BARNABY BITES COLUMN Festival’s space projects will be out of this world
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 email@example.com. 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