Skip site navigation and jump to page content

New photo exhibition explores the universe

10 September, 2009

International Year of Astronomy Press Release

Photos available for your coverage, please contact Institue of Physics' Press office on 020 7470 4896 or email

New photo exhibition explores the universe
A new photographic exhibition, Explorers of the Universe, will be showcasing aspects of astronomy at the Royal Albert Hall from 24 September until 2 November 2009 to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) and as part of the Royal Albert Hall’s reflect series.
Through interpretive and character portraits, photographer Max Alexander introduces us to astronomers such as Sir Bernard Lovell, founder of Jodrell Bank, one of the world’s most advanced radio astronomy telescopes, Professor Stephen Hawking and the discoverer of pulsars, Professor Jocelyn Bell-Burnell DBE. 
Supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Royal Astronomical Society, the exhibition includes pictures of leading UK astronomers, all of whom have made huge contributions to our understanding of the Universe, while other photographs capture the wonder of astronomy and the wide fascination astronomy inspires for both scientists and the public.
The exhibition can be viewed during one of four free open days throughout October or when attending Royal Albert Hall performances.
To compliment the exhibition, there will be a talk ‘Explorers of the Solar System’ by Professor John Zarnecki on Sunday 4 October. A leading figure in astronomy, Professor Zarnecki will be giving a personal account of his experiences exploring the far reaches of the Solar System. This will be followed by a private view of the exhibition.
Max Alexander is a professional photographer and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has had a lifelong interest in astronomy.  He says, “Astronomy equally fascinates scientists and the public. Ever since Galileo first looked up into the sky with his telescope 400 years ago, finding out more about our universe has captured our collective imagination.”
Steve Owens, International Year of Astronomy 2009 UK Co-ordinator says, “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways of involving people in astronomy, and this exhibition is a great way to engage a very different audience at the Royal Albert Hall.”


Lena Weber
Press Officer
Institute of Physics
76 Portland Place
London W1B 1NT
Tel: +44 (0)20 7470 4896

Steve Owens
UK Co-ordinator, IYA 2009
c/o Glasgow Science Centre
50 Pacific Quay
Glasgow G51 1EA
Tel: +44 (0)141 420 5010 x.299
Mob: +44 (0)787 905 8120

Dr Robert Massey
Press and Policy Officer
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
London W1J 0BQ
Tel: +44 (0)794 124 8035, +44 (0)20 7734 4582

Notes for Editors

Explorers of the Universe

The Explorers of the Universe exhibition can be viewed when attending performances at the Royal Albert Hall or during these free open days:

Saturday 3 October         10am-2pm
Saturday 10 October       10am-2pm
Wednesday 14 October   6pm-9pm
Saturday 24 October       10am-2pm

Tickets for the talk on 4 October are priced at £6.50 and include a glass of wine on arrival. Tickets are available from the Royal Albert Hall Box Office on 020 7589 8212 or online at 

Photos of the exhibition can be accessed here:

The International Year of Astronomy 2009

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009) will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture. It is intended to stimulate worldwide interest not only in astronomy, but in science in general, with a particular slant towards young people.IYA 2009 will mark the 400th anniversary of the monumental leap forward that followed Galileo Galilei’s first use of the telescope for astronomical observations. In the UK the chair of IYA2009 is Professor Ian Robson, director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, and the co-ordinator for IYA 2009 activities is Steve Owens, also a UKATC employee.

IYA: UK home page

The Royal Astronomical Society

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3000 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

RAS home page

The institue of Physics

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is a scientific membership organisation devoted to increasing the understanding and application of physics. It has an extensive worldwide membership (currently around 34000) and is a leading communicator of physics with all audiences from specialists through government to the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.

IOP home page

The Science and Technology Facilities Council

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) ensures the UK retains its leading place on the world stage by delivering world-class science; accessing and hosting international facilities; developing innovative technologies; and increasing the socio-economic impact of its research through effective knowledge exchange partnerships. The Council has a programme of public engagement to inspire students, teachers and the public with UK science.

STFC has a broad science portfolio including Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science, It gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the the European organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) and the European Space Agency (ESA). It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

STFC is a partner in the UK space programme, coordinated by the British National Space Centre.

STFC home page

The Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall is one of the UK’s most treasured and magical buildings, recognisable the world over. It is a registered charity and operates without public subsidy. Since opening in 1871, the Hall has had an unparalleled history of exceptional performances by the world’s leading artists. Today over 350 events are held in the Hall’s auditorium each year which include performances of classical, jazz, world music, rock and pop, dance, comedy, film premières and award ceremonies. Audiences of well over a million are entertained each year and many millions more around the world enjoy the Hall experience through broadcasts, recordings and new media channels.

Contact: Sean Carrigan, tel: +44 (0)20 7959 0531, email: 

Royal Albert Hall home page


Contact Us

For press enquiries, please contact:

Press Executive

Rick Burin
020 7959 0531

Marketing Executive

Ellen Morgan
020 7959 0500 Ext 3004

Senior Marketing and Press Manager

Jessica Silvester
020 7959 0510

feature pic 1

Press Mailing List

Receive our monthly press listing directly to your inbox.

Learn More

feature pic 2

Media Resources

Download images, videos and audio clips here.

Learn More