Members of the Association joined each other at Jodrell Bank observatory near Mancheser on the 12th November. It was a very enjoyable day.
It was cold but bright and sunny on Saturday, 12th November for our Children’s Heart Association trip to Jodrell Bank. The attraction here is the radio telescope and the visitor centre.
We met just after 11a.m. and looked around the small gift shop and the hands-on exhibition area. The displays included feeling the weight of baked beans cans on Jupiter, the Moon and the Earth and also drawing lines in a star shape by looking at it in a mirror. For the adults the science was explained and it was of interest on several levels.
Our first arranged event was a talk by Eric. This took place outside so it was rather cool but Eric gave a very lively performance and kept us all amused. We were near the giant telescope and heard how Bernard Lovell (later Sir Bernard) had it built and tracked the first Russian rockets into space. It led the way then and today it is still at the forefront of space exploration following a refit.
Then it was inside to the 3D theatre where we went on a voyage to Mars. Wearing our special glasses we travelled through space and then flew close to the surface of Mars. Our guide pointed out the volcanic area in the north and a vast canyon that runs around much of the planet. Finally we landed at our space hotel on Mars. Again Eric was on hand and it was obvious that he loves entertaining visitors with facts and figures about the stars and planets.
By now we were all feeling quite hungry and ready for lunch in the Space Café. All the food is freshly cooked so we had to wait a while but there was a good choice of dishes and everyone was happy with their chosen meal: especially Jennifer Picton, who took great delight in biting the heads off her turkey dinosaurs! We sat and chatted for a while and then went outside for a walk.
We followed the path that goes partly round the telescope and were interested to see it being manoeuvred into a different position by a technician in a building nearby. He also receives all the information from the telescope. Birds of prey settle in the frame that supports the telescope and fly out to catch pigeons. We saw a kestrel flying around with a pigeon in its talons and Jordan took a photo of it. Finally we went to the children’s play area and the arboretum before ending our visit to Jodrell Bank.
If you would like to know more about the Jodrell Bank Observatory, please visit its website at www.jb.man.ac.uk.