A new moment of transformation
After years of planning, our First Light Pavilion launched on 4th June 2022. The architecturally stunning building is at the heart of a £21.5m project to open up the awe-inspiring heritage of Jodrell Bank to even more people.
Unearth inspirational stories of Jodrell Bank’s pioneering scientists in our new permanent exhibition, explore the depths of space in an immersive planetarium experience, and enjoy views of the Jodrell Bank arboretum from the First Light cafe terrace.
By maintaining an age-old tradition of building structures that express our relationship to the skies above us, the building also makes reference to ancient sites such as Stonehenge and Newgrange, by aligning with the Sun via a meridian line cut through the dome’s entranceway. Facing due south, a slim vertical window right in the centre of the building invites the sun to shine through a finger of light that moves across the entrance foyer as the day goes on, acting as a giant sundial.
Audiences are able to see fascinating archive materials brought together for the first time including audio, film, diaries, letters, plans and photographs, in innovative digitial displays and projections.
The exhibition fabric is made from the skin of the Lovell Telescope, bringing visitors into direct contact with the authentic metal dish which has ‘listened’ to the heavens and been touched by cosmic rays and ‘space dust.’
The state-of-the-art auditorium will offer every visitor an immersive audio-visual experience with a specially commissioned short film about the story of Jodrell Bank. Audiences looking for a more traditional planetarium show can add on a 30 minute session which takes in the beauty and wonder of the night sky, guided by one of our Explainers
Suitable for stargazers 10+
First Light at Jodrell Bank is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the UK Government (DCMS), The University of Manchester, and a number of kind donors, including the Wolfson, Garfield Weston, Denise Coates, and Stavros Niarchos foundations.