An Evening in the Natural History Museum

On the last Friday of each month the Natural History Museum hosts its ‘Lates’ event. These events run from 18:00 until 22:00 and not only allow you to explore the museum in the evening with a glass of wine or a bottle of beer but have events on with a particular theme. This month the Blue Planet II team were on hand to give talks and run ‘science stations’ where they explored some of the aspects of the series in more detail.

Unsurprisingly, it was busy.

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Queuing on Exhibition Road – this queue goes around to the front of the museum!, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

The science stations proved popular as did the talks which were booked out all evening.

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Science station in the Red Zone, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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Tiger shark jaw and baleen on display, Hintze Hall Science Station, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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Examining coral, Blue Zone Science Station, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

But in a building the size of the Natural History Museum it was easy enough to find quieter spots to escape the crowds and wander the exhibits with a nice bottle of beer.

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The ever popular large mammal hall, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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Up above the crowds, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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Some of the crowd anyway, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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Exploring the galleries, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

The building really is stunning at night and there’s something special about exploring the exhibits after dark – while still busy everyone is happily meandering about creating a very pleasant atmosphere.

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The blue whale skeleton still dominates Hintze Hall, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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Hintze Hall, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

A new exhibit for me was the minerals exhibit and the Vault. These rooms are jam-packed with more samples of rocks, minerals and crystals than I knew existed and, after working your way past the massive collection, you find the Vault. The appropriately named Vault contains the rarest and most prized items in the collection and held within were samples of beautiful crystals, huge cut gems and something I certainly wasn’t expecting..

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The minerals exhibit, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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A crystal of platinum among other rare crystals, The Vault, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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A chunk of Martian rock, No it isn’t red, The Vault, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

Now I was excited about the moon rock in the Science Museum but the Natural History Museum have a chunk of rock that originated on Mars! (I know it didn’t actually start life on Mars but it spent quite a long time as part of the surface which will do for me)

So how did a rock from the surface of Mars end up on display in London?

This rock fell to Earth as a meteorite on 18th July 2011. So the question then is what was a fragment of the Martian surface doing in space? The answer to this is actually another meteorite – this time striking Mars. The gravitational pull of Mars is around 1/3rd that of Earth so it’s easier for fragments of rock to be launched into space – still, the initial meteorite would have to be a damned sight bigger than the 1.1kg specimen above to cause an impact large enough to eject material from the surface of Mars in to space!

Could you tell I photographed the information panel this time?

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It wouldn’t be the NHM without dinosaurs, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

Having wandered the halls and visited the science stations, and seeing as it was gone 21:00 already, it was time to head home. I think this may be the first of many ‘Lates’ I attend with the second hopefully being next weeks ‘Late’ at the Science Museum on Wednesday.

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Human Evolution Exhibit, Natural History Museum, 26/01/2018

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Heading home, South Kensington Tube Station, 26/01/2018

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Happy Little Handrail, The London Underground, 26/01/2018

See you on Wednesday!

Doug

 

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