Public turn out in force for free stargazing event in Portsmouth

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Hundreds of people turned their eyes skywards at a free stargazing event in Portsmouth.

University of Portsmouth astronomers hosted the event with Action Stations and HMS Warrior 1860 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, to tie in with the BBC’s 
Stargazing Live TV programmes.

Budding astronomers and amateur stargazers were given the opportunity to look through telescopes, learn how sailors navigate by the stars and find out more about the universe.

Dr Jen Gupta, astrophysicist and outreach officer, said: ‘This was the fourth annual Stargazing Live event that we’ve held at the Dockyard and we think it was the best one yet.

‘There has been so much excitement about our alumnus and astronaut Tim Peake launching into space and we wanted to build on this by inviting people to come along and learn about stargazing, navigation, cosmology and space.

‘We had over 1,100 booked on and 250 on the waiting list, with half of the tickets snapped up within a week of sales going live.’

Director of the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, Professor David Wands, said: ‘This year’s Stargazing Live event was a great fun community occasion and it was wonderful to see members of the public enthused and inspired by the activities on offer.

‘It was also fantastic to see scientists in the department explaining their work and being reminded of the excitement and wonder which first attracted them to the study of cosmology.’