Families discover universe and stars at Portsmouth university event

Catherine Riddett, Rupert 1, Alasdair 4, Iris 5, Lilly 9 and Amanda Gregory using special glasses to observe glowing gas at an evening of astronomy, stargazing, space activities, cosmology chat and talks. 'Picture: Habibur Rahman
Catherine Riddett, Rupert 1, Alasdair 4, Iris 5, Lilly 9 and Amanda Gregory using special glasses to observe glowing gas at an evening of astronomy, stargazing, space activities, cosmology chat and talks. 'Picture: Habibur Rahman
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FAMILIES spent the evening discovering the universe and learning about galaxies at an annual event.

The Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG), at the University of Portsmouth, hosted Stargazing at the historic dockyard last night.

Youngsters and their parents were given the chance to ask the students about the universe and take part in activities showcasing what they learn about.

Jen Gupta, from the university, said: ‘This is the fifth time we have held an event like this and it is about getting the public involved in what we do at the ICG.

‘A lot of people don’t realise the sort of research we do even happens in Portsmouth so it is great to spread the word and share what we do with families.

‘It also gives them the chance to ask our experts questions and hopefully it will inspire them to take physics at A-level and learn more about the subject.

360 experience of the universe with Nick Savage, Claudia Maraston, Florence Hind 8, Kees Jansen and Charlie Ensor. ''Picture: Habibur Rahman

360 experience of the universe with Nick Savage, Claudia Maraston, Florence Hind 8, Kees Jansen and Charlie Ensor. ''Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We have tried to grow the event each year and offer at least one new activity and people who come along seem to enjoy it.’

At Action Stations, visitors were able to do a virtual reality tour of the universe, feel 3D print-outs of the galaxy and learn about the science behind time and space.

On HMS Warrior families got to learn how sailors used the night skies to navigate and the artefacts they used to help.

Unfortunately, due to the rain the telescopes could not be used. But people attending still enjoyed the free event.

A lot of people don’t realise the sort of research we do even happens in Portsmouth so it is great to spread the word and share what we do with families.

Jen Gupta

John and Michelle Bright, from Southsea, took their son Liam, six, and Lorna, four. Michelle said: ‘It has been a great evening and it is so interesting. Living in the city we don’t always see stars but the kids enjoyed it. It isn’t something they get to learn about all the time.’

Tom Keets from Cosham, who went with his girlfriend Natalie Brooks, said: ‘We love all this sort of science and it was really interesting hearing from the students and the experts.

‘It is such a fascinating topic and these sorts of events are a great way to get people interested and involved.’

Ben Fisher, 6, holding a real meterorite.'''Picture: Habibur Rahman PPP-180130-201737006

Ben Fisher, 6, holding a real meterorite.'''Picture: Habibur Rahman PPP-180130-201737006

Nevaeh Dunmore-Simlins, 8, next to a Dobsonian Relfector Telescope'. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Nevaeh Dunmore-Simlins, 8, next to a Dobsonian Relfector Telescope'. Picture: Habibur Rahman