All posts by admin

Family Day 2017 Programme

British Science Week:  Family Day at the NLO

Saturday 18th March  11:00am-5.00pm. Theme: “Our Changing Universe”

Talks in the Lecture Theatre:

11:30h – 12:00h  “Changes in our Understanding” – Kate Kay (NLO)
Looking at how our knowledge of space has changed in the last 200 years and what helped those changes.
14:00h – 14:45h   “On Board the ISS”  – Jo Richardson (Space Detectives)
Talk on what it’s like to live aboard the Space Station and get to use a VR headset and take a virtual tour of the ISS.

Planetarium Shows:

11:15 – 11:45h  Discovering the Sky
12:15 – 12:45h What’s in the Sky Tonight?
13:00 – 13:30h  Stories Under the Stars  with Mike O’Leary
14:15 – 14:45h  Springtime Stars
15:00 – 15:30h  More Stories Under the Stars with Mike O’Leary
15:45  -16:15h  Myths & Legends of the Stars

Plus:  Hands-on-Science experiments with Colyton Grammar School – Historic Telescope Tours – Live Radar Meteor Detecting – Magnetometers and Space Weather Displays – Drones/Quadcopters – Solar Telescope (if sunny) – 3D printing demonstration and Laser engraving – Refreshments by LoveCake Catering.

The Sound of Music

This Month’s talk – 9th May at 19:30.

While the Ancient Greeks gave the mathematical basis of perfect intervals in music over two and a half thousand years ago, there are still many considerations (not all understood) that influence and affect how we experience music today. These include culture, memory, familiarity, setting, acoustics, physics, mathematics and psychology – to name but a few. In this introductory talk (with many audio examples), I’ll look at just one aspect – the physics and mathematics of sound. From this, can we scientifically explain concepts like dissonance/consonance in music? How is this related to the Western 12-tone scale? What has this to do with MP3 compression? Or maybe music just transcends any crude scientific reductionism?

Restored 19th Century Orrery

NLO members, John Bardsley, Bill Hitchings & Pete Youd have spent the last year restoring this wonderful 19th century Orrery to full working order. It was donated by Howard Anderson, a member of the British Sundial Society.

On arrival it consisted of a painted wooden base, the Sun and Mercury and the clockwork mechanism but no other planets. Pete restored and french polished the base. John who is a master watchmaker/repairer, worked on the mechanism,repaired the gears and made new arms. Bill restored the Earth and the Cambridge Design Partnership 3D printed Saturn and the remaining planets (this orrery also includes asteroids, Ceres, Pallas, Vesta).

It is believed to have been made in Germany circa 1895, but we would be grateful for further information about this remarkable model of the solar system.

Transit of Mercury Event

The Norman Lockyer Observatory will be open to the public for viewing the Transit of Mercury
from 12.00pm on Monday 9th May 2016. This is quite a rare event happening just 13 times each century.
Using our telescopes we will be able to safely see the small planet transiting across the face of the Sun.
There is no charge for attending and visitors are welcome to drop in at any time during the day
(providing the Sun is shining!) to join us for observing this rare event.

You can find out more about this astronomical event at the British Astronomical Association website.

Family Day at the NLO Programme

Lecture Theatre:

11.30 – 12.00 The Big Bang! How it all began! The story of the early universe.
Kate Kay (NLO)

14.00 – 15.00 Accelerate! An electrifying science show for all!
Joe Spencer, Azaria Coupe, Alex Jantzen (Univ. of Southampton)

“Ever wondered how the world’s biggest machine, The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), works or what makes up everything in the universe? Accelerate is an interactive and exciting science show about answering those exact questions with the help of practical demonstrations, explosions, electrifying members of the audience using a Van der Graaf Generator, liquid nitrogen and levitating superconductors! Come join us for a 50 minute show where we will break down the recipe for building your very own particle accelerate and how to use it to discover the hidden secrets of how the most fundamental building blocks of the universe works. This explosive and electrifying show is delivered to you by postgraduate researchers from the University of Southampton.”


11.15 – 11.45 Discovering the Night Sky: Alan Green (NLO)
12.15 – 12.45 What’s in the Sky Tonight?
13.15 – 13.45 Stories Under the Stars: Mike O’Leary (The Hagstone Storyteller) + Mac
14.15 – 14.45 Springtime Stars: Martin Andrews
15.15 – 15.45 More Stories Under the Stars: Mike O’Leary (The Hagstone Storyteller)
16.00 – 16.30 Myths & Legends of the Stars: Mac (NLO)

Also, be sure to visit Colyton Grammar School “Hands-on Science” demonstrations in the meeting room.
Visit the Lockyer, Kensington and McClean Domes for historic telescope tours. The Lockyer Technology Centre for live radar meteor detecting, and if sunny, view solar activity safely through our new John Pope Solar Telescope.

Refreshments provided by Love Cake Catering.

Entry Fees: Children Free! Adults: £8

Norman Lockyer Observatory, Salcombe Hill, Sidmouth EX10 0NY