ROE staff on-loan for 'reading' at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival

A ‘Human Book’ about ‘Dark Skies and Big Telescopes’ was available for loan at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival this week (Wednesday 11th August), in the form of Dan Hillier, the manager of the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh Visitor Centre. Dan from the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UKATC) was part of the ‘Future Editions’ library organised which offered 30 specialists on-loan across the city for festival-goers to chat with for ten minute spells.

The Future Editions library organised by Artsadmin who arrange productions in the arts field was held for two days at the Forest Fringe venue in Edinburgh. Others involved included a champion wrestler, and a consultant in emergency medicine.

Dan said; "It was a rare chance to talk astronomy with a random group of people who were really up for a conversation but who hadn’t come along to one of our typical observatory or dark sky events. The opening question was 'Why do you do this and who pays for it?' Overall, everyone I spoke to felt a connection with the wonder of astronomy".

‘Dark Skies and Big Telescopes’ which was the title of the ‘book’ is named after two schemes operated by UKATC which are designed to help engage the public with science. The idea of taking part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was to educate new audiences about the value of science, and in particular astronomy. Since 2007 the Dark Sky partnerships have been running community astronomy events in rural and urban areas of the UK, including stargazing, mobile planetarium shows and short astronomy talks. The Big Telescopes programme brings the inspiration of giant telescopes into classrooms, supporting science and arts education.

More details about the event can be found here on the Artsadmin pages

Dan Hillier being 'loaned out' as part of the event.