BBC Stargazing live - Armagh Planetarium 5th January 2011 PDF Print E-mail

The NIAAS were invited to take part in an event at Armagh Planetarium, organized as part of the BBC Stargazing Live series of television programmes. The day was split into two parts, with organized events for children during the day, including rocket launching, the chance to record their own TV programmes etc, and later on, lectures, star shows and observing for adults. As it happened, many people actually brought their kids along in the evening as well.

The NIAAS were invited to bring along their telescopes to allow members of the public to view the skies through them. Luckily, there was clear skies for the whole evening, and everyone who attended took the opportunity to view Jupiter, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Great Nebula in Orion, and many other objects. Everyone who did so was very impressed with the views.

Our other function was to provide advice and guidance to those people who brought their own telescopes along. Many took advantage of this, and we were able to show people how to set up and align their telescopes properly, how to find the Pole Star, how to use their finderscopes, and many other things.

There was a bit of a lull as people headed off to the star shows and lectures, but afterwards, there must have been nearly 120 people crowded on to the terrace at the front of the Planetarium. Eventually, people started to drift off home at around 9.00pm.

The BBC are to be congratulated on taking the initiative and showing a series of programmes about amateur astronomy during prime time. Judging by the comments of the people at the Planetarium, the series was a great success, and certainly succeeded in its object of bringing amateur astronomy to a wider audience.

Many Thanks to David and Aoife at BBC NI, and Sinead at Armagh, for inviting the NIAAS to participate. Many Thanks also to all the guys in the NIAAS who brought along their telescopes and binoculars, and especially to Mark, Neil, Simon and Brian, who spent most of the day at Armagh, and took part in the BBC news report of the event. Available to view here! 

Check out our members images from the event in our Gallery.