telescope! There will be a raffle with a telescope (a new Heritage 76mm Dobsonian - 400th anniversary model) as the main prize, donated by the Widescreen Centre and Optical Vision
  • Listen to music of Harriot's time: There will be a short concert in the Great Hall, featuring "Cantamus", a Choral Group that specialises in music of the Elizabethan period
  • Full details are under the Detailed Programme link.
Inflatable Planetarium

Programme of Talks

There will be a rolling programme of talks throughout the day. Topics will include the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, and Living in Space. The full programme is available here.

Unveiling of Thomas Harriot Memorial

At 16.30 a memorial plaque will be unveiled. Visitors are invited to attend the ceremony to be performed by Lord Egremont of Petworth, close to the location of Harriot’s observations of the Moon on July 26th 1609

Admission for the day

Adults £9.00, Concessions £8.00, Child £4.00, Family £20.00 Includes house, gardens and all attractions (except Planetarium - £1 extra per person). Full details of Syon's admission charges are here.  Free parking.

The evening lecture is a separate event that should be booked in advance - see below for details


You can download the flyer for this event by clicking here. This is a large file (3MB).

Allan Chapman and replica of Harriot's telescope

Evening Lecture and Reception 17.30 - 20.00 (separate ticket must be purchased)

The lecture – ‘Thomas Harriot: the Englishman who beat Galileo’  will be given by Dr Allan Chapman, University of Oxford. This will be followed by a buffet reception, with music of Harriot’s time.
Tickets are on sale and selling fast - details of how to purchase are available under the Lecture/Reception link

Note: The above activities are all run by (or under the supervision of) professionals working in the Astronomy and/or Education fields, who are freely giving their time to celebrate this unique occasion.

Telescope400 is sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society

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