Budding astronomers explore Universe at Portsmouth Stargazing event
Astronomers of all ages explored the wonders of the Universe at a Stargazing event in Portsmouth on Tuesday 31st January.
University of Portsmouth astronomers hosted the event at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and over 600 people visited, despite misty skies and rain.
The event was organised by the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation in collaboration with Action Stations and HMS Warrior 1860.
Budding astronomers and amateur stargazers were given the opportunity to explore the Universe, learn how sailors navigate using the stars, build rockets, learn about gravity, listen to talks on cosmology, and identify galaxies.
Dr. Jen Gupta, astrophysicist and outreach officer, said: “The weather may not have been on our side [on Tuesday], but this certainly didn’t affect our event, which saw hundreds of people engaging with the activities on offer.
“This is the fifth time we’ve run Stargazing at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and we’re so pleased with how it went. It’s wonderful to see people of all ages taking part in activities [which] enthuse them about the Universe.”
Isaac Wagstaff (pictured above), aged five, said: “My favourite part was having my face painted with a sparkly red star. I learnt that if a star is red it means it’s a really old star — even older than my daddy!”
University astrophysicists, cosmologists, and physics students were joined by Hampshire Astronomical Group, Airbus Defence & Space, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Cody Astronomical Society, and the South Downs National Park Authority to talk to attendees, while staff and volunteers from HMS Warrior 1860 and Action Stations were on hand with activities centred on navigation and rockets.
Director of the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, Professor David Wands, said: “Our annual Stargazing event gives me and my academic colleagues the chance to share our excitement about cosmology with the local public, which makes for a fun-filled community occasion.”