NSO Astronomers take centre stage on the BBC Stargazing Ferry

In collaboration with the BBC Stargazing Live team, a dozen astronomers from Liverpool John Moores University (NSO staff included) welcomed over 500 stargazers from the North-West region on board the Royal Daffodil ferry. Surprisingly clear skies and a calm river resulted in a most enjoyable night of observing whilst slowly cruising along the River Mersey. Although the event took place on Monday 16th January, it is expected that film of the event may appear (if time permits) on Wednesday night's BBC Stargazing Live programme.


The Royal Daffodil Ferry preparing for a night of Stargazing on the River Mersey
Credit: A. Keen (LJMU)

During the cruise, the astronomers (identified by rather fetching orange hats) directed members of the public toward interesting objects throughout the night sky, including planets, constellations, notable stars and even used binoculars to look at Jupiter's bright moons, nearby star clusters and the faint core of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). We also set-up shop on both decks to answer astronomy related questions from a wide range individuals, both young and old.

Dr Andy Newsam (NSO Director), who was greeting passengers at the Pier Head ferry terminal and answering questions, said that "seeing the grinning faces and glowing cheeks coming off the ferry after a night of stargazing made all the effort worthwhile". LJMU astrophysicist, Dr Chris Simpson, commented "It was fantastic to see so many people of all ages turn out on such a cold night. I hope we managed to instil a little of the magic of astronomy".

View more photos from the night on our facebook page.