The Night Sky at Hoghton Tower 600 × 450px  - 7th October - The Night Sky at Hoghton Tower

7th October – The Night Sky at Hoghton Tower

Posted on 13th Sep 2023 | Mark

Saturday 7th October 2023

Tickets including a two-course meal £40

Tickets for event only £25

Arrival from 6:30pm for those who have purchased ticket including a meal (Must be booked in advance)

Arrival from 7:45pm for those who purchase an event only ticket (Must be booked in advance)

Event begins 8pm

Join us for a fascinating evening of night sky discovery! We will be joined by members of Preston & District Astronomical Society (PADAS) who will share their knowledge and experience with us.

Hear all about the ‘History of Preston Observatory’ and the amazing experiences of the UK Student Ambassador for the Apollo 17 Moon Mission in 1972 with ‘The Goodwill Moon Rock’. Explore an exhibition of space and astronomy related items.

Weather permitting, members of PADAS will also facilitate an observation session in the Wilderness Garden, where you will be able to view the night sky through telescopes.

For those who purchase a ticket including a meal the evening with a delicious two-course meal of either Meat & Potato Pie, or a Vegetarian Butter Pie and then for dessert, Sticky Toffee Pudding in Butterscotch Sauce. Please enter any dietary requirements during the checkout process. Please be aware that although we do take precautions to minimise the risk of any cross contamination, due to the size of our facilities we are unable to guarantee that this will not occur.

The first talk of the evening ‘The History of Preston Observatory’ will be given by PADAS Secretary Graham McLoughlin. You will be taken from the origins of the Preston Scientific Society in 1876 and the opening of the Deepdale Municipal Observatory in 1881, with the nationally recognised astronomers leading astronomical expeditions, to the upgrade and relocation of the Observatory to Moor Park in Preston in 1927 to coincide with the total eclipse of the Sun.

‘The Goodwill Moon Rock’ presentation will then be given by PADAS Vice Chair Dermot Gethings. Hear the amazing story of how in 1972, Dermot was selected by NASA and the U.S. State Department to be UK Student Ambassador for the Apollo 17 Moon Mission. As a VIP guest he spent three weeks touring NASA facilities throughout the United States, viewed the launch of Apollo 17 with Neil Armstrong, spent three days in Mission Control Houston and became custodian of the UK Goodwill Moon Rock which was presented to him by the astronauts in a live broadcast from the lunar surface. Dermot has also written a colour booklet about the event to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 17.

There will then be time to explore the exhibition of space related memorabilia and spend some time out in the Wilderness Garden (weather permitting)

observing the night sky using telescopes provided by Preston & District Astronomical Society members.

Members will also be happy to chat with people wanting to take their interest in the subject further including the types of equipment involved.

All attendees must hold a valid ticket. This event is recommended for age 16+.

Event Schedule:

Arrival from 6:30pm for those who have purchased tickets including a meal.

7:00pm – 8:00pm Meal in tearoom (tearoom will remain open for drinks and snacks until 10:30pm)

Arrival from 7:45pm for those with event only tickets (no meal served)

8:00pm – 8:45pm The History of Preston Observatory – Graham McLoughlin

8:45pm – 9:00pm Break

9:00pm – 10:00pm The Goodwill Moon Rock – Dermot Gethings

10:00pm – 11:00pm Exhibition of astronomy and space related items and opportunity to view the night sky from the Wilderness Garden. Members will also be on hand to give advice about telescopes and binoculars.

11:30pm Site closes.

Food & Drink:

Drinks and snacks will be available to purchase from the tearoom until 10:30pm.


Please make your way up the drive towards the Tower where you will be met by our parking steward who will then give you further direction.

Comfort & Safety

Whilst the fires will be lit, we would advise you to dress warmly for the evening as this historic building can feel chilly and there will be the opportunity to spend some time outdoors looking at the evening sky.

The gardens will be lit with red light to allow your eyes to adjust more easily and maximise the opportunity of viewing the evening sky, please take care.


As a Grade I listed historic site, Hoghton Tower does have some access restrictions, for further information see our Facilities & Access Information on our website.

The evening is in aid of the Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust (Registered Charity Number: 508357).


All tickets are sold as non-refundable and non-transferable. Please check your tickets carefully and ensure that you can commit to the date and time before you complete your booking, as regrettably, we are unable to accommodate any changes once your booking is finalised.

Every effort will be made to accommodate late arrivals, however, entry would need to be at an appropriate time so as not to disturb the presentation and cannot be guaranteed. No refund will be due in this instance.

If we have to cancel the event for any reason, you will be offered a full refund.

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