Astronomy at the Airport: Supernova Science in the Departure Lounge
Education & Outreach
Sadie Jones
University of Southampton
For four consecutive days during school half term, February 2016, a group of four astronomy researchers engaged 1,500 passengers waiting in the departure lounge at Southampton Airport with their world leading supernovae research. To start up a conversation with this ‘hard to reach’ group the astronomers handed out free compressed towels with supernova printed on and other innovative freebies such as leaflets, cloth bags, pens and colouring in tubes, all freebies were printed with a hashtag and had links to the supernova research website. The main aim of the event was to raise awareness of the research, to promote scientists as positive role models and to reach a group who would not normally attend science events. An STFC public engagement small award funded this novel public education event and both formative and summative evaluation was carried out at the event, and a month later. In this talk I present the findings of our extensive evaluation of the event, including advice on using social media for engagement and electronic evaluation. In summary, 92% of respondents said that they learnt something about the research and when asked to rate their interest in astronomy before and after speaking to an astronomer at the event 54% stated an increased interest afterwards. Analytics of the supernova group website in the week of the event, and the two weeks following showed that 60% of website views were from new viewers which translated to 81 new engagements.


09:00 - 10:30
EX - C33 (150)