Stargazing at Queen Mary 2017

To mark Global Astronomy Month in April this year, Queen Mary’s School of Physics and Astronomy hosted an evening of astronomical entertainment. The event was open to all and proved a great success, despite the cloud cover that meant we could not break out the telescopes for a spot of hands-on stargazing. We hope to organise another, similar event later in the year, when we hope for better weather. Keep an eye out here and on social media for details.


The schedule for the April event was as follows:

6:00 - 9:00  Exhibits in the People's Palace foyer: Posters and demonstrations describing how we measure starlight, the telescopes that Queen Mary's astronomers use to observe the southern skies, and how we find exoplanets. Students and staff will be on hand to offer explanations.

6:00 - 6:45  "Cassini at Saturn: the end is nigh":  Prof. Carl Murray will describe some of the unusual and exciting findings about the planet Saturn that have been revealed by the Cassini spacecraft.

6:45  Comet-making demonstration:  A fun demonstration of what a (very small) comet might look like.

7:00 - 7:45  "Observing the southern skies":  Dr Izaskun Jimenez Serra and Dr Chris Clarkson will describe the science they do (or will do!) using some of the world's most advanced telescopes in the southern hemisphere. Find out about the search for the building blocks of life in stellar nurseries, and how we will peer ever deeper into space to probe the earliest epochs of the Universe.

7:30 - 9:00 Stargazing on the lawn:  Join Prof. Steve Thomas and his telescopes to take a closer look at some of the celestial objects visible from Queen Mary's front lawn. This will of course depend on the weather, but all being well you will be able to see the Moon and Jupiter and maybe catch a glimpse of a comet as well.

7:45  Comet-making demonstration:  A fun demonstration of what a (very small) comet might look like.

8:00 - 8:30  "The hunt for Proxima b":  Hear how an international team led by QMUL astronomer Dr Guillem Anglada Escude found a planet around the nearest star to Earth. Is this the most likely place for us to find evidence for some form of life amongst the stars?

9:00  evening ends

Image credit: John Colosimo (