Hampshire Astronomical Group

Celebrating 50 years (1960 - 2010)

Site Safety For Visiting Members Of The Public

Astronomy can hardly be described as an ‘extreme sport’; looking at the night sky is a relatively safe activity. Non-the-less the Hampshire Astronomical Group (Group) undertakes regular safety checks of equipment and facilities and acts to mitigate any hazard as far as is practically possible.

First aid equipment is situated in all buildings around the observatory as is fire fighting equipment. There are a number of Group members who are first aid trained and the Group pays for their training and updates.

A safety briefing is always given to all parties visiting the site at the commencement of the visit. This will be tailored to your visit, age group and activities planned for the day/evening.

However there are some aspects health and safety that members of the public should consider prior to visiting the observatory.

  • Firstly, the site is largely on grass and so a good pair of walking shoes is always recommended whatever time of year a visit is planned
  • There is strictly no access on the two large water reservours, members of the public must not walk up the grass banks or walk on top of the reservours
  • The site, for obvious reasons is dark at night and is illuminated by low wattage red lights. A small personal torch is ideal for illuminating the ground in front of you when you walk around at night. Members of the Group in attendance during visits will also have their own torches and can assist you
  • Any particular medical condition which you feel may be adversely affected by a visit can be discussed in confidence with our Group’s visit organiser when a booking is made. In such circumstances it may be helpful to discuss this with your own medical advisor. Chairs are situated in all domes if needed
  • If anyone should have an accident whilst on site, this must be reported to a member of the observatory staff
  • During the evenings it can become cold on site and wind chill can be a significant hazard, especially during the late autumn, winter and early spring months. A look at our weather station will give you an indication of recent temperatures at the observatory. All visitors are advised to wrap up warm, and wear a nice wooly hat, scarf and gloves along with a good wind proof coat (we don’t judge visitors sense of fashion when it comes to staying warm!) Remember - it is easy to take a layer of clothing off if one is feeling too hot
  • Because of the potential for getting cold outside and in the unheated domes, visits are not recommended for babies and small children (under 6 years of age)
  • The support building is warm and hot beverages can be made available if requested
  • In the event of an evacuation of the buildings the muster point is in the car park
  • If emergency services need to be called to the site we ask that all visitors wait until emergency services are on site before leaving. This will avoid the emergency services being delayed on reaching the site as a consequence of many cars driving in down the lane when the emergency services are trying to drive up the single track lane to the observatory
  • Observatory staff will help visitors and marshall you around the site as we are very familiar with the site. For your own comfort and safety we ask that you please follow their instructions
  • When driving on site (to and from the car park) we ask that you keep your vehicle speed to a walking pace
  • Our landlords have stated that this site is a non-smoking site, we ask that like us, you observe their instruction
  • In the event of extreme weather such as snow or storms/gales etc. we will cancel any visit and reschedule that visit to a later date. In this event we will contact your group visit organiser and advise accordingly.
  • Accessability to the site is always flagged on the front of the Group’s website in either Green (good access) …Amber (access but with care) …or Red (access not possible)..