The James Irwin Observatory is located within the grounds of Canterbury Academy and Adult Education Centre. Public access to the observatory is welcomed and facilitated by the enthusiastic members of Mid-Kent Astronomical Society who hold regular open evenings of the facility — visitors should contact the Society directly to arrange their visit, which starts with a rendezvous in the nearby Victoria Hotel before being escorted to the observatory.
The observatory itself is currently home to a large 14″ computer-controlled Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. The observatory’s original telescope, a huge half-meter aperture Grubb-Parsons manufactured telescope originally built to train students at Edinburgh University and relocated to the South West in 2012, is currently being refurbished.
To see dates when the observatory is open to the public please see the events listed under the Victoria Hotel – Canterbury.
Location events organiser
Mid-Kent Astronomical Society organises events at this location
Please contact Mid-Kent Astronomical Society directly with any enquiries relating to visiting this location
Weather forecast for Canterbury (0.8 miles away) updated 16/09/21 at 16:00.
Local light pollution
The above demonstrates the estimated effect of light pollution - graphics created using Stellarium.
Best time to visit
The below chart shows when the skies will be at their darkest at this location and therefore the best time to visit. Moonlight is shown in light yellow and the Sun's twilight in light blue. Midnight on the date shown is shown as a white line with sunset to the left and sunrise the next morning to the right. A black background with stars shows the best times for stargazing. See our dark sky calendar for more details.