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SaturN-Day Night – A Museums at Night Event at Paisley Museum

coats observatory

Ideal SaturN-Day Night viewing! See Saturn up close in this year’s space-themed celebration.

Paisley Museum and Coats Observatory will be throwing open their doors on Saturday 18 May for a one off evening event packed with out-of-this-world activities.

Running as part of the national Museums at Night festival; Paisley Museum’s very own ‘SaturN-Day Night’ event offers a programme of free, astronomical activities suitable for all the family.

Museums at Night is the annual, after-hours celebration of arts, culture and heritage when hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites open their doors for special evening events.

Coats Observatory

From 7.30pm at Paisley Museum, visitors can catch a show in our brand new digital Planetarium, or settle down to hear a Space Story, read in the stunning, new-look Pillar Gallery. Plus there will be plenty of hands-on activities for creative kids and those interested in science and film; with a Van de Graff experiment, make your own zoetrope and cosmic crafts.

Then, at 10pm as the light fades, SaturN-Day Night moves into the Dome in Coats Observatory for a spot of Saturn viewing and stargazing through the telescopes. An undisputed jewel in the crown of our solar system, Saturn is a sight that once seen, is never forgotten!

Renfrewshire Arts & Museums’ Observatory Officer John Pressly explained what visitors can hope to see (weather permitting of course!) on May 18.

“In May, Saturn has just gone past opposition – when it is directly opposite the Sun – meaning it will be at its brightest in the sky. Around 10.30pm, when the sky darkens, the planet will be shining brightly in the south-east. Visitors will see Saturn up close, including its rings, composed of billions of pieces of rock, ice and dust that constantly orbit the planet and may even catch a glimpse of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, the only other place in the Solar System apart from Earth where liquid flows on the surface.” 

SaturN-Day Night will run from 7.30pm – Midnight. Please see below for the full list of activities and times.

Planetarium Shows 

7.45pm, 8.30pm & 9.15pm

Coats Observatory

Booking essential on 0141 618 5087. Max of 15 places per show. Suitable for ages 5+. Each show lasts 20 mins.

Experience our new state-of-the-art digital planetarium taking you on a journey through distant galaxies and star clusters, zooming in on constellations and objects too faint to be seen except through a powerful telescope, all without leaving the comfort of your chair.

Space Stories 

7.30pm and 8.30pm

Paisley Museum

Please book at front desk on the night. Max of 25 places per session.

Come along to our storytelling sessions and escape into the magical world of ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – an enchanting children’s tale about a pilot stranded in the desert who meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. A fascinating story for children and adults alike.

Family Arts Activities 

7.30pm to 9.30pm

Paisley Museum

Drop-in activities including:

  • Fantastic Film – discover the science behind early film and create your own zoetrope and a short animation.
  • Van de Graff experiment – a mini science experiment with the Van De Graff generator and a microscope
  • Plus many more space-themed activities…

 

Saturn Viewing 

10pm to 12midnight

Coats Observatory (entry at this time will be via Oakshaw St)

The Dome will be open to allow visitors the chance to take in spectacular sightings though the telescope and to view mesmerising sights of Saturn at its best.*

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

*Please note this activity is weather dependant.

For further information on Museums at Night, future events, exhibitions or shows log on to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts.

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New digital planetarium at Coats Observatory

Coats Observatory, Paisley.

Now you can see the stars at any time, thanks to a new digital planetarium at Coats Observatory.

The old and the new combined at Coats Observatory recently when Scotland’s oldest public observatory, managed by Renfrewshire council’s arts and museums service, installed a new £11,500 digital planetarium, purchased from the Thomas Coats bequest, which can be enjoyed by daytime visitors as well as those attending the popular night sky viewings.

The observatory has had a planetarium since the late 1980s, allowing visitors to view a virtual version of the night sky from the comfort of their chair. Recently the planetarium has been upgraded to a state of the art digital version. This can project thousands of stars in an accurate representation of the night sky, can show the constellations by joining up the stars and then add the constellation art, which helps to show what the constellation represents and how its shape is made up from a group of stars.

The projector can also zoom in on many of the objects too faint to be seen except with a powerful telescope. High resolution images of distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters can all be called up at the push of a button, bringing the wonders of the universe much closer to visitors. All of the planets in our Solar System can also be viewed in incredible detail.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said; ‘Coats Observatory is one of Renfrewshire’s most unique buildings, experienced by thousands of visitors each year. The Grubb telescope gives visitors to the night sky viewings an incredible opportunity to view the wonders of the universe, but unfortunately our weather doesn’t always work in our favour. The new digital planetarium will allow visitors to learn about our skies at any time of the year and regardless of the weather. This investment demonstrates Renfrewshire council’s commitment to building on the unique assets of this authority and it is hoped that the new planetarium will encourage even more visitors locally, nationally and internationally.

As well as its ability to display the night sky the digital planetarium can also show films. These full-dome movies immerse the viewer completely as the image is projected onto the entire roof above their heads. The observatory hopes to expand the library of films available and develop a programme of shows which will bring the most up to date astronomical discoveries to our visitors in an interesting and innovative way.

Members of the public are invited to experience this stunning new technology, for free, at the weekly planetarium shows every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm. Booking is essential and can be made in person at Paisley Museum or by phoning 0141 840 6179. Maximum of 15 places.

To find out more about Coats Observatory click here.

 

All Paisley Photographs taken by Alex Kyle find more of photographs on Alex’s Facebook.