Sunday July 26th 11.00 – 17.00     (Last admission 16:00)
The day has now run, but this programme will be kept on the site for reference.

List of events by time.

11.00 -- Doors open

11.15 -- Create a comet (Great Conservatory)

11.30 -- Planetarium show (Great Conservatory)

11.30 -- Apollo 11 – first men on the Moon. Talk by Ian Ridpath (Northumberland Room)

12.00 -- Return to the Moon. Talk by Mat Irvine (Northumberland Room)

12.15 -- Create a comet (Great Conservatory)

12.30 -- Planetarium show (Great Conservatory)

12.30 -- Living in Space. Talk by Greg Smye-Rumsby (Northumberland Room).

13.15 -- Create a comet (Great Conservatory)

13.30 -- Planetarium show (Great Conservatory)

13.30 -- Apollo 11 – first men on the Moon. Talk by Ian Ridpath (Northumberland Room)

14.00 -- Return to the Moon. Talk by Mat Irvine (Northumberland Room)

14.15 -- Create a comet (Great Conservatory)

14.30 -- Planetarium show (Great Conservatory)

14.30 -- Living in Space. Talk by Greg Smye-Rumsby (Northumberland Room).

15.15 -- Create a comet (Great Conservatory)

15.30 -- Planetarium show (Great Conservatory)

15.30 -- Apollo 11 – first men on the Moon. Talk by Ian Ridpath (Northumberland Room)

15:50 -- Raffle Draw - at the Widescreen Centre trade stand.

16.00 -- Return to the Moon. Talk by Mat Irvine (Northumberland Room)

16.00 -- Concert: Cantamus perform Music of Harriot's time (Great Hall)

16.30 -- Unveiling of Harriot memorial plaque. Ceremony performed by Lord Egremont of Petworth, close to the location of Harriot’s observations of the Moon on July 26th 1609

17:30 -- Lecture and reception. By ticket only. Details here.


The following activities will take place continuously throughout the day:

  • How far will it go? Build and launch a water rocket: front lawn of Syon House.
  • Observe the Sun through special telescopes:[1] (subject to weather on the day) various locations.
  • Sketch the turbulent surface of our Sun:[1] (if cloudy, sketch Moon craters from photographs): Great Conservatory cactus house.
  • Make and take home a star-finding wheel or sundial: (Front lawn - on left)


The following demonstration will be given at hourly intervals in the Great Conservatory. Each demonstration lasts approximately 10 minutes.

Create a Comet: Dr Robert Massey (Royal Astronomical Society)
Comets are ghostly wanderers in the Solar System, inspiring awe and sometimes fear. At the heart of each comet is a dirty snowball of ice and dust no larger than the Isle of Wight. Watch the creation of a mini-comet from dry ice, water and sand – then see it develop a tail! Times: 11.15, 12.15, 13.15, 14.15, 15.15.


The following talks will be given during the day in the Northumberland Room of Syon House. Enter via the main doors of the House and follow the signs to the left (for those unable to manage stairs, please ask at the main desk in the house). All talks last 15–20 minutes. Admission is free.

Apollo 11 – first men on the Moon Ian Ridpath (local author and broadcaster) July 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon by the astronauts of Apollo 11. This fully illustrated talk explains why humans went to the Moon, how they got there and back, and what we learned. Times: 11.30, 13.30, 15.30.

Return to the Moon Mat Irvine (former BBC special effects) NASA’s Constellation Program is intended to send humans back to the Moon by the year 2020. This talk will describe the new launch vehicles and spacecraft being developed including the Ares V rocket, even more powerful than the original Saturn V.   Times: 12.00, 14.00, 16.00.

Living in Space Greg Smye-Rumsby (lecturer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich) What is it like to be weightless? How do astronauts eat, drink, sleep and go to the toilet? What are the dangers when performing space walks (EVAs)? Find out in this entertaining talk.
Times: 12.30, 14.30.
Note: During the rest of the day, Greg will be roaming the grounds in a spacesuit and will be happy to answers visitors’ questions.


Shows in the Explorer Dome Inflatable Planetarium will take place in the Great Conservatory.

TAKE A TRIP INTO SPACE and look at some of the wonders of our Universe. Discover more about the Earth and the importance of our Moon. Find your way around the night sky and name constellations through the myths and legends.
Suitable for adults and children age 4 and above. Under 8s must be accompanied by an adult.
Each planetarium show lasts about 30 minutes.
: Visitors enter the Dome by removing their shoes and crawling in through a large tunnel. For those who can’t crawl in, the sides of the Dome can be lifted up.
Admission: £1 per person (adults and children). Times: 11.30, 12.30, 13.30, 14.30, 15.30.

Concert in the Great Hall: Music of Harriot's time, by "Cantamus"

The Great Hall of Syon House
Great Hall of Syon

“Cantamus” is a Choral Group that specialises in music of the Elizabethan period, led by their Musical Director, Shirley Linford. Join them in the Great Hall at 4.00pm for a performance of music and madrigals. Experience the singing that would have enchanted Thomas Harriot and those in the Elizabethan Court. Cantamus will also perform during the reception.
Time 16:00 - 16:20 (standing only).

All Day Exhibitions and Displays in the Great Conservatory

  • Harriot’s Maps and Drawings
  • Contemporary maps and images of the Sun and Moon
  • Dark Skies Awareness –the fight against light pollution


The Sun is dangerously hot and bright!  If you have binoculars or a telescope at home, do not attempt to observe the Sun through them or you will damage your eyes. Even staring at the Sun for long periods can be dangerous. Sunglasses are no protection against eye damage when looking directly at the Sun.

This event is sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society

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