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Stargazing goes LIVE in Wales

Monday 16th January 2012

Stargazing: Amateur astronomers using a small telescope connected to a laptop.

Stargazing: Amateur astronomers using a small telescope connected to a laptop.

One of the most popular factual BBC series of last year - Stargazing LIVE - returns to our screens this week and, to help mark the celestial celebrations, the Institute of Physics in Wales (IOPW) has bought universities and astronomical societies together again to run a series of stargazing events.

The events present an opportunity for total beginners, amateur astronomers and professional stargazers to explore the night sky together at three different locations across Wales - Llanelli in the west of Wales on Monday 16 January, Wrexham in the north on Wednesday 18 January, and Wick in the south on Friday 20 January.

The three events - at the WWT National Wetland Centre Wales near Llanelli, Glyndŵr University in Wrexham and the Sports Pavilion in Wick - will include opportunities to observe the night sky (weather permitting!) and hear a selection of talks which, depending on the venue, encompass the black holes, dark energy, methods used to photograph the night sky and supernovae.

Dr Carol Wood from the University of Wales Newport, who has led organisation for the event in Wick, says, "The BBC's Stargazing Live series sets out to encourage everyone to make the most of the night sky and I wanted to bring this idea into my local community by holding a Stargazing Live event in Wick.

"We are very fortunate to have Professor Derek Ward-Thompson from Cardiff University and the Broughton Astronomical Society on hand and they agreed to provide the expertise on the night.

"There will be a short presentation about the night sky followed by the opportunity to view the stars through telescopes. Help will be at hand to show visitors of all ages how to use a simple telescope to see some of the wonders of the night sky."

Professor Ward-Thompson, of Cardiff University, who will be leading the presentations in Wick, said "Stargazing Live is an excellent opportunity for members of the public of all ages to join in. Astronomy is a fascinating subject, and this is a rare opportunity to look through a telescope at the night sky."

For full information about locations and times of all three events, go to www.eventsforce.net/iop/250/home Visitors to the events will be sharing the experience with tens of thousands of fellow stargazers as part of the UK-wide extravaganza that is tied into the BBC Two show Stargazing LIVE.

This year's series, presented again by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain, will be broadcast live from the Control Room of the Jodrell Bank Observatory on the 16, 17 and 18 January on BBC 2.

Welsh school children can join others around the UK in a live Q & A with Professor Brian Cox on Thursday 19 January at 2pm. Professor Cox will present a dynamic, live interactive lesson that all schools can join in at www.bbc.co.uk/stargazing or via the BBC Red button.