The ‘hot and energetic universe’ explored in award-winning documentary

Posted by ap507 at Feb 09, 2017 09:41 AM |
University of Leicester scientists win award for involvement in planetarium show

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 9 February 2017    

The flat screen version of the planetarium show ‘The Hot and Energetic Universe’ is available here:

Images of the award certificate and stills from the film are available here (Credit: AHEAD / T. Matsopoulos):

An award-winning documentary produced by an international consortium of space researchers, including scientists from the University of Leicester, explores the breath-taking achievements of modern astronomy.

The documentary, titled ‘The Hot and Energetic Universe’, was among ten films that were preselected to participate at the recent international planetarium movie festival in the Republic of Korea – where it took first place, winning the ‘Golden Star award’.

The University of Leicester participates in the EU-funded Integrated Activities for High Energy Astrophysics (AHEAD) project, which aims to combine the efforts of most European Institutes and Universities that are active in High Energy Astrophysics research. 

One of the key project goals is to share the exciting scientific discoveries in this research domain with the general public in Europe.

As part of this initiative, AHEAD produced the full-dome planetarium film, which has been freely distributed to planetariums around the world and has been translated into multiple languages.

The planetarium documentary presents - with the use of Immersive Visualisations and real images - the achievements of modern astronomy, from the most advanced terrestrial and orbital observatories and the basic principles of electromagnetic radiation to the natural phenomena related to the High Energy Astrophysics.

Professor Paul O’Brien, lead of the AHEAD project activities from the University of Leicester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: “The University of Leicester is a world centre for high energy astronomy and the AHEAD project aims to train and inspire the next generation of scientists. The planetarium film describes the extraordinary objects we see in the Universe and how we observe them.”

“We are particularly proud of this prize,” says the AHEAD coordinator Luigi Piro from INAF, Istituto Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Rome. “The movie shows to taxpayers how observations in X-rays provide an unprecedented view on the Universe, from the great discoveries from the past to the future Large X-ray space telescope, Athena of European Space Agency.”

The programme forms part of the AHEAD (Integrated Activities for High Energy Astrophysics) project funded under the European Union Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructure Program.

The consortium comprises among the best centres in the field, with 26 institutes and one space company from 16 countries in Europe.

A key goal of AHEAD is to integrate and open research infrastructures for high energy astrophysics and to offer a wide programme of transnational access (TNA) to the best European test and calibration facilities and training/mentoring on X-ray data analysis.


Notes to editors:

For more information about the University of Leicester’s involvement in the AHEAD project, contact Professor Paul O’Brien on email

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