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Astrocampus celebrates birthday with year of dazzling events

Posted on 25 February 2015

The University of York’s Astrocampus will host a range of events this year to celebrate both its first birthday and UNESCO’s International Year of Light.

Astrocampus (credit: Josh Booth)

The Astrocampus, unique to the area and run by the University’s Department of Physics, allows the public to discover the secrets of the night sky with a variety of telescopes and hands-on space exploration activities. 

Next month, it will open every night from Monday 16 to Friday 20 March for British Science Week 2015 and the BBC’s Stargazing Live Week. On Monday 16 March Dr Chris Stewart, Physics Lecturer at the University of Sydney, will give a talk on the value of astronomy. Student-run workshops, tours of the telescopes and space-themed activities for children will run from 6.30 – 7.30pm for the rest of the week, culminating in the chance to see the solar eclipse from 8.45 – 10.45am on Friday 20 March.

From 12 – 16 June, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) astrophysics roadshow will visit the University’s Physics Exhibition Centre. Part of the York Festival of Ideas, Big Telescopes will feature a number of high-profile guest speakers, a variety of experiments and interactive activities. 

With school visits on three days, the roadshow will be open to the public on Sunday 14 June from 11am – 5pm. Featuring demonstrations and fascinating lectures, photographs from an inaugural astrophotography competition will also be displayed.

Katherine Leech, Physics Outreach Co-Ordinator, said: “It is an exciting year for the Astrocampus, with many events coming up that are tied into national and international awareness campaigns. We encourage anyone interested in finding out more about our Universe to join us for a tour of the Astrocampus or come along to the roadshow. Astrocampus events go ahead whatever the weather, so please ensure that you wrap up warm for those not so pleasant nights! The events are designed to be suitable for all ages.”

The Astrocampus is located behind the Sports Centre on the south-west side of the University of York’s Heslington West campus. Access is from the cycle path behind the Sports Centre and the Astrocampus can be contacted on the night on 01904 322249 and prior to evening events on 01904 322209.

Further information:

  • For further information and links to reserve free tickets via Eventbrite, visit: http://www.astrocampus.org.uk 
  • The University of York’s Department of Physics at is running an astronomical photography competition, with the winning entries making up a 2016 calendar.

The competition will be divided into 4 categories: children up to 10 years old; between 11-16 years old; students (16-21 years old) and adults (above 21 years old). The top 3 photos in each category will feature on the calendar. There will also be bonus prizes for finishing in second and first place within each category.

To be eligible, the photo must be of something astronomical (the night sky, the sun, the moon, etc.) and must have been taken in Yorkshire. If you can include a Yorkshire landmark, this will be looked upon favourably! Composite photos are also welcome.

Public opinion will be taken into consideration, as all entries will be displayed at a dedicated stand throughout the Department of Physics’ Big Telescopes exhibition from 12 - 16 June.  The final verdict will be made by a team of astronomers and photographers from the University of York, with the results announced on Monday 15 June.

Entries should be sent to astrocampus@york.ac.uk, featuring the photo, the name and age of the photographer, and the time, date and location of the photo being taken. Photos should be in JPEG or PNG format, and at least 3000dpi. Any queries should be directed to the same address.

The closing date for entries is Friday 29th May.

For more information on how to enter the astrophotography competition, visit: http://www.astrocampus.org.uk 

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