News and events

UCLan brings sunshine to Preston

26 November 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Art installation shows a year in the life of The Sun

Preston’s Victorian covered market will for two nights only showcase a year in the life of our favourite star as you have never seen or heard it before.

The Sun at Night is a new University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Arts Council England funded installation by David Henckel and Dan Wilkinson.

Over the course of two nights on the weekend of the 30 November and 1 December the covered market will be transformed into the centre of our solar system with a large-scale free public art installation.

One year’s worth of footage of The Sun has been condensed into a 30-minute film, which includes the Transit of Venus which took place in 2012, that will slowly rotate around a large cylindrical projection screen accompanied by an appropriately deep and sinister soundtrack.

“We’ve chosen an open space in the centre of town to attract people passing by who may never normally engage with art and take them by surprise.”

sun at night

David commented: “We’ve chosen an open space in the centre of town to attract people passing by who may never normally engage with art and take them by surprise. They will essentially stumble across a blazing sun in the middle of the night.”

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.

A contemporary equivalent to the public lectures of Preston astronomer Moses Holden, who used an orrery (model of the solar system) and magic lanterns to educate the public about our solar system, The Sun at Night allows the public to experience some of the cutting edge solar physics research which takes place at UCLan.

On both evenings at 7.30pm Professor Robert Walsh, Executive Director of Research will give a talk about The Sun followed by a presentation about Moses Holden by local history detective Stephen Halliwell.

On Sunday there will also be a live improvised performance at 8.00pm using analogue synthesisers and samplers / found sounds reacting to the footage.

The Sun at Night begins at 7.15pm on Saturday 30 November and continues until 5.00am the following day when it becomes light, it will then run again at 5.00pm – 5.00am on Sunday 1 December. For more information visit  like The Sun at Night Facebook page or follow #thesunatnight on Twitter.

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.

The Event
The Sun at Night
7.15pm – 5am, Saturday 30 November 2013 - Talks begin at 7.30pm
5pm – 5am, Sunday 01 December – Talks begin at 7.30pm performance at 8.00pm
The Covered Market
Preston, Lancashire PR1 2JA