A project by: Katherine Leech


WE RAISED £7,034

from 40 donors

This project received pledges on Mon 31 Mar 2014
Bringing the mysteries of space closer to home

This exciting project will open the University's observatories and telescopes to the public for inspiring evenings touring the night sky and fun-filled activity days for school groups.  Help us to furnish our space-themed outreach room, equip the site with engaging information boards, and make this site into an amazing resource for everyone.  Then come and join us to explore the wonders of our Universe...

What is the Astrocampus?

At the University of York, we have a great site known only as ‘The Astrocampus’.  It includes two observatories with three excellent telescopes (one 14" and two 10"), three solar telescopes, two radio telescopes and a large portakabin.  Our dream is to upgrade the facilities to not only benefit the undergraduates here, but to enable us to open the site to the general public and school groups.   

Our plan is to open the site once a week in the winter months and once a month in the summer months for public observing sessions.  These will be led by volunteers from the Department of Physics.  We will also open the site to school groups, who will be able to book in for exciting space-themed workshops, as well as using all of the telescopes on the site.  We’ll also be open to youth groups such as Brownies, Guides, Cubs, and Scouts for evening observing.  

Where will your money go?

The total cost of opening the Astrocampus as a facility for school groups and the general public is £25,000.  We have already raised £16,000 so you can help us to raise the remaining £9,000.  There’s a full breakdown of costs below, so you can see exactly where your money will go, but how about… 

Help us to go from this…                                            …to this…

 Portakabin InteriorAsrtoCapsul Interior





We were generously donated a Portakabin that we are now developing into a space-themed outreach room.  It will contain computers to control the radio telescopes and will have flexible furnishings to allow it to be used for schools workshops, public talks, and as somewhere to warm up when out using the telescopes!  

Or help us to go from this…                                                              …to this…

Radio Telescope Display Boards 






Two radio telescopes will be available for use on the site.  By each radio telescope and by each observatory, a display board will provide information about how the equipment works.  

or from this…                                                  …to this…

 Astrocampus at NightRolling Roof Observatory






Low-level red LED lighting will line the paths to make the site safe to access at night, without compromising the observing conditions.  

The detail...

Stage 1: Make the site accessible and functional





Signs to point the way to the Astrocampus from the car park



60 red LED lights to line the paths



Ramp access to the AstroCapsule (Portakabin) to allow for disabled access


Path levelling and widening

Level, wide paths to allow for disabled access and safe access at night


Furniture for the AstroCapsule (Portakabin)

Four fitted desks with operator chairs from which to control the radio telescopes; 30 upholstered stacking chairs; 10 tables on castors (for flexible layouts); 2 storage cupboards.


Storage in the Main Observatory

2 storage cupboards






Stage 2: Make the site visually appealing and informative




Design work

Design of our logo, the inside of the AstroCapsule, and the display boards


Display boards

Manufacture and printing of the display boards


Portakabin (AstroCapsule) displays

Stunning vinyl images that will make the Portakabin an exciting location to learn about space science


Installation of displays

 To ensure that they look great...






Stage 3: Publicity





Design and coding with a content management system to keep the site updated



A customised map to show the location of the Astrocampus with car parking



Design and print of 10,000 flyers






Stage 4: Events




Projector and computer screens

A projector, pull down screen and four computer screens will allow for talks, demonstrations of the radio telescopes to larger groups, and link ups to both our telescopes (via webcam) and larger telescopes around the world. 


Hoodies for volunteers

Volunteers will be needed to staff the telescopes and run activities.  They should be easily identifiable.  There will be a team of 30 volunteers from the Department of Physics assisting at the site on a rotating basis. 


Training for Volunteers

A 2-day training course for all volunteers that will cover the telescopes and different workshops on offer



A set of 10 i-pads to be used by school groups for activities and as guides to the sky by the general public


Opening event

A whole-day extravaganza for school groups during the day and the general public in the evening.  This will cover venue hire, food for the volunteers, refreshments for the public/schools and expenses for a key-note speaker






Total: £24,752

Extra cash?  We'd still like to add toilets to the site.  Our nearest toilets are in the Physics and Electronics building, which is a 5-10 minute walk away.  The cost of this will be £12,000 for both the building and plumbing.  

Can’t donate?  We’d still like your help…

  • Click the 'I want to help' button above to help spread the word about this project

  • Have useful skills or contacts?  Drop us an email at

  • Keep up to date with developments at the Astrocampus by registering your interest on our website 

  • Come along for a visit!  Booking will open on our website soon. 

Find out more…