Bluedot festival: the perfect blend of science and dance at Jodrell Bank Observatory

Articles, News // Mon 1 Aug 2022 - 07:25am

Bluedot festival was co-founded by husband and wife, Prof Tim O’Brien and Prof Teresa Anderson, both from the University of Manchester. The experience has long been a magical safe haven awash with tents and stalls of scientists and researchers.

For the first time since 2019, the UK’s largest telescope, the Lovell Radio Telescope, took the centre stage at Bluedot Festival this year.

The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire was turned into “a huge film screen” according to Prof Anderson, in order to serve as a light and sound show — also known as the ‘Sky’s Eye View’.

The concave dish acted as the perfect canvas for images from space; including those from Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope, the solar Dynamics Observatory and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

The beautiful images beaming on to the 250ft dish showcased some of the latest data “from the Sun and beautiful images of the Moon”, explained Prof Anderson – astrophysicist and director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.

However, the dish is not just a time-lapse of images, it also produces the ‘sonification’ of the radio telescope’s scan of our galaxy, the Milky Way, meaning that you are able to hear the undulating rhythms of a pulsar.

The Lovell Radio Telescope continues to play a pivotal role in astronomical research: from discovering supermassive black holes in other galaxies to spending the majority of its time investigating pulsars.

Yet, it also played a pivotal role for the artists playing at Bluedot this weekend, who utilised the dish to display incredible visuals.

Bluedot is the perfect weekend for those who wish to: explore and experiment with the latest scientific display, view immersive artworks and attend expert talks – all whilst dancing to one of the most diverse and iconic lineups that any UK festival has to offer.

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