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26 August 2003 1911 BST
Grap: Kids enjoy close encounter with planets at Seething
Pic: Sophie looks through one of the powerful telescopes.
Sophie has a look through one of the powerful telescopes at the Seething Observatory

This year's National Astronomy week has been timed to coincide with Mars's close encounter with Earth.

Our young reporter, Sophie, writes about the kids' astronomy event at Seething, Norfolk.

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Photo gallery of astronomy event in Seething

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Hello, my name is Sophie and I am eight years old. On Saturday, 23 August, my Grandma took me to the Seething Observatory to an event organised by the Norwich Astronomical Society. It was great.

Pic: Sophie outside the Genesis Dome at Seething
Sophie outside the Genesis Dome at Seething.
Read about Astronomy Week

I first became interested in the planets a few years ago when my aunty Laura brought me a book on the planets for Christmas.

We did a planet project at school and I have a big poster of the solar system in my room and glow in the dark stars on the ceiling!

At the event on Saturday I enjoyed the planetarium the most. We all sat down while the man talked to us, gradually the lights faded and the stars came out. It was fantastic.

I also like the telescopes. We were lucky and looked at the sun using a special lens to protect our eyes. We saw solar flares and sun spots which are bigger than earth.

A word of warning: NEVER look directly at the Sun, with or without telescopes. It is very dangerous.

We listened to Jupiter on the radio telescope, and learnt that it is the noisiest planet.

I learnt about Mars being closest to earth for 60,000 years. You should be able to see Mars in the evening sky now, but every time I look it has been cloudy.

Pic: Young girl makes a rocket
A girl makes a rocket for the competition
See the photo gallery

There were lots of activities, like colouring, word searches, pin the tail on the comet, a competition to make a rocket from card tubes, lolly sticks, paper and things like that. I liked my rocket, but didn't win.

There was a lot to do, watch and listen to. I learnt so much at the event about our planets and the sun. It was a really cool day.

Now I think I would like a bigger telescope than the one I have. I can only see to the end of our garden!

Photo gallery: See the photo gallery of the astronomy event in Seething»


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