Picture gallery: Newbury Racecourse hosts BBC's Stargazing Live

Newbury Racecourse hosted BBC Two's Stargazing Live last night (9 Jan) where 1,500 budding astronomers put their stargazing skills into practice.

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    BBC Stargazing Racecourse Newbury 2013 5.JPG

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    BBC Stargazing Racecourse Newbury 2013 7.JPG

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    BBC Stargazing Racecourse Newbury 2013 1.JPG

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    BBC Stargazing Racecourse Newbury 2013 8.JPG

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Participants were able to use the skills Professor Brian Cox had taught them throughout the TV series, with experts providing demonstrations and answering questions.

The racecourse was one of 12 locations in the UK chosen to host regional stargazing events.

Each of the Grandstand’s three floors – where the event took place – represented a different zone. Activities included workshops showing people how to use thermal imaging cameras, inflatable planetariums, talks from astronomy experts and an interactive web chat with a NASA astronaut. The outside areas were also used to gaze at the stars and planets.

Louisa Hannan, learning project manager at BBC South, said: "We chose the racecourse as we wanted one location for the whole of the south, so geographically Newbury is very central and easy to get to. Racecourses are not traditionally where people might expect to find a stargazing event, which demonstrates that you can get into astronomy anywhere.

"The flexible space of the Grandstand was ideal for the indoor event elements and the surrounding land was perfect for putting it all into practice."

Amanda Ellis, conference and events business development manager, added: "This event shows the variety of exactly what can take place at the racecourse on a non-race day."

Venues hosting stargazing events this evening include the Amex Stadium in Brighton; Tatton Park, Birmingham University and London's National Maritime Museum.

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