The Sun Stars In This Sizzling Exhibition At Science Museum

The Sun; Living With Our Star, Science Museum ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 45 months ago

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The Sun Stars In This Sizzling Exhibition At Science Museum The Sun; Living With Our Star, Science Museum 4
The entrance has been transformed so we enter through the yellow sun archway. c.Jody Kingzett, Science Museum

It brings us light, heat and the seasons, and life on Earth would not be possible without it. The sun is looking stunning at the entrance to this Science Museum exhibition all about it, where a timelapse gives us the sun in ultraviolet over 24 hours — the swirling dynamism is hypnotic.

We then venture through a fantastic and fascinating look at how humanity has interacted with it throughout history, from believing that the movement of the sun is the Egyptian God Ra moving across the sky, to the first sunglasses being used by Venetian gondoliers on the sunny canals.

The Sun God Apollo has been used to decorate apothecaries. c.Jody Kingzett, Science Museum

There are beautiful objects and gold aplenty in the first section of the exhibition, including sundials, clocks and an orrery showing the motion of the earth. Alas, they weren't the most reliable — we learned that many older clocks would lose circa 15 minutes a day so they would have to be reset using sundials.

It's fascinating to learn that Japan used to work to a 12 hour clock that was split into six day and night hours each, so throughout the year these hours would change in length. Our minds start to ponder how time would work in modern London with a clock like this...

This orrery is simply stunning. c.Jody Kingzett, Science Museum

One thing we weren't expecting from this show is a major section on healthcare and how the sun has been used for healing. There's a rather sad looking carriage that was used to wheel out children suffering from tuberculosis to get their dose of sunlight, a light bath for those convalescing from illness and more recently, adverts advising against overexposure to sunlight.

We get the full benefits of the sun too: there's a false beach where visitors can sit on a deckchair and listen to beach sounds through coconut speakers. It's the perfect break point given this is a massive, fact- filled show — it's worth spending well over an hour exploring this exhibition.

There's a yellow 'sun beam' dissection the galleries. c.Jody Kingzett, Science Museum

The future kicks in towards the end, with focus on solar energy, new flexible solar panels and the still-unfulfilled push to create sustainable nuclear fusion.

Families are catered for with plenty of bite sized facts throughout the show, a chance to use mirrors to direct light towards a solar generator and a camera that lets people take selfies with various historic spectacles on.

There are plenty of historic posters suggesting we escape the city for some sun... much like today. Copyright Science Museum.

There's a beautiful finish to the show with a film of the sun seen through multiple light filters, switching it from green to blue, red and orange. It's an homage to our beautiful star and this excellent exhibition is a fitting tribute.

The Sun: Living With Our Star at Science Museum is on from 6 October 2018 to 6 May 2019. Tickets are £15 for adults.

Last Updated 05 October 2018