Blog: Charles Tyler

One of a group of storytelling enthusiasts in the Yorkshire dales writes during preparations for their Star Party

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Since time began, humans have looked up to the heavens and been fascinated with the beauty and mystery of the stars. We’ve used stories to explain the creation of the stars, to imagine who lives among them and the world these mysterious beings occupy. Ancient myths and legends are still doing the rounds today and transporting their listeners into worlds of fantasy and magic, where anything is possible.

Now, back to the 21st century. We’ve made some fascinating finds and technology has made it possible to make more astronomical discoveries than ever. Increasingly popular public figures (Brian Cox, Robin Ince, etc) are trying to make these breathtaking astronomical discoveries more accessible, through presenting them in an engaging way. They’re not the only ones.

I work with Settle Stories, the north of England’s largest storytelling organisation, and we are working hard to hold our Star Party – a meeting of astronomers and storytellers for all ages – as we’re sure using stories can make science not only more understandable but more fun for everyone. Sita Brand, director of the organisation, thinks this is the winning formula to engage the masses with astronomy because stories are memorable and have the power to get more people involved.

With the belief that stories can change your world, and in this instance inspire people with astronomy, we’ve partnered up with Manchester Metropolitan University and Bradford Astronomical Society to present the Star Party. We’ve commissioned a new storytelling show about the stars from international storyteller Cassandra Wye and it promises to be an action-packed day. There are events for adults, children and families and many of them are free. The whole day will be an opportunity to meet scientists as well as storytellers.

Kids will be given the chance to become a space cadet and make their own rockets that really will fly, using compressed gas. They’ll also have the chance to send their selfie into space and draw a picture that will be carved into a real spacecraft. Adults can join a talk on the history of astronomy – from the astrolabe to the Hubble Space Telescope to the future of astronomy. They can discover the most groundbreaking astronomical achievements made in the last century in Looking into the Stars, an interactive exhibition.

Families will be encouraged to come together and detect what’s in the night sky with Solar Observing, using our hydrogen alpha telescope in the day, and Astronomical Observing after sunse,t with guided tours of the night sky. Wye will present Tales from the Cosmos as she brings alive the stories of the stars collected from cultures across the globe. Everyone will enjoy the Star Lab, an indoor planetarium where they’ll experience 360-degree digital planetarium projection, with an astronomer and storyteller who will guide them through the stories and science of the stars.

Set in the stunning Yorkshire Dales town of Settle, this quiet country idyll is the perfect place to explore the stories of the stars.
Star Party is at Victoria Hall, Settle on 10 Oct,

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