On the 30th August 2013, the committee and membership of Ashford Astronomical Society launched a new project.
Space Centre International.
We’re aiming to build a multi-million pound attraction for Ashford, with the support of Ashford Borough Council.
It will provide:
- A state of the art Planetarium with a realistic night sky, incredible movie-spec CGI, conference, computer gaming and music venue
- 100s of hands on exhibits (science museum style) for people to explore Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Engineering and Mathematics in a fun way
- A working Observatory, able to take part in international science programmes and provide a research facility for students at Primary, GCSE, A-Level and Degree level
- An onsite working with opportunities for apprenticeship schemes
- High tech employment opportunities for local people
The observatory would feature space enough for presentations and shows, with enough land for star parties and science fairs. We plan on having an ‘observatory grade’ telescope, with a fully prepared dome, capable of undertaking real scientific work and also be used as teaching facility.
Why Kent, and why now?
Kent, and the area around Romney Marsh in particular, boasts the darkest skies in the entire south east of England. There is simply nowhere better to site an observatory. From our current base in Woodchurch, the ‘Milky Way’ is a glorious sight across the night sky, something that many people living in light polluted towns and cities will have never seen before.
We’re proposing a site somewhere in this vicinity.
Our society is large and vibrant, but currently constrained in its growth by available venues and cannot expand. We need more space, more car parking and more availability of telescope time, particularly with the notoriously fickle weather in the UK.
With the economy now (slowly!) beginning to pick up, transport links across Kent maturing and more people moving to the area, we believe it’s time to take advantage of both this and the natural availability of a ‘dark sky’ site.
In the meantime, make sure you join our facebook page and follow us on twitter to keep up with the latest developments. This is going to be an exciting new facility for the people of Ashford and the surrounding areas.