Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Stargazing - Live

by Fergus Houghton-Connell and Tim Bustin

With the huge success of BBC 2’s inaugural series Stargazing – Live, Brian Cox and Dara O’Brien returned this year to present more about our solar system and what exactly is out there. On January 10th, HMS Warrior, in association with Stargazing – Live, hosted an evening of astronomy-related activities and lectures open to the general public. PGS was fortunate enough to be a part of this spectacular evening, with pupils from Year 9 Science Club and Sixth Form Science Ambassadors running hands-on science activities, ranging from a “Moon jigsaw” to spectroscopy, from how the same object would weigh on different planets to trying to spot a comet!

The event started two hours early for PGS pupils, who had to spend some time setting up the activities (and to get a crash course in astronomy from Mr Thomas). When HMS Warrior opened itself to the general public at 4pm, people flooded in. Everyone from toddlers to grandparents was interested in some way in what was going on; the younger children were more than happy just to watch the bright colours, as electric currents were passed through different gases, whilst the young science students and adults learnt how analysing the light frequencies from far away stars gives us hints as to what these stars are actually made of.

Other activities by different groups were also taking place, along with lectures detailing how comets are made (complete with demonstrations on how to make your own). Some people had even set up telescopes on the deck of the ship. Despite the cold and cloud cover, which reduced chances of actually seeing anything almost to zero, the evening was, overall, a huge success. PGS pupils engaged with members of the public, explaining sometimes complex science to those with little previous knowledge (although it turned out that some members of the "public" were actually experienced physicists and astronomers, who decided to teach the pupils instead). The evening was a chance to inspire and enlighten and, despite it lasting well into the night, it is fair to say it has done just that.
See our PGS Stargazing --- Live video below:


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