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Stargazing 2015

Stargazing 2015

This year the BBC Stargazing Live Programmes will be held in March instead of their usual January slot to coincide with the next total solar eclipse. However, St Peter’s School is again going to be holding a Stargazing Live Party on Friday 9th January 2015 from 5.30 pm onwards in the Queen Anne Dining room and Shepherd Hall at St. Olave’s School.

As last year the evening will constitute an Astronomy/Physics exhibition (including mobile planetarium), exhibitors, telescope retailers and some hands on things to do.

This will be followed by a Lecture at 7.00 pm (in the Memorial Hall) followed by an opportunity to look through a host of Telescopes.

We are delighted that Professor Ian Morison will be joining us for the evening and to give the lecture.

The title of his talk will be ‘Are we Alone: the Search for life beyond the Earth’.

The talk will consider the prospects of finding evidence of other life beyond our Earth.  Perhaps we might find evidence of simple life forms within our solar system on Mars or under the ice crust of Jupiter's satellite Europa, and then far beyond by studying the atmospheres of distant planets looking for signs of Oxygen that could only be present if plant life is present. Could we perhaps come into contact with another intelligent race by detecting signals that have traversed the space between the stars?  A subject termed SETI and which the speaker was directly involved in around the turn of the century. Finally how does what we now know about our planet, the Earth, other solar systems and the evolution of life affect the likelihood of life existing elsewhere in the cosmos. Could we really be alone?

Stargazing 2015 - Event Poster

We are planning for copies of Ian’s newly released book: 'A Journey through the Universe .....' and 'An Amateurs Guide to Observing and Imaging the Heavens'  released last summer, to be on sale during the evening.

The evening is being run in conjunction with York University Physics Department and York Astronomical Society and is suitable for a family audience.

Last year we were oversubscribed and we are again expecting a huge demand for tickets so it is recommended that you book early. Tickets are free and are available either on our Eventbrite page or via email to

Can we ask that you either print off your ticket or display it to us on your smartphone or tablet on the evening.

This event is being run with the kind Support of The Institute of Physics, The Rotary Club of York Vikings, The Ogden Trust and the St Peter’s School Foundation.


Speaker Biography

Professor Ian Morison

Ian began his love of Astronomy when, at the age of 12, he made his first telescope with lenses given to him by his optician.  Having read Physics, Maths and Astronomy at Oxford he moved to the Jodrell Bank Observatory as a research student and joined the staff of the University of Manchester in 1971 where he has lectured on Astronomy and Cosmology.

In 2003, the International Astronomical Union named a small minor planet ‘Ianmorison’  in recognition of his work at Jodrell Bank relating to the MERLIN array and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).  In 2007 he was appointed to the chair of astronomy at Gresham College, London.  This is the oldest chair of astronomy in the world, dating from 1597 and once held by Christopher Wren. In 2014, Cambridge University Press published a book, ’A Journey through the Universe’ based on the lectures he gave at Gresham College.

He is a keen amateur optical astronomer, having helped found the Macclesfield Astronomical Society of which he now patron. A past president of the Society for Popular astronomy, he remains on its council and helps members with their choice and use of telescopes.

He lectures widely on astronomy, writes a monthly ‘Night Sky’ page on the Jodrell Bank Website, is a regular contributor to the magazine ‘Astronomy Now and has written three books on amateur astronomy including ‘An Amateur’s Guide to Observing and Imaging the Heavens’ published this year by Cambridge University Press.