The Planeterrella

04 July 2023 18:00 - 22:00 The Royal Society Free
The Planeterrella University of Leicester

This event is part of the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition 2023.

The Planeterrella, brought by a team from the University of Leicester, is a small vacuum chamber which we use to recreate auroral lights around magnetic spheres. It was only a hundred years ago, when Norwegian physicist Kristian Birkeland led a daring expedition to the top of an arctic mountain, that scientists realised that the aurorae are created by charged particles from the Sun travelling along the Earth’s magnetic field lines and exciting our atmosphere. Back in his laboratory in Oslo, Birkeland proved his hypothesis to the world with a famous experiment where he created auroral light around magnetic spheres inside a small vacuum chamber.

Additionally, participants can interact with a set of tactile resources that render SMILE satellite and space-themed images on 3D-printed plates, which have been especially designed for visually impaired and neurodiverse people. 

Attending the event

This drop-in activity will be held in the City of London 2 room on Tuesday 4 July 2023, 6pm — 10pm.

  • Free to attend
  • In person only
  • No registration required
  • Suitable for 18+
  • Travel and accessibility information - contact us directly to arrange any specific accessibility requirements
  • Food and drink will be available for purchase at our onsite café

For all enquiries, please email us.