The sky’s the limit at University’s celebration of the astronomical

Posted by er134 at Jan 06, 2014 10:58 AM |
Space experts ready to launch Stargazing LIVE at the University of Leicester on Wednesday 8 January

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 6 January 2014

Photo/filming opportunities: Media are invited to attend Stargazing at the University of Leicester on Wednesday 8 January. Events from 4pm – 6pm will specifically be for younger visitors (Primary/early secondary school students) while events from 6pm are aimed at all ages. Contact or 0116 252 2415 to confirm your attendance or for further information.

You can listen to, download and embed a podcast of Dr Lewis Dartnell discussing what aliens might look like here:

For more information about the field of astrobiology, you can listen to, download and embed this podcast:

Amateur stargazers and aspiring astronomers will be gathering at the University of Leicester on Wednesday 8 January for an evening of ice-cream meteorites, home-made comets - and insights from space scientists at the cutting edge of their field.

In anticipation of the exciting evening ahead, a Leicester expert on alien life has given a taster of his talk in a podcast available on the University of Leicester website.

Stargazing LIVE returns to the University of Leicester on Wednesday 8 January 2014 and is now fully booked with up to 2500 visitors anticipated on the day. The event will kick off at 4pm with talks and interactive activities particularly suitable for younger astronomers and their families, then at 6pm begins a vast array of events that will appeal to visitors of all ages.

A full programme of events on the day is now available at

As well as fantastic hands-on activities such as building and launching a rocket, making meteorite ice cream and of course a little ‘stargazing’ (weather permitting!), visitors will have the opportunity to meet experts speaking.

Already confirmed to speak are Dr John Bridges, who will describe his exciting experiences working with the Curiosity Rover on Mars; Dr Mark Wilkinson, who will explain how to build a galaxy; and Black Hole expert Professor Ken Pounds, who will discuss his many years exploring this phenomena.

Dr Lewis Dartnell, who will take visitors on a tour of the other planets and moons in our solar system which may harbour life, and even further afield, has recorded a podcast on his search for life beyond Earth. In the podcast Dr Dartnell explains which features he would expect aliens to share with us and which are likely to vary as a result of evolution. You can listen to the podcast here:

Professor Martin Barstow, Head of the College of Science and Engineering and incoming President of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: “The enthusiastic reaction by viewers to the flagship BBC programme Stargazing LIVE has demonstrated a huge appetite for hands-on astronomy events. We want to give everyone an opportunity to get engaged in astronomy and space science by visiting our Stargazing LIVE event at the University of Leicester, learn more about the research we do and have a great, fun evening.”

Dr Tracey Dickens of the Department of Physics and Astronomy said: “Stargazing LIVE at the University of Leicester gives people of all backgrounds and ages a chance to learn something new about astronomy and space science. Whether it is from the numerous talks, hands-on demos or interactive activities there is something for everyone.”

In 2013 Stargazing LIVE achieved huge success, inspiring thousands of people nationwide to go outside and stargaze! In January 2014 the series returns to BBC Two to investigate our night skies further and encourage more children, families and individuals across the UK to get out, about and starry eyed.

The next series is due to be broadcast on 7th, 8th and 9th January 2014 and Dara O’Briain and Professor Brian Cox will be returning to explore the wonders of the universe.

Please note that this event is fully booked.


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Tracey Dickens via e-mail

For enquiries about the event e-mail

Images from Stargazing LIVE 2013 available to download at:

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