As you are aware the observatory needed to cut the tour season short last year due to the start of the restrictions on social gatherings. As these restrictions have been slowly changing, we have been constantly reviewing our policies keeping inline with local and UCL needs.
As we are and will continue to be here as a teaching facility for our many astronomy undergraduate, postgraduate and adult education students and these are our first priority. However public engagement, school and working with local community groups remains at the core of what we do.
UCL’s policies currently maintain 2 metre distancing, and individually risk assessed activities and buildings. These place severe but necessary restrictions on what we can offer schools and public at the observatory with the limited space we have available to us inside the domes and other communal areas.
In the current pandemic situation and Tier system, we will not be able to offer face-to-face tours during this term (at least until end of March). This will be reviewed periodically on the basis of current government Tier regulations.
What we have been working on alongside the safe return of tightly controlled physical visits for our astrophysics students is a suite of virtual programs; Ask an Astronomer, Interactive School online sessions, Online Tours of the Observatory and Virtual Stargazing (with things to spot in the night sky later at home). More will be released here and https://www.ucl.ac.uk/physics-astronomy/outreach/online-outreach over the next few weeks.
To book a free ticket for yourself or others on our virtual tour please follow this link
Mark and the Team