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Maidstone council's Stargazing Spectacular with the Mid Kent Astronomical Society attracted more than 3,000 people

By Angela Cole

Thousands reached for the stars at the weekend.

Maidstone council's Stargazing Spectacular on Saturday was the biggest yet and proved a sell-out with all 3,200 tickets being snapped up.

The event was held at Maidstone Leisure Centre and featured an outdoor telescope observation area where visitors could view the night's sky and planets including Jupiter in a series of massive telescopes.

William Sargent, Emily Mackay and Katie Sargent meet a little spaceman. Picture: Martin Apps
William Sargent, Emily Mackay and Katie Sargent meet a little spaceman. Picture: Martin Apps

Held in partnership with the Mid Kent Astronomical Society and Golding Homes, it featured three astrodomes and a space flight simulator.

Organiser Alan Frith, audience development officer at Maidstone council, said the last few hundred tickets were snapped up on Friday and Saturday when the weather forecast was so promising. In the event, it was dry and a clear sky meant people could see the stars clearly.

He said: "The event was truly amazing. We would like to thank all of the 90 volunteers who helped to make this such a successful event."

Alan Larcombe with his 8" Skywatcher. Picture: Martin Apps
Alan Larcombe with his 8" Skywatcher. Picture: Martin Apps

There were a series of lectures, stalls and activities on offer for all ages. The Science Museum brought Phil the Stunt Frog to look at forces that shape our world, while the University of Kent brought their show Cloudy with a Chance of Extreme Weather.

Louise Ford, Linda Burrows and Seth Ford look at a star globe.
Louise Ford, Linda Burrows and Seth Ford look at a star globe.

The event has been growing in popularity, with 1,000 attending in the first year and around 2,000 last year. It was the first time organisers had charged a small fee for entry.

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