Skip to content Accessibility statement

Schoolchildren and space enthusiasts reach for the stars at Astrocampus opening

Posted on 14 March 2014

Space enthusiasts from the York community will enjoy an ‘out of this world’ experience during a day of celebrations to mark the official opening of the University of York’s Astrocampus.

CGI image of how the York Astrocampus radio telescope will look once work is completed (credit: Design by Mode)

Created by the Department of Physics, the Astrocampus provides a unique venue for people of all ages to study and enjoy our Universe.

The official opening on Monday, 17 March, will kick off with exciting hands-on activities for school groups. Around 400 local children will take part in workshops such as rocket making, go on a virtual journey through the universe in a cosmodome (an inflatable planetarium), or find out how the Sun works in a sundome. Weather-permitting, they will also do some solar observations at the Astrocampus.

In the evening, a space exhibition will give people of all ages an opportunity to learn more about the wonders of space and to take part in activities such as making a comet with dry ice. Visitors can also take a tour of the Astrocampus or attend a special lecture by Dr Andrew Pontzen, a Royal Society University Research Fellow at University College London, who will ask: ‘Does dark matter really exist?’

The York Astrocampus houses the University’s Meade 14”, 10”  and 8” telescopes in its two purpose built observatories, as well as a solar telescope for observing the Sun safely, and radio telescopes for looking into the heavens day and night.

Outreach Officer Katherine Leech, from the Department of Physics, said: “We are really excited to be able to share the awe and wonder of space with local people of all ages, and have organised a fun-filled day and evening of hands-on activities for everyone to enjoy.”

The evening lecture and exhibition to mark the official opening are now fully booked. However, monthly observing evenings will also run from the end of March to September. Weekly observing evenings will start in October and continue over the winter months. Visit to book a free place.

Any community group or school interested in arranging a special visit to the York Astrocampus can contact Katherine Leech on 01904 322 209 or via email

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

Keep up to date

 Subscribe to news feeds

 Follow us on Twitter