Astronomy Week 2020

Get ready for a Mars encounter of a virtual kind and celebrate National Astronomy Week (NAW) 14th – 22nd November 2020).

Have you ever wondered if there is life on Mars? Could we go there in our lifetime? This autumn, Mars makes a close approach to Earth, and it won’t be as close again until 2035. Take part in a National Astronomy Week, an online celebration of the Red Planet that encourages everyone to see Mars from their back garden or online, and to find out about exciting space missions to the planet.

Every evening throughout the week, weather permitting, observatories around the country will be live-streaming views of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon. Children, families and space-enthusiasts of all ages will love the exciting programme of virtual events. and there are great opportunities for schools to get involved too.


Oxford’s Professor Chris Lintott (BBC Sky at Night) opened the week with an introduction to Mars as a planet of the solar system, and delves into the recent discoveries on Venus to explore what this could mean for life on our closest planetary neighbours – watch the recording on YouTube here.

Why is Mars red? Anna Horleston (Bristol University) and Susanne Schwenzer (Open University) discuss the geology of Mars – watch here.  Early Years children learn about Mars with dance and movement, followed by intergalactic stories on Wednesday 18th November. On Thursday 19th, build a Mars rover live out of the contents of your recycling bin! Meet extra-terrestrial exploration experts from the Glasgow Science Centre and the Natural History Museum and find out how your school can do real mission-based science and rover design in the classroom with the ‘Roving with Rosalind’ team.
On Friday 20th, discover more about careers in space or astronomy to inspire any budding scientist, researcher or space engineer of the future with the National Space Academy and a real life panel of space researchers. Then it’s sci-fi Saturday, as authors and writers discuss the facts and the fun of science fiction on the 21st; and on the the final day, join Lucinda Offer & guests from the Royal Astronomical Society and Executive Director of the Mars Society to discuss living and working on Mars,  Sunday 22nd November.

Did you know, schools can hire our telescopes kit loan? You can also upload any images you take this week to the online gallery and/or share with us on Twitter @scienceoxford #ScienceOxford #Mars #NAW2020.

Topic: science, space, astronomy
Age group: all ages

Recommended by:

Autumn Neagle,

Digital Communications Officer