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Moon Landing 50th: Celebrations and Events at Jodrell Bank

Jodrell Bank played a unique role in the historic 1969 Moon landings and 2019 marks 50 years since that momentous occasion when humanity first stepped foot on another celestial body.

In July 1969, the Jodrell Bank Observatory team, led by Director Sir Bernard Lovell, monitored signals from the Apollo 11 Eagle lander carrying legendary astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Signals intercepted at Jodrell Bank caught the moment when the Eagle lander touched down on the surface, capturing one of the greatest achievements of mankind.

This year, we’ll be hosting a packed programme of public events and celebrations to mark the momentous anniversary.

Moon Landing 50th will run throughout 2019 and is set to include a wealth of events and activities to engage all our visitors and communities.

Families can plan ahead and look forward to a range of fun-filled and fact-packed ways to get involved. Highlights include two Stargazing Nights on 15 February and 29 March and two new moon-themed Live Science Shows running through May Half Term and the Summer holidays.

Families visiting us in the summer will also be able to get their hands on real pieces of the Moon brought back by Apollo astronauts in Moon rock and meteorites. Meanwhile, we’re looking forward to presenting our first Rocket Lab, a series of hands-on activities all about rocket science! There’s fun for the under 7s too with Tiny Astronauts, a drop-in session for budding young astronauts keen to explore our Solar System!

A special Girls Night Out event will take place in October, welcoming Dr. Katie Joy from the University of Manchester who’ll talk about her work as a planetary scientist with a special focus on the Moon and meteorites.

And finally, groups are also encouraged to take part in the celebrations by booking a special visit to Jodrell Bank to enjoy the brand new groups talk, One Giant Leap. Using archive audio-visual footage, the talk tells the inspirational story of Jodrell Bank and its role in the race to the Moon.

Moon Landing 50th – What’s on at a glance:

Stargazing Night: Moon Watch
Friday 15 February, 7pm – 10pm
£9.50/£8.50 (10% discount for Annual Pass holders)

One Giant Leap talk for groups
Available for group bookings from 1 March 2019
Talk and Tour: £10.50pp
Talk, Tour and Picnic: £18.50pp

Live Science Show: Lift Off!
Tuesday 28 – Friday 31 May, 11am, 12pm, 2:30pm
Free with general admission

Tiny Astronauts (Under 7s sessions)
Tuesday 18 – Friday 21 May, 11am and 1pm
and Monday 29 July – Friday 30 August (weekdays only)
Free with general admission

Rocket Lab! (Drop-in activities)
Saturday 15 – Monday 27 May, 11am – 4pm
and Monday 29 July – Friday 30 August, 11am – 4pm
Free with general admission

Live Science Show: Mission to the Moon
Monday 29 July – Friday 30 August (weekdays only), 11am, 12pm and 2:30pm
Free with general admission

Moon rock and meteorites (Drop-in)
Monday 29 July – Friday 30 August, 11am – 4pm
Free with general admission

Girls Night Out Moon Special
Friday 25 October, 7pm – 10pm
£14.50/£12.50 (10% off for Annual Pass holders)

More events still to be announced! Click here for full what’s on listings.

2019 bluedot headliners announced

We’re thrilled to reveal the first wave of science, music and culture acts at this summer’s highly anticipated bluedot.

Taking place 18-21 July 2019 and marking the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, this summer will see our fourth instalment of the multi award-winning festival and an even bigger celebration than ever before.

Alongside Kraftwerk, one of the most influential electronic groups of all time, New Order will celebrate a homecoming festival performance on the Saturday night, with Hot Chip heading up the bill on Friday.

On Thursday night the Lovell Stage will host an orchestral extravaganza as the internationally renowned Halle Orchestra presents Lift Off, a performance of specially selected sci-fi themes and music related to the Moon accompanied by unique big screen visuals.

Elsewhere on the line-up is electronic pioneer Jon Hopkins, Mercury nominated poet, playwright and rapper Kate Tempest, alt-electro storyteller John Grant, Welsh psych wizard Gruff Rhys, Grammy nominated producer Jennifer Lee aka TOKIMONSTA and art-rocker Anna Calvi.

Also announced is the first all-female West African supergroup – Les Amazones d’Afrique and a DJ set from award-winning actor and activist Maxine Peake.

We’re also delighted to announce the first names from our science and culture programme. Key speakers include leading science, wildlife and natural history broadcaster Liz Bonnin, Professor of Disability Research Tom Shakespeare and women’s rights activist Dr Helen Pankhurst, as well as bluedot favourites physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili, spaceflight expert Dr Libby Jackson, TV presenter Dallas Campbell and the return of The Clangers celebrating their 50th anniversary.

The full programme plus details of the highly anticipated Moon landing celebration will be announced in the coming weeks. Weekend tickets will be on public sale from 10am Thursday 24th January.

For more information visit:

What’s on this autumn?

As the seasons start to change and summer turns to autumn, we’re looking forward to a host of exciting new events…

The night’s are drawing in so now’s the perfect opportunity to get into stargazing by joining us at one of our popular Stargazing Nights, or, why not learn how to take impressive photos of the night sky at an Astrophotography workshop?

Girls Night Out is back too, for another celebration of women in STEM. This time, we’re exploring the world of environmental science. Find out more and book your tickets here. Plus, our Lovell Lecture series picks up again starting on 20th September with Jodrell Bank’s own Professor Ben Stappers, followed by Professor Amanda Bamford and Andrew Gray from Manchester Museum on 17th October. And, there’s still a few places left on our final Stars and Stones event, exploring two great sites in one day: Jodrell Bank and The Blackden Trust.

There’s plenty to families to enjoy at half term too, including Live Science Shows, Meet the Expert sessions, activities for the under 7s and our ever-popular Telescope Walking Tours.

Don’t forget, Annual Pass holders can access 10% discount on all Jodrell Bank events and free admission year-round. To join our Annual Pass scheme, click here.

And click here, to see our full what’s on listings…

See you soon!

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That was bluedot 2018!

From 19-22 July, we welcomed more than 18,000 festival-goers to Jodrell Bank for a packed celebration of science, music, art and discovery.

The 4 day festival saw an impressive 147 music acts (including a 60-piece orchestra), 45 research teams, 43 science talks, 22 panel discussions, 11 art installations, 8 festival stages, 3 science marketplaces and 0 single-use plastics!

We want to take the opportunity to thank all our many partners, speakers, artists and exhibitors who made this year’s festival so special, and of course, to all those that attended and shared their weekends with us here at Jodrell Bank. We can’t wait to welcome you all back again next summer…

2019 Festival -Book Now!

Bluedot will return on 18-21 July 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landings and tickets are now on sale.
Click here to book

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See you next year!

Art meets Science at bluedot 2018

This year’s bluedot (19-22 July) has an incredible line-up and the arts and culture programming is bigger than ever.

The Lovell Telescope, at the heart of the festival, will once again illuminated by artists work via projection mapped bespoke installations. Look up as night falls to see our headline projection, ‘Megastructure’ by Marcus Lyall bringing the structure of the Lovell Telescope to life with a spectacular durational sequence of colour and light.

Expect also to see the second edition of COSMOS a flagship international art-science commission and residency produced by Abandon Normal Devices (AND). This year’s project welcomes Austrian based American artist Addie Wagenknecht whose work focuses on the tension between expression and technology. Having worked with the Jodrell Bank researchers and scientists, Addie has been exploring the data that the telescope collects from deep space to create a remarkable new artwork set to be projected onto the iconic structure over the festival weekend.

Meanwhile, look out the premiere of a bespoke artwork for the festival of our pale blue dot by Luke Jerram, of the awe-inspiring Museum of the Moon piece.

View the Earth like you’ve never seen it before, featuring detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface accompanied by a sound composition by BAFTA award-winning composor Dan Jones. This piece is a bluedot and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) co-commission with support from The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC).

Plus, stay vigilant in the main arena and watch out for Out of this World: an other-worldy procession of curious characters by Global Grooves. Blending together carnival arts, thumping percussion, ethereal beings and illuminated lanterns, the Friday and Saturday night parades will be a spectacle to behold. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Once day transforms into night, immerse yourself into The Outer Space to discover The Lucid Lanterns; a dazzling multi-coloured outdoor sound and light show, Dr. Kronovator’s Fire Laboratory; an intruiging, interactive fiery spectacle and soundscape, both supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

The Red Stars teleport into the festival from the future with their a crew of time travelling, party-starting, sonic renegades to save bluedot from OneCor – a futuristic all-powerful corporation who have made all non-sponsored music and creativity illegal. Join in their spontaneous Micro-Raves to send you beaming into the future.

And finally, wonder into The Star Field and enjoy the return of The Space Shed, bringing their intergalactic storytelling show for families and children about one man’s mission to hack his way into space or celebrate the beginning of time with a large scale geometric installation in the arena based on The Big Bang.

With vast galaxies of art to discover at bluedot, immerse yourself into a cornecopia of wonder and curiousity this July.

Day Tickets are still available but selling fast, click here to book online now at just £59.75 each. There are plenty of great savings for children and families. 

The Blue Planet in Concert

The award winning bluedot festival will be opening in just three weeks time with Blue Planet in Concert, performed by the Hallé Orchestra on Thursday 19th July. The event kicks off a brand new family four-day format for the festival and promises to be a night to remember.

The show combines live music against a backdrop of remarkable footage from the original Blue Planet 2001 television series produced by the acclaimed BBC Natural History Unit and performed in the shadow of the giant Lovell Telescope.

Conducted by the composer, the Hallé will perform the internationally critically acclaimed concert version of the original Blue Planet, promising a unique and awe-inspiring spectacle in HD, exploring the vast oceans on our pale blue dot, and the challenges we face for the future.

Opening the Thursday night event will be Filming Blue Planet II: BBC in conversation with the British Antarctic Survey. In the final episode of Blue Planet II, bird ecologist Dr Lucy Quinn showed the world how a charismatic seabird – the wandering albatross – eats plastic pollution in the sea. Described by Sir David Attenborough as ‘tragic’, producer Yolly Bosiger who worked on the series, explains how they chose what to include in the programmes and how the impact of the series has led to a UK Government ban on plastics and a new movement where people are taking action to make changes for the future benefit of our Earth.

Following the talk and ahead of the Blue Planet concert, festival-goers can enjoy a performance from Laura Misch, a saxophonist, vocalist and producer popular with Gilles Peterson and Worldwide FM, whose extraordinary one-woman show fuses jazz and progressive electronic genres through exploring the space between analogue and electronically-manipulated sound.

Taking place on the opening evening, Thursday tickets are available to be purchased separately for just £29 with a weekend ticket, or £35 as a stand-alone ticket. Upgrade to our VIP package priced at £59.

Practical Action is Bluedot’s Charity Partner.

We’re thrilled to have Practical Action on board once again as one of bluedot’s official charity partners for 2018.

Practical Action is a global innovator, inspiring people to discover and adopt ingenious, practical ways to free themselves from poverty and disadvantage. Their projects help communities across the globe, including in Asia, Africa and South America and their inspirational body of work covers sustainable agriculture, water, sanitation and waste, access to energy and reducing vulnerability to disasters.

Practical Action CEO, Paul Smith Lomas has said We are really excited to be partnering with Bluedot for a third year. The line-up is incredible and it’s a great opportunity to generate some strong support and advocates for Practical Action.

Our ambition is to create a world where all men and women have access to the technology they need to meet their needs and reach their potential. Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of everything we do so Bluedot is the perfect fit for us.”

You’ll be able to visit members of the Practical Action team at Bluedot (19-22 July) at their festival stall in the Planet Field, where they’ll be running a range of drop-in activities, demonstrating how their work transforms lives.

Plus, new for 2018, Practical Action will also be running two hands-on workshops at the festival’s Launch Pad, including The Floating Garden Challenge, and Ditch the Dirt.

Find out what they got up to at bluedot last year…

Bluedot takes place on 19-22 July at Jodrell Bank. Find out more, including how to book tickets here


Family Fun at Bluedot

With half term nearly over and under 7 weeks to go till the return of our award-winning festival bluedot (19-22 July), now’s the perfect time for families to start planning their trip.

The festival has been designed with parents in mind with lots of provision for young families including free tickets for under 5s, dedicated parent and baby spaces, early morning activities and quiet camping.

Your little explorers and budding young scientists can immerse themselves in a world of wonder and get stuck in to a host of family activity including live research, experiments and science shows, exhibits, workshops and stalls. If you’ve enjoyed Amazed by Science this week, then you’ll absolutely love bluedot!

The popular Star and Planet Fields will be back, each serving as a hub for family-friendly discovery with scientific displays, games, experiments and workshops galore. Highlights include hands-on insect investigations with the Institute of Infection and Global Health, celebrating women in science with ScienceGrrl, the festival’s charity partner Practical Action, and The Week Junior’s Big Debate Live and journalism workshops.

Plus, new for 2018, be sure to head to The Launch Pad, a brand new area encompassing three exciting new zones, all located in the south Star Field.

The Launch Pad features:

The Big Bang Lab: Be inspired by science by watching a fun and fact-packed live science show. Featuring interactive demonstrations, live experiments and even the occasional (controlled) explosion, the Big Bang Lab is perfect for all the family. 

The Data Base: Get involved with real live research by helping to solve some of the biggest problems of the day

The Work Shop: Get hands-on and learn a new skill with our SciTechsperts

Get ready for Lift Off and begin your scientific journey at bluedot this summer. We’ll see you there!


Weekend camping available from £169.
Discounts for children and teens, under 5s go free.

Book Online


Funding confirmed for First Light at Jodrell Bank

We are absolutely thrilled to be able to announce today our £20.5m transformative First Light at Jodrell Bank project is set to receive a total of £16.1m from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). £12.1m of the total is thanks to National Lottery players, with a further £4m coming from the Government.

The project will create a spectacular new building that will promote and celebrate Jodrell Bank’s world-leading place in the history of astronomy, and a pioneering chapter in British scientific and cultural history.

Jodrell Bank Observatory, which is part of The University of Manchester, was founded in 1945. It is the earliest radio astronomy observatory in the world still in existence and was a pioneer of the new science of radio astronomy, which revolutionised our understanding of the universe. In recognition of the international significance of its science heritage, Jodrell Bank was nominated by DCMS for UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription in January 2018.

This game-changing support of National Lottery players will preserve and protect the heritage of the site for future generations and result in a must-see national heritage destination to match the site’s national and international importance. The new facilities will house a stunning new exhibition and engagement space, incorporating the original fabric of the 1957 dish of the telescope, an auditorium devoted to displaying immersive digital presentations, an education hub, and a new café.

At its core the First Light Project is all about connecting the widest range of people with the heritage of science and innovation, and will provide opportunities for people to become more involved in Jodrell Bank through education, group activities, volunteering and engagement.

The project will provide a place of inspiration for young people and their families, showcasing not only the emergence of the new science of radio astronomy, but also the stories of resilience, determination, cooperation and the entrepreneurial spirit that brought it into being.

The project, which will be delivered over the next three years, will create 19 new roles, increase visitor numbers and establish a volunteer programme.

Commenting on the award, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “It’s great to be here at this iconic home of British innovation to personally congratulate the team on this funding award, which will enable Jodrell Bank to continue to inspire scientists in Britain for generations to come.

“We are committed to continuing the proud heritage that Jodrell Bank represents, by making the UK the world’s most innovative economy through our Modern Industrial Strategy. As we stand on the threshold of a technological revolution, we will use science to transform our quality of life.”

Professor Teresa Anderson, Director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: ‘’We are thrilled that we have received this generous support thanks to National Lottery players and the DCMS. This funding will transform visitor engagement with the heritage of Jodrell Bank. It will enable us to properly relay, reveal, interpret and explain our story, so that a wider range of people, locally, nationally and worldwide, can understand and appreciate the unique turning point that occurred with the emergence of radio astronomy.

“This major investment acknowledges Jodrell Bank’s unique significance and will ensure that the heritage of the site is protected and conserved according to the standards required of a World Heritage Site, ensuring its care and maintenance for future generations.’’

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester added: ‘‘I am delighted by the announcement of this major funding.  It will enable us to share Jodrell Bank’s fantastic stories and amazing feats of UK science and engineering with many thousands of visitors.

“I am particularly pleased that this will provide opportunities for young people to pursue their own paths of interest and to develop the skills needed to become the digital technologists, scientists and artists of the future.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “The First Light project has been designed to nurture a new generation of scientists and astronomers and is only possible thanks to National Lottery funding.  Jodrell Bank will be a centre for learning, wonder and fun – a place where people of all ages can visit, be inspired and, quite literally, reach for the stars.”

Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said: “Jodrell Bank is a globally important site that has helped to transform our understanding of the Universe. This significant investment from government and National Lottery players will create a world class visitor attraction and help inspire future generations in science and astronomy.” 


Day Tickets now on sale for Bluedot

With just a few months to go till the third outing of our award-winning festival of discovery, we’re very excited to announce that Day Tickets for the 2018 bluedot festival are now on sale.

Running 19 – 22 July, bluedot returns with another stellar lineup of music, science and cosmic culture. Highlights include The Chemical Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Future Islands, Richard Dawkins, Jim Al-Khalili, Alice Roberts, and many, many more.

Don’t forget, this year’s festival has been extended to include Thursday 19th July when the Halle Orchestra will perform music from the BBC’s acclaimed series Blue Planet. Certainly not to be missed!

You can view the full lineup on the bluedot website and you can also now download the 2018 bluedot festival app. Perfect for planning your weekend of discovery! We’ll see you there

Download via the Apple App Store
Download via Google Play