Bluedot Festival

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Bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank (Photo credit: S. Crowther)

This weekend saw the inaugural Bluedot Festival take place at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire.

The festival takes its inspiration from scientist Carl Sagan who famously described the Earth as a “pale blue dot” in the vast universe. With that in mind, this wasn’t any ordinary music festival – in addition to the music that you might expect, there was comedy, talks and discussions with leading scientists, interactive science activities, a Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and whistling workshops with the Clangers, all taking place in the shadow of the iconic Lovell Telescope. The Earth and Solar System team had a stall in the Star Field all weekend, alongside colleagues from the University of Manchester who were also running activities that ranged from dancing robots to plants that bite back.

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Crowds in the Star Field on Saturday afternoon. (Photo credit S. Crowther)

We had a fantastic weekend, and had countless visitors at our stall who were interested to see the meteorite samples and learn more about the Solar System. We spoke to people of all ages – from a baby bump (twins no less!) posing with the Moon rocks to people there with their grandchildren. Several children ended up in the cratering experiment and covered head to toe in flour, I think they were trying to make child-size craters! And the Solar System’s most reliable volcano erupted on schedule every time!

It wasn’t all work and no play, the Star Field closed early evening each day so we got to enjoy the headline acts on the Lovell Stage – Underworld, Jean Michel Jarre and Caribou. Although the weather was mostly kind to us, there was some dancing in the rain on Friday evening! And I managed to sneak away to watch a recording of BBC Radio 4’s The Infinite Monkey Cage on Friday evening. Sadly we didn’t manage to visit the Luminarium, which looked interesting on the outside and promised to be fascinating on the inside – the queues were simply too long at the times we were free.

Thanks to those festival goers for visiting us over the weekend – it was great to see so many people who were interested in what we do and asking so many great and varied questions. If you picked up a postcard at the festival and are visiting us for the first time – hello! You can keep up to date with our future events and research stories on this blog, our Twitter account @EarthSolarSystm, and our Facebook group.

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Jean Michel Jarre plays the laser harp on the Lovell Stage. (Photo credit: S. Crowther.)

There’s a few of our snaps on our Facebook page, and there are some of the official photographs on the Bluedot Facebook page.

So, now we’ve (almost) recovered, where do we sign up for next time…??!!

 

 

 

 

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Panorama of main arena, with Everything Everything playing the Lovell Stage. (Photo credit S. Crowther)

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About Sarah Crowther

I'm a Post Doc in the Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry group. I study xenon isotope ratios using the RELAX mass spectrometer, to try to learn more about the origins and evolution of our solar system. I look at a wide range of samples from solar wind returned by NASA's Genesis mission to zircons (some of the oldest known terrestrial rocks), from meteorites to presolar grains.
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