An evening with the stars and the moon

There’s nothing quite like a quintessentially geeky Saturday afternoon pursuit to make your weekend – like going to the Planetarium to watch a film about the Life of Stars. The Observatory at Greenwich is now home of London’s only Planetarium, which seems appropriate, what with its long history (and excellent vantage point) of looking into the sky…

It’s worth the trip, for a whole host of reasons. Firstly, at the moment it’s home to an exhibition of the 2011 Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2011 competition – turns out you can enter with photos taken with very normal cameras and without the use of a telescope. Who knew? This was my personal favourite:

Then there was the film itself. The whole thing was infinitely relaxing – comfy, reclining seats; notices given by a fantastically calm and soothing voice; film narration by Patrick Stewart; pretty dancing stars…in fact, the only thing that could have enhanced the experience was a can of G&T (or, I’ve heard, some unorthodox substances). It was a good job it was relaxing, as a less calm person might have started to panic over the fact that our sun is likely to die in x billion billion years. [It was so relaxing that I took in very little of its precise facts.] It’s fortunate that this event is also:
(i) A very long way off.
(ii) When it does happen, it will be beautiful in a pink and purple way.

If you do go, choose the last showing of the day (at 3.15pm) as you’ll emerge just as the London skyline is disappearing into the sunset. This would be a beautiful sight most days, but on Saturday, it was as if the nerd friend who organised the trip had also managed to sort out a few natural phenomenon too…

1. An utterly fantastically mesmerising sunset.

2. A partial lunar eclipse. 
Ok, it won’t win me Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012, but you get the idea.

3. A brilliant winter moon.
If only one of us had had a butterfly net with us, this could have been my entry…
All this excitement AND I got to travel home by boat. What a simply superb Saturday. 

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