IT'S THE WEEKEND: Family fun - Stargazing in the National Museum

First published in News

If your youngsters are gripped by astronomy, an even at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff today could be perfect to whet their appetites for space. CARYS THOMAS investigates.

THE constellation Ursa Major is known as the the Big Bear to some or even the Frying Pan. Families can learn all the names to stars and constellations in a star gazing event at the National Museum in Cardiff today. (Jan11)

As part of the BBC Stargazing Live 2014 event, the museum will be hosting a free fun-filled day of astronomical activities, talks and displays for all the family on between 10am-4pm. The popular Stargazing Live events will reveal images from Earth’s most powerful telescopes during three nights of extraordinary astronomical events.

There will be an opportunity to hear two space talks today, the 'Mysteries of the Solar System' by Dr Chris North, researcher at Cardiff University and Herschel Space Observatory UK Outreach Officer at 12pm and another at 2pm by Professor Mike Edmunds, Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics, Cardiff University who will discuss 'Expanding the Universe - Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton.'

Families will be able to experience stargazing through the ages with a look through Galileo and Newton's early telescopes and compare them to today’s high-tech telescopes. There will be a space craft session in the Clore Discover centre between 11am and 4pm for children to make spaced themed art to take home.

Cardiff University will be helping visitors to discover how astronomers explore the sky at multiple wavelengths using the Herschel and Planck space telescopes.

Dr Lucy M. E. McCobb, Palaeontology Curator, National Museum Wales, said: “Our Stargazing day proves more popular every year so we’re excited about the big day on Saturday. We’ve got a full day of fun free events and activities for stargazers and future astronomers.

"There will be plenty of museum scientists to talk to and answer any questions so we hope visitors come and join us for a fun-filled day of stargazing events.”

The University of South Wales astronomy group, will have images displayed at the museum including their Faulkes Telescope Project and visitors can learn more about tackling light pollution with the Campaign for Dark Skies.

A quiz on meteorites will be running to see if you can tell the difference between space rocks from other objects. The event is a chance to explore the Museum’s meteorite collection where you can use the impact simulator to discover the effects of a meteorite hitting your home town.

Anyone who thinks they've found a meteorite can bring it in and the museum scientists will identify it for you. Visitors will have a chance to view the Evolution of Wales gallery to discover a Moon rock collected by Apollo 12 astronauts and meteorites that have travelled millions of miles through space to Earth.

Families can find out about joining local astronomical societies and explore the planets with the giant model of the solar system.

There will also be a talk by astrobiologist Dr Lewis Dartnell on the search for life in the universe and opportunities to talk to professional and amateur astronomers at the Alfred Russel Wallace building, Upper Glyntaf campus, Cardiff at 7pm. Telescope observations will take place if the weather is clear.

For more information visit www.museumwales.ac.uk

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