Our Stargazing Live activities this year began on Tuesday 8th January. During the day, students took part in an Apollo missions workshop and had the opportunity to examine lunar soil samples and meteorites on loan from the Natural History Museum.
In the evening there was a public lecture about the planet Mars by our guest speaker: Anu Ojha from the National Space Academy. There were lots of hands on activities during the talk including a chance to experiment on marshmallow astronauts! The weather was too cloudy for observing but that didn’t dampen our spirits. There were fun activities for visitors to try after the talk, including the opportunity to sample real space food and learn about space nappies! Sarah Hill and Sophie Allan from the National Space Academy were also on hand to answer space related questions posed by visitors. They bought along a 1960’s high altitude pressure suit and a set of solar panels from the Hubble Space Telescope that were replaced during a servicing mission in 2001.
We also had a number of guests from East Midlands Stargazers who bought along a selection of telescopes and were happy to advise visitors on all things astronomy related. See the link below to visit their website and join their forum.
On Wednesday we held our ‘Exploring the Universe Day’ for year 8 students and were joined by Friesland, Saint John Houghton and William Allitt schools. Students took part in a number of workshops including: building telescopes, launching rockets, imaging and observing the Sun through the observatory’s hydrogen alpha telescope. They also had an opportunity to examine the lunar and meteorite samples, hold a piece of the Hubble telescope and meet an early astronaut nicknamed Fred!
On Wednesday evening there was a lecture about the Moon by Chris Newsome from the Derby and District Astronomical Society during which he showed his own spectacular photographs of the Moon. Following the talk the sky was clear and we were able to view objects such as Jupiter and the Orion nebula in the observatory and through telescopes brought along by the East Midlands Stargazers team.