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Stargazing evening shines bright at the Science Oxford Centre

Friday 1st December 2023

The stars came out for Starry Night, an out-of-this-world stargazing evening and planetarium show at the Science Oxford Centre.

Look up!

On the festively frosty first day of December, over a hundred curious visitors from our local community wrapped up warm and came along to gaze at the night sky over Headington, guided by Abingdon Astronomical Society.

Children stargazing
The kids loved looking at Jupiter and Mathilda enjoyed the cake and hot chocolate too! (Steve Jones, Parent)

Abingdon Astronomical Society volunteers used telescopes to help families pick out Jupiter with its moons and Saturn with its rings in the night sky and showed them how to tell the difference between a star and a planet. Budding astronomers also had the chance to create their own constellation projector or night vision torch, and took home instructions on how to find the North Star!


A spectacular planetarium show took us all on a journey exploring our world from space in our inflatable dome (which was slightly warmer!). Kat Kelly (pictured below), our resident astrophysicist and Planetarium Content Developer, tells us more.

Kat Kelly Stargazing telescope
Stargazing with Kat
It was great to see the excitement of families as we “flew” them through space in our planetarium to show awe inspiring views of the Earth and how space science and satellites have helped us learn about our planet!
Planetarium 2023
Families enjoyed an amazing planetarium show in the inflatable dome

Chewe Munkonge, local councillor for Headington Quarry and Risinghurst attended with family and friends and said:

It's wonderful to see so many local families enjoying Science Oxford’s first Starry Night evening, giving them a unique opportunity to explore the wonders of the Universe. A fantastic free event for the community!
Councillor family and friends
Chewe Munkonge enjoying the starry night with family and friends

A bright start to the winter season, local communities from Wood Farm, Barton Neighbourhood Centre and Headington Quarry enjoyed the illuminating evening thanks to Science Oxford’s exciting partnership with Bold Futures (a partnership of UK’s Association of Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), Museums Association, The Liminal Space and Wellcome Trust) and the Our World From Space project (funded by UK Space Agency in partnership with Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), part of UK Research and Innovation).

Stargazing event

Sian Stratton, our Community Engagement Manager was ‘over the moon’ to welcome so many enthusiastic people from the local area:

We were delighted to be able to offer the community a completely free Starry Night: Family Stargazing evening thanks to our partnership with Bold Futures. It was a great opportunity for families and young people to discover the night sky over Oxford, with astronomers and experts on hand. Visitors of all ages also had fun with stargazing-inspired hands-on activities, with plenty of cake and hot chocolate to keep warm!
It was a really nice experience. A once in a lifetime opportunity. (Chanda, age 15)

Festive events coming up with Science Oxford include Programming a smart cup for hot drinks at Creative Computing Club (ages 9-12, 9th December), and creating ‘Glow Up’ Festive Cards with circuits at Science Club (ages 5-9) on 16th December; Families can visit the Science Oxford Centre and winter woodland for Family Days on Saturdays until 16th December, open again over the Christmas period for Winter Holiday Family Days on 27, 28 & 30 December.  The new year starts with a Sensory-friendly Family Day on 6th January, 2024.

See what’s on and book ahead at

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