Thursday 17 January 2013

Stargazing Live 2013

We participated in 2 stargazing live events this January.

All the Team at the Newbury Stargazing event on the 9th Jan.

For our event on 8th at the Univerisity we had loads of activities going on- see the event brite website here

Eventbrite website for Event (scroll down to below the tickets bit) 

 We sold out all of our free tickets and were expecting over 350 people. As with all stargazing events access to the telescopes and roof observatories is the most popular activity but unfortunately for us it was cloudy and rainy and the roof observatory part of the event got cancelled. 

However, over 150 people still came along and the planetarium Soton Astrodome was full and there was a good turn out for all the astronomy talks and the Astrophotography talk. All the people I spoke to seemed extremely enthused and asked us to run more evening stargazing events like this. 

 On the 9th at Newbury our 4 planetarium shows in SotonAstrodome sold out in first 10 mins of the racecourse opening its doors to the public. At this event over 1500 people attended and the sky was perfect. As well as the planetarium my team and myself took along the inflatable planets and talked about the solar system, and showcased the world wide telescope software on a flat screen next to the astrodome- where we talked about the life cycle of stars. I estimate our Team of 7 engaged with over 160 people. 

 Therefore, cross the 2 events we engaged with over 300 people.

Media from events

There are 2 videos from our stargazing event on campus here:

The press release about the event at Uni which just went up on the website is here (please feel free to knick parts of this etc)

We did an event on the 8th at Uni and were at the BBC South event at Newbury Racecourse on the 9th. All the photos taken over those 2 days are here and you can again steal any of these for your article.

Additional Comments

I think the stargazing events are important and amazing because they get everyone involved and inspired. It introduces astronomy and space to a lot of people who don't realise they can simply go outside and look up. For me personally I am always shocked by my friends from school etc who come up to me when I am back home after the shows and they tell me they have watched stargazing live and they want me to send them information about getting telescopes and stargazing because they are really inspired! I am used to being approached and interested people on stargazing live events at University but the TV shows make astronomy much wider reaching. 
For the children and young adults who visit stargazing events I think the scientists/PhD students and academics they meet are great role models. For them to see that they are just normal people at these events is very important. I think the great thing about stargazing events is that people will come along and speak to researchers etc about things which they consider crazy and 'out there' like 'Black Holes' etc and when they realise all these students at the University actually study these subjects everyday. I think knowing that this career/future is ‘within reach’ can inspire them to take up Physics degrees and see a future for themselves in Physics and Astronomy 

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