Date Mon 07 December 2009
--- excerpt: "We don't live very far from the radio telescope at [[http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/][Jodrell Bank]]. The last time I visited was more than 10 years ago. However, yesterday our two girls were taking part in a gym competition very close to the telescope, so I took my son to have a look round." ---

We don't live very far from the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank. The last time I visited was more than 10 years ago. However, yesterday our two girls were taking part in a gym competition very close to the telescope, so I took my son to have a look round.

There is now a Visitor Centre with a cafe. However, many of the exhibits, like a small steerable model of the telescope, seem to have disappeared. You can walk most of the way around the dish and there are some informative posters. There is also a 3D film theatre showing a trip to Mars. Flying over the Martian landscape in 3D looked very realistic.

However, overall I felt there was a missed opportunity to explain aspects of astronomy and a lack of "hands on" exhibits. Here's a small list of things that might be worth considering:

  • There is some interesting news about current research on the web site, but no mention of it in the Visitor Centre.
  • Some simple experiments for children e.g. splitting light with a prism. Finding out about infra-red by measuring the temperature in a spectrum produced by a prism.
  • Some short talks on various aspects of astronomy. I can still remember listening to a talk by Patrick Moore when I was at school more than 40 years ago.
  • Information in the Visitor Centre about what the telescopes are currently observing.
  • 2009 is an International Year of Astronomy, but there was no mention of this in the Visitor Centre.

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