The University of Southampton

Lightwave! is a sister project to our Light Express Roadshow aimed at a younger audience of 8 - 12 year olds.

Lightwave! is run by a group of PhD students in the Optoelectronics Reseach Centre, a research institute within Southampton University that has close links with the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Lightwave! contains many useful resources for students and teachers about the science of light. The Lightwave! team demonstrate experiments in primary schools, at family science days, exhibitions and other events.

Visit Lightwave! for more information.

Students putting the planets in order

Aliens, the Solar System and Exoplanets - interactive talk for year 4 and beyond

by Dr Sadie Jones or James Matthews.

This talk discusses where Aliens can live in our solar system. Students will learn about our planets and search for planets around other stars and exoplanets in our galaxy and get a sense of scale for the universe as a whole.

Mobile planetarium
The Mobile Planetarium

Interactive planetarium shows for primary level include discussion of the sun, moons, aliens and planets and much much more.

All shows are presented by Astronomy undergraduates and PhD students.

Please contact Dr Sadie Jones for more information or to make a booking.

Speakers for Schools

Many members of staff volunteer to give talks about topics in Physics and Astronomy at local schools. These visits involve no cost to the schools as the University is happy to cover all travel costs of the speaker.

Explore the full list of talks.

Dr Betty Lanchester

Aurora: Amazing Light Shows in the Sky

Dr Betty Lanchester

The aurora, sometimes called 'the northern lights' in the northern hemisphere, produces an amazing spectacle in the sky. We use the aurora to find out many things about the space environment around the Earth.


The story of the aurora begins at the Sun. Auroral displays are seen at high latitudes, such as northern Scandinavia, very regularly, and these take many forms, from long 'arcs' stretching from horizon to horizon, to complex patterns of swirls and rays in wave-like motions covering the sky.

The talk will show movies from specialised instruments both from space and from the ground, and will give a simple explanation of the processes measured.

Science and Engineering Family Day

Science and Engineering Family Day

Each year, one week in March is designated as National Science and Engineering Week.

The annual event consists of a variety of activities, and is always a huge success. The School of Physics and Astronomy is actively involved in this effort to raise public interest in and awareness of science and engineering.

The main event -- a Science Day held for families on Saturday, March 25 -- featured both Light Express and Lightwave!, we well as exciting hands-on activities run by our staff and students.