Thursday, 16 January 2014

Stargazing Live

by Tim Bustin
PGS Science Ambassadors at the Stargazing Live event, with Dallas Campbell
On Tuesday the 7th January, PGS Science Ambassadors were a part of BBC’s Stargazing Live Event for the third year running. It’s a chance for the general public to learn about the technical side behind all of the science involving the study of the universe beyond our world – from being able to see the Mars rover up close, to learning about being an astronaut; from lectures hosted by T.V. scientist Dallas Campbell, to interactive displays (run by PGS) on the effects of gravity and how spectroscopy (analysing the wavelengths of light emitted by stars) can be used to discover which elements make up the stars.

This year’s activities were at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and even hours before the event opened to the public, huge queues of people were raving to get in. An amateur astronomy activity on the HMS Warrior allowed the public to identify famous constellations and stars, as well as planets. For the younger children there were reaction testing boards and a “make your own alien” competition using marshmallows.
South Today were there to make an article for the local news, and PGS’s own Sally Hall and Hugh Summers were interviewed live for BBC Radio Solent, briefly explaining the school’s role in the night’s events, which went on for a good three hours of non-stop teaching, explaining and occasionally being corrected by a member of the “public” who turned out to be either a science teacher or degree level physics student. But, despite a tiring evening, everyone, including all the staff and Science Ambassadors involved, went away with either a smile on their face or a little bit more knowledge in their heads. Incredibly successful for another year running, and hopefully even more enjoyable too for the years to come.

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