Starry Night: Family stargazing evening shines bright at the Science Oxford Centre
December 4, 2023
The stars came out for an out-of-this-world, free family stargazing evening and spectacular planetarium show at the Science Oxford Centre in Headington on Friday 1st December
Visitors were invited to gaze at the night sky over Oxford, guided by Abingdon Astronomical Society, and explore our world from space in an astrono-mazing journey in Science Oxford’s inflatable dome.
A bright start to the winter season, local communities from Wood Farm, Barton Neighbourhood Centre and Headington Quarry enjoyed the illuminating evening thanks to Science Oxford’s exciting partnership with Bold Futures (a partnership of UK’s Association of Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), Museums Association, The Liminal Space and Wellcome Trust) and the Our World From Space project (funded by UK Space Agency in partnership with Natural Environment Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation.)
Abingdon Astronomical Society volunteers used telescopes to help families pick out Jupiter with its moons and Saturn with its rings in the night sky and showed them how to tell the difference between a star and a planet. Families took home an instruction leaflet on how to find the North Star from home.
Young people also had the chance to create their own constellation projector and night vision torch – a must have for all budding astronomers!
Kat Kelly, Science Oxford’s resident astrophysicist and Planetarium Content Developer, said “It was great to see the excitement of families as we “flew” them through space in our planetarium to show awe-inspiring views of the Earth and how space science and satellites have helped us learn about our planet.”
Sian Stratton, Community Outreach Manager, at Science Oxford, said: “We were delighted to be able to offer the community free tickets to our first Starry Night: Family Stargazing evening thanks to our partnership with Bold Futures. It’s was great opportunity for families and young people to discover the night sky over Oxford, with astronomers and experts on hand. Visitors of all ages also had fun with star-gazing inspired hands-on activities and enjoyed some cake and hot chocolate to keep warm!”
Visitors to the Starry Night event said:
“It was a really nice experience. A once in a lifetime opportunity.” Chanda, aged 15.
“The kids loved looking at Jupiter and Mathilda enjoyed the cake and hot chocolate too!” Steve Jones, parent.
Local councillor for Headington Quarry and Risinghurst, Chewe Munkonge, said: “It is wonderful to see so many local families enjoying Science Oxford’s first Starry Night evening, giving them a unique opportunity to explore the wonders of the Universe. Science Oxford have put on a wonderful event.”
Festive events coming up with Science Oxford include creating ‘Glow Up’ Festive Cards with circuits at Science Club (ages 5-9, 16th December); Programming a smart cup for hot drinks at Creative Computing Club (ages 9-12, 9th December). Families can also visit the Science Oxford Centre and winter woodland over the Christmas holidays on 27, 28 & 30 December. The new year starts with a Sensory-friendly Family day on 6th January, 2024.
See what’s on and book ahead at scienceoxford.com.
Feature image: Chewe Munkonge, local councillor with family at Starry Night, Science Oxford Centre (photo by Ed Nix)