Harry Potter and the Book 7 Star Party

I've been pretty quiet on the blog over the last few weeks due, in part, to work but also due to the preparations for the Harry Potter Star Party that I'm organising at the Jodrell Bank Observatory Visitor Centre on Friday 20th July. So what has Harry Potter got to do with astronomy I hear you ask? Well, there is a surprising amount of astronomy tucked away in the septology. Although some of it isn't totally correct, it is a great starting point. Plus, collecting a copy of the latest book gives a good excuse for families to go to a star party in the middle of the night. Not that they should need an excuse, but it certainly helps.

So what's happening? Well, we plan to have an entire Potter themed night as we did for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince leading up to the release of the book at 00:01 on Saturday 21st July. Visitors will be arriving at around 9pm (before sunset) and will be sorted by the Sorting Hat on arrival. The guests will be sorted into the four houses of Jodrell Bank School of Astronomy & Astrophysics. The houses are all based on non-zodiacal constellations visible in the northern hemisphere and are: Aquila (the Eagle), Delphinus (the Dolphin), Lepus (the Hare) and Cygnus (the Swan). After sorting, house prefects will take the four houses to their lessons. We have an astronomy talk, a planetarium show (that may talk about the mysterious initials R.A.B. from book 6 and what they have to do with the night sky), a 3D journey to Mars, telescopes to look at stars (weather permitting), and a chance to make wands, planispheres and wizard's hats. Food will also be available at our own Leaky Cauldron. The night finishes after midnight with the chance to pick up a copy of the last book in the series: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

For a good party I think it is important to have the right atmosphere. So staff and prefects will be dressed in Harry Potter-style robes (I am making these with the aid of my excellent helpers), the driveway will be lined with flags and there will be some other special touches too, if I can pull them off. Tickets are on sale and there are still some (but not many) left due to cancellations. Tickets are very reasonably priced at £6 for adults and £5 for children and that includes refreshments. Call the Visitor Centre on 01477 571339 to book a ticket. It should be fun!

Looking around the internet I see this isn't quite the only astronomy themed Harry Potter book launch. In Burbank, California there are plans to do some sidewalk astronomy outside book shops.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 10th Jul 2007 (20:05 BST) | Permalink
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