Lancaster schoolchildren enjoy virtual planetarium at Lancaster University

Schoolchildren are able to experience a virtual planetarium thanks to Lancaster University.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 3:45 pm
Dr Julie Wardlow from the Department of Physics at Lancaster University.

The Physics Department had been bringing their mobile inflatable planetarium to schools across the region but Covid-19 means such visits are on hold.

Instead, scientists have devised remote sessions to enable children to experience the wonders of the night sky despite the pandemic.

The planetarium called LUniverse offers a 360 degree immersive experience using state-of-the-art equipment.

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Anyone wishing to book the virtual planetarium can contact [email protected] to discuss event planning and the needs of the audience; find out more here

Dr Julie Wardlow from the Department of Physics said: “Although we can’t use the physical planetarium dome at the moment we don’t want people to miss out on seeing the wonders of the Universe up close, so we are offering these remote shows to help inspire people to look up at the night sky and explore space.

“You can take a tour of astronomical telescopes around the world, land on the surface of planets, view the Earth from Mars and look at a solar eclipse. It can take you anywhere you want to go in the Universe.”

So far there have been remote planetarium shows at Cockerham Parochial Primary School, St Bernadette’s Primary in Lancaster and St Mary’s Primary School in Kirby Lonsdale.

There are also plans for online events with several other schools, Brownie groups and the Cumbria Dark Skies Festival.

“Once the audience are connected, we share our screen and take everyone on a tour of the night sky. The details of the logistics depend a bit upon the set up at the audience end but particularly for children, we aim for interactivity throughout and with plenty of time for questions.”

LUniverse is partially funded by the university with an additional £30,000 contribution from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.