BBC Stargazing Live 2013 heads to York

12 Dec 2012 @ 3.04 pm
| News

Professor Brian Cox. Photograph: BBC
Issued by York Museums Trust

The BBC’s Stargazing Live is heading back to the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens in January to encourage everyone – from the complete beginner to the enthusiastic amateur – to make the most of the night sky.

From using the York Observatory to building your own telescope, dressing up as astronauts to venturing into a cosmodome, the FREE event offers families the chance to try different activities and speak to experts about subjects such as space travel, comets and navigation by the stars.

The event will take place on January 10 from 5.30pm to 9pm. All activities are free but timed tickets for the York Observatory should be booked in advance by going to Eventbrite from 9am on January 2.

Helen Young, museum manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome back BBC Stargazing Live to the gardens. Last year’s event was a real success with more than 3,000 people attending.

“This year we have organised a wide range of events for people to enjoy and learn about the magic of the night sky.”

Organised by BBC Learning and York Museums Trust the event is one of a number being held up and down the country bringing together astronomical societies, museums and discovery centres, country parks and local authorities.

The event at Yorkshire Museum and Gardens will include activities in the York Observatory, the oldest working observatory in the county. Weather permitting, visitors will be able to use the telescope to see the night sky and also learn about the history of the building. Because of demand last year, advanced timed tickets have been introduced.

York Astronomical Society will set up a bank of telescopes for people to use in front of the Yorkshire Museum and astronomer Martin Lunn will be giving an outdoor talk, incorporating projections of space onto the Multangular Tower in the gardens.

In the museum the newly restored Abraham Sharp’s Telescope will be on display with a curator on hand to bring it to life for visitors. A range of other historical telescopes will also be on show.

A Cosmodome will also be open for people to take a ten minute trip around the solar system and the Stellarium will give people the chance to look at the night sky in the Science Lab’s new Star Zone. The Star Centre in Keithley are also coming along to the event to allow kids to dress up as astronauts and see their robotic moon buggy.

Other activities include the chance to make your own telescope, create pastel drawings of galaxies, see the historic star maps and how they were used for navigation and the opportunity to take a Star Trail around the museum.

York Observatory will also be open from 5pm to 7pm on January 8 and 9 as part of the BBC Stargazing Live events nationwide. Please note that the Observatory can only hold a very small number of people so visitors should be prepared to wait if we are full when they arrive.

Around 113,000 people took part in Stargazing LIVE events around the UK last year. The TV series, which returns to BBC TWO on January 8th, 9th and 10th 2013, is hosted by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain with over three days of live stargazing featuring epic images from observatories around the globe.

Professor Cox says: “During the last series amateur stargazers were hunting for planets and this year we will be hunting for asteroids and strange ‘spider’ like features on mars. Everyone can get involved and you never know what we will find – there are so many possibilities out there.”

To accompany the TV series and the events, BBC Learning is producing a number of free resources including a Star Guide and a special Star Party pack so that people can get involved by planning their own star party at home. They will be available to download at from early December.

The Star Party pack has ideas for great activities to get your party going. It offers a variety of top tips that can be customised to suit any age range. Share in the fun of cooking up a Stargazing menu and create cool decorations to give the party that intergalactic feel.

The pack provides inspiration to provide interactive activities that everyone can enjoy. There’s even a list of space themed songs to launch your party into the stratosphere. The Star Guide is a comprehensive handbook to what can be seen in the night sky.

As well as the BBC led partner events, hundreds of other organisations are planning events and activities up and down the country including local communities, astronomical societies, science centres and schools. To find an event near you visit the BBC’s Things To Do website.

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