Herstmonceux Spring Ride

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  Southern Section diary

It was all quiet on the Western Front. No hostilities had broken out overnight in response the Eurofarce. So, it was all go for Godder’s ride to the Royal Observatory at Herstmonceux.  With a beautiful Spring morning and sunshine all the way, we headed off from Pease Pottage Services, on time, for a gentle bimble through the countryside down to East Sussex.

Using the back-lanes, not only was the scenery a delight, but there was little traffic to hold the group of 6 bikes up. The only fly in

the ointment, as always, was satnav technology: we all ended up in somebody’s front garden. As Godders turned around, just clipping the lawn of indifferently manicured state, an irate owner came out to remonstrate with this young biker vandal! Finally, following a sort of more traditional map, we back-tracked to the Herstmonceaux Observatory and Science Centre
A bright Spring start at Pease Pottage
The Royal Observatory, although dating back to the time of King Charles II, was only relocated to its current beautiful Sussex location during the mid-1950s, a time much reflected in the architecture and décor. The observatory domes have been thoughtfully designed with a section of each of the roofs opening to reveal an arc for viewing of around 70 degrees allowing visibility from close to the horizon to almost vertically above, whilst the wood lining and floors hide a remarkable solution to the fundamental problem of viewing through the telescope at angles all operational; the whole floor lifts!

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Riding onto the campus, the 6 verdigris coloured domes of the telescope buildings looked impressive against the clear blue of the Spring sky. We were soon parked up directly by the entrance just in time  for the 12.00 presentation in Dome E.
Largely aimed towards younger visitors, The Science Centre part of the park comprises of many creative, interactive demonstrations of scientific principles. It certainly kept us entertained for quite sometime.
Our thanks go to Godders for having arranged our ride-out. It was a thoroughly enjoyable visit and one that may be worth repeating later for one of the late night demonstrations of the telescopes.
A demonstration of parallax from the Science Park: The same sculpture from 3 different angles
The 1932 Yapp 36 inch Reflector Telescope
The  Thompson 30 inch reflector telescope with dome roof open
An entertaining introduction to the Observatory
Interactive science apparatus designed to keep kids occupied for hours.