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Last Updated on Friday, 27 January 2006 19:42
Published on Thursday, 07 April 2005 00:00
RAS President, Kathy Whaler, presents Councillor Alden with the titleBirmingham is to be awarded the title of "UK City of Space 2005" by the UK's space and astronomy community. The title is being awarded in recognition of the city's role in hosting two major space events and its initiative in organising other space themed activities this year.

The "City of Space" title is being conferred by the Royal Astronomical Society and the British National Space Centre Partnership, a group of government departments and research councils that coordinates UK civil space activity. This is the first time that such a title has been awarded.

The President of the Royal Astronomical Society, Professor Kathy Whaler, will formally bestow the title and present Councillor Alden, Cabinet Member for Leisure Sport and Culture at Birmingham City Council, with a certificate during the opening reception for the 2005 RAS National Astronomy Meeting at the University of Birmingham. The presentation will take place at 7:45pm at the Barber Institute on Monday 4th April.

Birmingham will be visited by 400 of the UK's leading astronomers and space scientists from 4-8th April, when the University of Birmingham hosts the 2005 RAS National Astronomy Meeting. This is one of the most important regular gatherings of astronomers in the UK. This year's event has been organised by the University of Birmingham's Physics and Astronomy department, which has significant research interest in astrophysics and space.

Later this summer, Birmingham's Thinktank Museum of Science and Discovery will be hosting the British Festival of Space from 30th June-3rd July. The British Festival of Space is a showcase for the UK's space programme and offers events for schools and for members of the public, including hands-on activities and talks about the latest news in space exploration.

In addition, Birmingham City Council has chosen to organise space themed events during 2005, including its "Discovery Day" on 21st August when space-themed activities for families will be organised throughout the city centre.


Anita Heward RAS Communications Officer/Director, British Festival of Space Tel: (01483) 420904 Mob: (07778) 538449 E-mail: anitaheward<-at-> Rachel Robson Press Officer Communications Office University of Birmingham Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT Tel: 0121 414 6681 Mob: 07789 921165 E-mail: r.a.robson<-at-> Richard Swift Birmingham City Council Tel: 0121 303 8795

Royal Astronomical Society

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is the UK's leading body for astronomy & astrophysics, geophysics, solar and solar-terrestrial physics, and planetary sciences. The RAS organises scientific meetings, publishes research and review journals and maintains an extensive library. The Society also awards grants and prizes, supports educational activities and lobbies government.

British National Space Centre

The British National Space Centre (BNSC) is a voluntary partnership, formed from 11 Government Departments and Research Councils with an interest in the development or exploitation of space technologies. At the centre of UK civil space policy, BNSC facilitates cooperation on the national and international level. By representing both academic and industrial interests, BNSC provides the UK space community with a strong voice in international negotiations.

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham's Centre for Space and Gravity Research is the only centre of its kind in Europe to combine space technology and studies of gravitation. The Centre for Space and Gravity Research has the most up-to-date facilities for the design, manufacture and test of space instruments, as well as for the analysis of the data they send back, and works with NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency on projects.

The Astrophysics and Space Research group, which currently has 5 satellite instruments in orbit and a further three in preparation, has been leading the field in solar and heliospheric physics for more than 50 years.

British Festival of Space

The British Festival of Space is a unique forum for the UK's space community and brings together organisations representing all areas of space and astronomy. The Festival has programmes aimed at business, the media, schools, teachers and the general public. For further details see