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Thousands gather at Royal Holloway to explore the night sky with BBC Stargazing Live

Posted on 10/01/2014

BBC Stargazing Live

A crowd of around 7,000 turned up to discover the world of astronomy with BBC Stargazing Live at Royal Holloway last night (Thursday 9 January).

The main event for the BBC Two series, which saw the University campus come alive with astronomy amateurs, enthusiasts and experts, was hosted by comedian and science presenter Helen Arney and TV astronomer Mark Thompson who broadcast a live starcast and other highlights to the BBC Two show.

The night’s entertainment included fun, space-themed activities such as the chance to train like an astronaut, become an interplanetary weather reporter, build a universe from Lego, and view the night sky through specialist telescopes.

A light show was created by more than 40 students from Royal Holloway’s Department of Physics who used torches and a clever piece of camera technology to plot out the Great Bear and other constellations in the North Quad for the live BBC show.

Tim Powell-Harper, who brought his young family along to the evening’s event, commented: “Royal Holloway is always involving the local community. Children get to do something they wouldn’t usually do, which brings about an interest in science.”

A live stage show provided science-themed entertainment, and there was also a special performance by Royal Holloway’s choir Absolute Harmony. Resina Bedi, who was attending with her 8 year old son, said: “This is our first time to Royal Holloway and it’s a lovely setting. Tonight has been really interesting, and a great way to get children involved in space and planets.”

A host of leading astronomy experts, including Royal Holloway’s own academics, were on hand throughout the event to guide visitors through the stargazing experience.

Dr Stewart Boogert, from the Department of Physics at Royal Holloway, said: “It’s fantastic that BBC Stargazing came to Royal Holloway and to see so many young people here being inspired by astronomy.”

He added: “Everyone who came along or enjoyed the event on TV can always go out on a clear night and look at the stars. As a scientist, the best part of my job is to try and understand and to explain to others how the universe is put together, so to be involved in an event like BBC Stargazing gives me a huge sense of fulfilment.”

Watch a gallery of photos taken at the BBC Stargazing event on our Discover Science webpage

If you missed Royal Holloway on BBC Stargazing Live, here is your chance to see it again.


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