Marvellous Moons Late


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Essential information

Event type: 
Date and time: 
5 September 2019 | 7.30pm - 9pm
Adult: £12 | Child: £6
Royal Observatory, Astronomy café, Astronomy galleries, Peter Harrison Planetarium
10% members discount

This event goes behind the scenes of the Marvellous Moons exhibiton and explores the 'Creativity and Curiosity' sci-art project.

This special event brings together a unique combination of art and science coinciding with the current free Marvellous Moons exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.  A 20 minute planetarium show on the exotic moons of the solar system will be followed by three short presentations on the collaborative art-science project ‘Creativity and Curiosity: Conversations between Artists and Astronomers’.

The event is hosted by Royal Observatory Greenwich Astronomer Brendan Owens, who curated the Marvellous Moons exhibition and associated public programme.

Creativity and Curiosity is an established art-science project led by UK-based contemporary artists, Ione Parkin RWA and Gillian McFarland SSA originating with the University of Leicester. The artists are producing a body of artwork through engagement with astrophysicists, cosmologists and planetary scientists from universities and institutions across the UK and internationally.  The artists have brought the physics behind planetary formations to life in a tactile and mesmerising way.  The audience will be invited to experience the artwork in the planetarium environment as the artists discuss their ideas, inspiration and creative processes. (

The artists are joined by one of their collaborating astronomers, Dr Amaury Triaud (University of Birmingham), who will share his recent discoveries and current research on exoplanets.

University of Leicester logo

University of Birmingham Logo


Event Information

Doors open at 7pm.

Please arrive early to view the free temporary exhibition Marvellous Moons before the event begins if you haven’t seen it before.

Please note: Late-comers cannot be admitted to the planetarium while the show is in progress (7:30pm-8:00pm) for health and safety reasons due to the dark environment. Entry and exit is allowed for the rest of the event.

The Observatory café will be open and an astronomer will be on hand to answer questions about our Moon and the abundance of others in our local celestial neighbourhood.

Ione Parkin

Ione Parkin is an abstract painter, elected member of the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) and an Honorary Visiting Fellow of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Leicester. 

Parkin creates large-scale abstract paintings which express her fascination about the early formation of the universe; massive clouds of cosmic dust and gas; vast webs of colour and shimmering light; luminous visions of immensity; Cosmic Dust; fluid images of magnetic emissions; solar dynamics; cycles of destruction and creation.  She explores, through the language of abstraction, a variety of cosmic phenomena.  Her textured mixed-media works on paper are inspired by planetary surfaces and inspire speculation on undiscovered terrain and distant frozen worlds. 

Gillian McFarland

Gillian McFarland is a visual artist, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leicester and a member of the Scottish Society of Artists. 

McFarland experiments with blown glass, sulphur and nitrates. Exploring and questioning motivates her creative actions and in doing so she references a cosmological model of the universe.  She is interested in making the invisible things visible; in drawing the blurred into focus and reviewing the impact of events and occurrences.  Gillian collaborates with the master glassblower, Graeme Hawes, to create experimental glass globes.  Her punctured works on paper explore orbit tracking and the formation of proto-planetary discs. Gillian has recently collaborated with video artist Collette Rayner.



Project exhibitions include: Cambridge Science Festival (2017); National Space Centre (2018); Zeiss-Grossplanetarium, Berlin (November 2018) and Glasgow Science Centre (July 2019).  Recent Presentations and Panel Discussions include: NAM/EWASS 2018, Liverpool, UK; ‘Road to the Stars’ Conference, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Berlin Science Week; Royal Astronomical Society. 

“I always think the work you both do is amazing and beautiful.  It is as if you are creating your own Universe of planets, stars and galaxies.  Ione’s paintings seem to represent all the possible surfaces of the planets from frozen worlds in the depth of planetary chill, to hot sulphuric, young worlds just forming from the nebulae surrounding their host stars. In Gillian’s work I see the delicate tracery of ring systems and swirling colliding groups of stars and galaxies and her own take on exotic planets orbiting distant stars.”

Professor Martin Barstow, Director, Leicester Institute of Space & Earth Observation