BARN­ABY BITES COL­UMN Fes­ti­val’s space projects will be out of this world

Macclesfield Express - - WHAT’S ON - LYNNE JONES

AF­TER Mon­day’s ‘tran­sit of Mer­cury’ when the small­est planet passed in front of the sun and the news that Bri­tish astro­naut Tim Peake will be re­turn­ing from the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion dur­ing Barn­aby, ‘Space’ feels the right theme for this year’s fes­ti­val. And Barn­aby is bring­ing as­tron­omy to Mac­cles­field pri­mary schools in weird and won­der­ful ways.

NEAR SPACE MIS­SION

Year six pupils are get­ting ready to launch an ex­per­i­ment into near space.

They’ll be col­lect­ing data and gath­er­ing images of earth as part of a spe­cial project led by ed­u­ca­tional con­sul­tancy Hi Im­pact.

With ad­vice from an as­tro­physi­cist who works with NASA, and choos­ing a flight path (in Shrop­shire as Mac­cles­field is too close to Manch­ester Air­port) a spe­cial bal­loon is launched into the strato­sphere equipped with track­ers and video cam­eras which cap­ture the cur­va­ture of the planet.

The bal­loon later bursts and a para­chute brings the equip­ment safely (we hope!) back to earth.

Sev­eral schools are in­volved in this project and pupils will present their re­ports at the ‘Deep Space and So­lar Lab’ on Sun­day, 19 June.

THE GREAT MOON HOAX

There’s a more myth­i­cal kind of as­tron­omy be­ing ex­plored by the Trav­el­ling Ob­ser­va­tory pop­ping up in Mac­cles­field play­grounds in early June, with a col­lec­tion of cu­riosi­ties and creative projects. It’s all part of the com­mu­nity en­gage­ment pro­gramme linked to ‘La Lune’ and ‘The As­tronomer’s Story’, the fam­ily theatre show which will trans­form 18th cen­tury Christ Church into the se­cret lab­o­ra­tory of an ec­cen­tric as­tronomer.

Fol­low­ing his many failed ex­per­i­ments, the sci­en­tist has fi­nally suc­ceeded in bring­ing the moon and stars down to earth. Of course, all doesn’t quite go to plan and Mac­cles­field fam­i­lies are called upon to help save the town.

It’s a won­der­ful non­sen­si­cal tale, but it’s in­spired by an equally un­be­liev­able true story, ‘The Great Moon Hoax’ of 1835, when ar­ti­cles claim­ing to have dis­cov­ered life on the moon were at­trib­uted to an emi­nent as­tronomer of the time! Pri­mary schools who’d like to in­vite the as­tronomer’s as­sis­tant to bring the Trav­el­ling Ob­ser­va­tory to their school should con­tact mail@barn­abyfes­ti­val.org. uk.

BE­COME A BARNABIST

With more than 100 events, we need more vol­un­teers than ever – par­tic­u­larly prac­ti­cal folk (for DIY jobs, fetch­ing and car­ry­ing) and smil­ing faces (to meet, greet, ste­ward and give out pub­lic­ity).

In­ter­ested? Find out more at www. barn­abyfes­ti­val.org.uk or con­tact Dan@ barn­abyfes­ti­val.org.uk.

The next Open Meet­ing is 8pm on Mon­day, 23 May, in the bar at MADS Lit­tle Theatre, Lord Street.

●● Year Six Pupils from a Near Space Bal­loon Mis­sion on the Wir­ral

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