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Stargazing Live came to Portsmouth
Image Credit: Edd Edmondson

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Big stargazing events generate of lot of razzmatazz, but how much impact do they make? Karen Masters and colleagues had a look at the legacy of Stargazing Live events at Portsmouth.

Stargazing Live is the epitome of the big scale, big effort, national outreach campaigns, benefitting from the BBC's star power to attract people to look through telescopes. But how does this sort of event compare to local and regional star parties in terms of the people who come along and the impact the event has on them? 

Karen Masters and her colleagues from the University of Portsmouth wondered about the legacy of such events. The Institute for  Cosmology and Gravitation at Portsmouth had hosted extremely well-attended Stargazing Live events in past years, getting more than 5000 participants when the BBC's was involved compared to the 800 or so who came to their own events. Their interest in the results of such a large-scale event was sharpened by the BBC's decision not to broadcast Stargazing Live in the UK in 2018.

With the support of a grant from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Portsmouth researchers found a very positive reaction from the people who attended both large and small-scale events. read their article to learn some of the pointers that this survey identified for effective engagement in the future.

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