Fratton Big Local Festival of Light: 12 pictures of giant breath-taking sun installation at St Mary's Church

A giant sun lit up St Mary’s Church in Fratton for the festival of light.

‘SUN’, an ambitious and unique experience created from a collaboration between astrophysicists and artists, was unveiled at the religious monument on Thursday (November 16). Visitors gasped in awe at the seven-metre floating model while an original soundscape from electroacoustic composer Ebe Oke played in the background.

Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory, leading UK solar astrophysicist Professor Robert Walsh and artist Alex Rinsler came together to create the sculpture. Professor Walsh from the University of Central Lancashire, who will be attending the event, said: You see a full representation of the sun with no computer generation. We like people to walk under SUN and experience the ‘wow’ factor.

“SUN was premiered in Autumn 2019 before lockdown, but the team have only started to take the installation on tour in 2022. We see SUN as a vehicle for people to explore and learn something new about their place in space and the connection to our closest star.”

Father Bob White, Vicar of St Mary’s and Chair of Fratton Big Local, said: “After the amazing Museum of the Moon last year and the thousands of people who came to experience it, we are delighted that this year we have been able to welcome SUN. It has never been seen on the south coast and we are looking forward to welcoming the local community and beyond to come and enjoy the stunning installation in a beautiful space.”

The popular lantern parade was also held in Fratton last night, with dozens of people walking past the church.

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