Ask an expert with Lancaster’s online planetarium


Lancaster University‘s virtual planetarium is staging weekly online events for adults and children aged 9 and above.

LUniverse is run by the University’s Physics Department whose scientists have devised remote sessions to enable children to experience the wonders of the night sky despite being unable to visit in person.

The free events will alternate between shows on particular topics (e.g. the solar system) with a brief Q&A at the end, and associated “Ask an expert” sessions that start with a short summary presentation but mostly involve the audience asking a researcher in that area questions about each topic (e.g. the solar system).

The free weekly events via Eventbrite include:

January 22; Tour the solar system with LUniverse

Learn details about our little region in space as we look at the planets, moons and objects that make up the solar system. Get answers to questions like "why isn’t Pluto a planet anymore?" and "what are Saturn's rings made of?"

January 29; Ask questions of an expert

Dr Licia Ray is a Senior Lecturer in Space Physics at Lancaster University. She studies how the upper atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn are connected to their local space environments. In this moderated question and answer session, Dr Ray will answer your questions about space and planets.

February 5; Tour the constellations with LUniverse

Find out the details behind the shapes that make up our night sky. From Greek mythology to the astronomical objects hidden in them, we will explore a selection of the most famous constellations.

Dr Julie Wardlow from the Department of Physics said: “We delight in sharing our love of space and astronomy, and by doing so with these public events, we hope to make things a little bit easier for those who are finding lockdown particularly challenging. The shows also aim to inspire a generation of young people to be captivated by the night sky, whilst helping families who have children at home during the day because of the pandemic.”

There have already been online LUniverse shows at several local primary schools and there are also plans for online events with several other schools, Brownie groups and the Cumbria Dark Skies Festival.

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

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

Back to News