Astronomy In The City

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy


1. Engage the West Midlands public in the research carried out within the University of Birmingham's Astronomy department.

2. Provide the general public with the expertise in cutting edge astronomy and astrophysics research.

3. Create a community for people interested in astronomy by bringing together local astronomical societies, schools, youth groups, university students and academics.

4. Facilitate the opportunity to use a 0.5m telescope and tour the University of Birmingham Observatory. This is the only one of its size within a 40 mile radius and is open to public use.

5. Inspire the general public to participate in astronomy at home and love astronomy as much as the the students love doing it here at the University.

Planned Impact

Feedback results are compiled and uploaded onto our wikipage to be shared within the astrophysics group at the University of Birmingham. The wikipage is compiled so that future members of the group have easy access to ideas and feedback of activities we carry out during our outreach events. Astronomy in the city have an active social media presence on both twitter and Facebook, on which we can advertise the activities that we do and how well they are received by the public.

As a member of STEMnet, I frequently attend teach meets and other outreach meetings where I can share my experience of techniques to make outreach events as successful as Astronomy in the City.


10 25 50
Description Solihull School 
Organisation Solihull College
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We provide private access use of the observatory to students studying Astronomy at this institution
Collaborator Contribution They provide us with 2 minibuses to facilitate the transportation of trips between the University and the observatory as well as the volunteered drivers of the vehicles.
Impact This partnership means that we are able to take the general public out to see the observatory provided that we have 2 volunteers from Solihull School to drive the minibuses meaning removing the requirement for vehicle hire and fuel costs. It also enabled us to provide access to more students rather than having a lottery based system.
Start Year 2014
Description Astronomy in the city 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Free public event to engage the local community in the research carried out in the astronomy department and for the opportunity to visit a working observatory on the outskirts of the city. This event includes research talks and a question and answer segment where the public can ask any science question. This is done in partnership with the local astronomical societies who provide telescopes for demonstration purposes and also a local school. Each event attracts ~200 attendees of all ages and has provided the local community more knowledge about the research happening here but also things that they have heard in the news and want to know more.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016