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BBC Stargazing Live to feature UCLan Sun project

07 January 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Programme to showcase art installation

A project that turned Preston into the centre of our solar system will feature in the BBC programme Stargazing Live after it caught the attention of the show’s producers.

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Sun at Night installation took one year’s worth of footage of The Sun and condensed it into a 30 minute film that slowly rotated around a large cylindrical projection screen accompanied by an appropriately deep and sinister soundtrack.

Now the installation, which was originally set up in Preston’s covered market for two nights in November, will be showcased at Royal Holloway, University of London, as part of the BBC’s Stargazing Live which runs from the 7 - 9 January.

Stargazing Live, presented by Dr Brian Cox and Dara Ó Briain, will be broadcast from Jodrell Bank but cameras will also be at Royal Holloway.

Artists David Henkel and Dan Wilkinson created the installation. David said: “The Preston event got a great reaction and we attracted over 300 people.

“We’re really excited to take the Sun at Night on the road and share it with a wider audience. There is no guarantee it will be on TV but we stand a good chance.”

“We’re really excited to take the Sun at Night on the road and share it with a wider audience. There is no guarantee it will be on TV but we stand a good chance.”

The installation explores our relationship with the Sun and creatively disseminates the research of UCLan’s Solar Physics group utilising the stunning images taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The project was funded by UCLan and Arts Council England. Last year UCLan played an integral part in capturing the highest ever resolution images of the Sun in partnership with NASA and the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

The project saw the brand new Hi-C telescope launched by NASA scientists on 11 July from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The mission had just 620 seconds for its flight but in that time scientists observed the fundamental structures of the Sun for the first time.