Stargazers explored the dark skies above Oxford and the range of space science and technology used at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) held its biggest public event of the year on Friday.

More than 800 visitors attended the annual star gazing event and despite the clouds obstructing the view of the stars visitors still learnt all about the space science at RAL.

STFC public engagement officer Vicky Stowell is a member of the team that organised the successful event.

She said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to help inspire future generations and showcase the ground breaking science being carried out by the scientists and engineers here at RAL.

"It’s also a great way for members of the public to see the research they are helping to fund.”

The annual stargazing event had a planetarium show and an opportunity for visitors to see the lab's meteorite samples under microscopes.

There was also the chance to have your face painted, while infra-red cameras picked out the hotspots in the room and a time-slice camera allowed people to construct 'bullet time' images straight out of the Matrix.

Read also: Safer for cyclists - new £210,000 Worcester Street junction

The event also had activities for craft lovers with the chance to make comets and rockets and a space ice and driverless car technology was on show at STFC’s ISIS Neutron and Muon Source.

Also on show at Dimond Light Source was a new demonstration of making cosmic dust samples in a domestic microwave.

The Newbury Astronomy Society was on hand to guide budding astronomers in setting up their telescopes so they can view the stars on clearer nights.

Read also: British government tells UK nationals to leave China due to coronavirus

There was also talks for the stargazing visitors including a talk on what Hollywood gets wrong about space.

RAL Space systems engineer Steve George dressed in an astronaut suit which seemed to appeal to the sillier side of the visitors.

Mr George said: “The first question I was asked was ‘Can you burp in space?’”

Two young visitors had their imaginations fired up by the Stargazing activities.

One young visitors called Ben said:“I found a space rock outside!”

His older brother Charlie had enjoyed trying on Steve’s astronaut helmet and said: “It felt great, I want to dress up as a spaceman again.”