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Flights of Fancy

At: Lancaster Library
By: Lancaster University


The Lancaster University Family Zone at the Library is back for 2019! Come and explore the breath-taking Aurora, immerse yourselves in planetary sounds and sights, learn about our atmosphere, discover just how important seabirds are, and get to grips with coral reefs through Minecraft.

We can’t wait for you to join us as we go… into the skies!



Title of activity: The Aurora Room

Name: Sofija Durward

Department: Physics/FST

Description: One of the most well-known space phenomena at Earth is the Aurora; masses of particles glowing as they are hit by fast particles energised by the Sun.

The Space & Planetary Physics team from Lancaster University present a magical, immersive experience showing the sights and sounds of the aurora as if you were in the skies there with them.



surface_ozone Title of activity: Global Atmospheric Transport of Air Pollution

Name: Oliver Wild

Department: Lancaster Environment Centre

Description: This activity explores the transport of different air pollutants around the globe and demonstrates that air quality isn’t just a problem in big cities – it has a global component too!

With an animation of atmospheric transport for a range of pollutants, this is a wonderful interactive installation that highlights how air pollution is both local and global.



Nicola Rae Remote Sensing Sonification Jupiter Aurora 1 Title of activity: Nicola Rae – Remote Sensing Sonification: Jupiter Aurora

Name: Nicola Rae

Department: Recruitment, Admissions and International Development Department – Global Engagement team

Description: Artist, Nicola Rae, has created an immersive sound specific digital projection that translates aurora simulations into sound patterns under the guidance and advice of Professor Isobel Hook and Professor Jim Wild.

Primarily commissioned for the SPINE project by Global Engagement team, artists Nicola Rae processed remotely sensed auroral data from Jupiter through sonification software, Sonic Photo, allowing digital images to be converted into sound. This sonic data has then been re-analysed back into a visualisation, using Overtone Analyzer software, showing some intentional partial glitching through slowing down the sound. Nicola Rae revolved these sound visualizations of auroral research data, accessed from Lancaster University’s Dr Sarah Badman and Université de Liège’s Professor Denis Grodent, through large acrylic tubes recalling Echelle spectrograph structures. They were back projected onto two acrylic screens coated with holographic rear projection film.



Ring Life 1

Title of activity: Ring Life

Name: Bronislaw Szerszynski

Department: Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Other departments involved: Physics, School of Computing and Communications, Faculty of Science and Technology

Description: What would it be like to live in a planetary ring, like those around Saturn?  A planetary ring is a swarm of particles of ice and rock, orbiting in a thin disc around a planet, and interacting through gravity with each other and with distant moons. The Ringmind team at Lancaster University have created a model ring system that runs in a computer, which enables you to see how the individual objects in a ring system move and interact, creating constantly shifting patterns.  On a screen, or using virtual reality goggles, you will be able to shape the ring, fly around within it, and experience what it would be like to be an individual ring particle, interacting with the swarm around you.



Coral Reef and Minecraft

Title of activity: Coral Reefs and Minecraft

Name: Sophie Bentley

Department: Lancaster Environment Centre

Description:  Explore coral reef ecosystems in Minecraft. Coral reefs are vibrant and exciting places. From birds in the sky to rats on islands, learn about the things that threaten the existence of this wonderful ecosystem, and what could help save it. Children will be able to explore coral reefs in Minecraft and help to clean up the virtual islands in order to save them!



Light Up The Earth-Refecting On Our Planet ISS

Title of activity: Light up the Earth – Reflecting on our Planet

Name: Sascha Stollhans, Elena Polisca, Chris Arridge

Department: Languages and Cultures (FASS), Physics (FST), LEC (FST)

Description: Photographs of Earth taken from space can change our perspective of our planet and of ourselves. For example, The Blue Marble, an iconic space photograph taken by the crew of Apollo 17 in the early 1970s, has become a symbol of the environmental movement. Fascinating photographs from the International Space Station (ISS) are regularly published showing the illuminated Earth at night. During an interactive quiz, visitors will work with ISS images as well as live footage and discover how these can be useful for researchers from various disciplines – from the natural sciences to the arts and humanities and social sciences. Academics from Languages & Cultures, Physics and Geography will be at hand to answer questions and guide visitors through the activities.