“It’s fantastic opportunities like this that make me glad I chose OSFC” – Alice
While most students and staff joined the rest of the country in viewing Friday’s rare solar eclipse during a break in the normal working day – one lucky group enjoyed the amazing opportunity to see it from Jodrell Bank as part of the BBC’s Stargazing Live coverage.
Previously, on the evening of 18 March, four students (Physics Ambassadors Zoe James, Joe Lee, Alice Howarth and Adam Singleton) and two members of staff (Deputy Principal Peter Roberts and Physics Tutor Ana Soldner-Rembold) had the opportunity to join the audience of ‘Stargazing Live – Back to Earth’ to be broadcast live that night (at 9.00pm) on BBC2. The programme was presented by Dara O’Briain and Professor Brian Cox from the University of Manchester while guests included the second man to walk on the moon – Dr Buzz Aldrin.
On Friday morning, the OSFC students – joined by two more Physics Ambassadors (Usama Hayat and Adnan Khalid) and Physics Tutor & Ogden Teaching Fellow Sandra Badcock – went back to watch the BBC’s ’Eclipse Live’ as the partial solar eclipse occurred above Jodrell Bank, in Cheshire. Again, the programme was presented by Dara and Brian and the audience were able to view the eclipse through Jodrell Bank Solar Eclipse Glasses, a solar telescope, a solarscope and a colander with the amazing Lovell telescope in the background taking its own readings.
It’s no surprise that our students were thrilled to be part of this wonderful experience and some of their comments are listed below:
“It was a very new experience being amongst the busyness of the Star Gazing Live set and very strange being only meters from a man who’d been to the moon and back. The extra surprise of knowing we’d soon be seeing Buzz Aldrin, as well as Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain, made us twice as excited on the day! We watched them rehearse; seeing previews of Buzz’s stories. Then the show itself was fascinating and inspiring. I was particularly pleased to hear that, with the assistance of developing robotics, countries are planning to head back to the moon in years to come. The event as a whole was brilliant, unlike the space food Brian offered me, and I wouldn’t hesitate to head back to Jodrell Bank in the near future” said Adam Singleton
Zoe James said” It was such a great experience; being able to listen to some amazing physicists discuss the moon landing, with Buzz Aldrin himself was so surreal. I’m still in shock! It really opened my eyes to the relevance of recent astronomical discoveries and how incredible they are. I’m so grateful for the opportunity!”
“It was incredible to get to listen to the legendary Buzz Aldrin, along with Tim O’Brien, Professor of Astrophysics and Associate Director of Jodrell Bank, Dr Katherine Joy of Manchester University, and Professor John Zarnecki talk about the 1969 moon landing, as well as Jodrell Bank’s involvement in tracking space probes. The professors talked about how their work has been affected by the Apollo landing. It’s amazing that data and samples from that mission are still being used today. It’s fantastic opportunities like this that make me glad I chose OSFC” said Alice Howarth.
“There are not enough words to describe what just took place here, right in front of our very eyes.” – Adnan
“Precisely the reason to be a physics ambassador” – Adnan
“Possibly the most awe-inspiring event you will ever see!” – Adnan
“The silence permeating the event really emphasised the nature pf physics being unfolded” – Adnan
“It was unlike anything I’ve done before. When it became dark and gloomy due to the eclipse there was a silence amongst everyone and the birds went eerily quiet. All that mattered was the moon, which is tiny compared to the sun and there was just darkness” said Usama.