Science Museum – the Sun Family Festival
3rd and 4th November 2018
Blog by Helen Mason

The Sun exhibition is being held at the Science Museum, London, from 6 October 2018 until 6 May 2019. What a fantastic celebration of ‘Living with Our Star!’. If you get a chance, do go and see it. The exhibition has historic artefacts, beautiful drawings by Galileo and other scientists, information about the Sun and health, solar power and early observations of the Sun with a spectroscope. It has wonderful images and movies of the Sun, and information about past and future solar missions, such as the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter, a mission to the Sun.

As a solar scientist, I am passionate about the Sun, and all things connected with it. So, this is an exhibition made for me! It was therefore a great honour to be invited to participate in activities related to this exhibition. My first activity was to moderate a panel discussion at the Science Museum IMAX theatre on the evening of 5th October. This was a prelude to the amazing ‘8 mins’ dance by the Alexander Whitley Dance Company, a Sadler’s Wells Commission. As Alexander Whitley said ‘It has been a journey of discovery, exploring how scientific theories can be understood by the human body, testing the limits of the dancers’ physical capabilities as we attempt to get closer to the immense forces at work in our awesome Sun’. The performance was simply breathtaking.

The weekend of 3rd and 4th November was completely different. This was the Sun Family Festival and the SunSpaceArt team were proud to participate. Our art activity, solar satellite books, was led by Helen Schell, artist and ESERO-UK Space Ambassador, with help from another artist Clare Dudeney. The solar satellite booklets are 3D folded card booklets about the Sun, solar system and space. As a solar scientist, I (Dr Helen Mason) was talking to people (adults and children) about the Sun and answering their questions. We also had some beads which respond to UV light, so change colour outside in the sunshine. The children could take home UV bracelets or make bookmarks with UV beads. We had lots of information available and distributed many STFC Sun brochures. It was a very busy weekend, with many participants and some beautiful artwork for them to take home. We had some happy customers and ‘a massive THANK YOU for all your hard work and dedication’ from the Science Museum. We enjoyed the event so much that we have been back to work with the science museum again, and again!