After almost two long years of waiting, the Barnaby Festival is finally swinging into orbit, with just three months to go until the big event.

Barnaby has been running every year since 2009 when a group was set up with the aim to host a festival arts and culture, until 2014 when it was decided the event would run biennially.

To coincide with this year’s theme of ‘Space’ a series of five science-specific activities, known as ‘Missions’, have been organised for visitors to explore throughout the duration of Barnaby.

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Karl Wallace, director of Barnaby, said: “Barnaby is delighted to have expanded its science programme this year with a grant from the Science Technology Facilities Council to fit with our theme of space.

“There will be a chance for budding scientists of any age to get involved in experiments, see lectures and meet scientists. We will have solar gazing from Macc Astro and a chance to request images from 17 remote telescopes around the globe that are in darkness while Macclesfield is in daylight.

“We also have three very special guests making an appearance, yet to be revealed – possibly human or possibly extra terrestrial – so we are really delighted that the people of Macc will get a chance to meet them. We are keeping it under our hat for now but keep checking our website in the run up to the festival.”

Timed to coincide with astronaut Tim Peake’s return from Space, ‘Mission One’ will see year six pupils from Macclesfield primary schools launch a weather balloon into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, equipped with capsule containing HD video cameras and GPS transmitters.

‘Mission Two – Deep Space and Solar Lab’, will be a drop-in weekend with members of Macclesfield Astronomical Society.

Visitors will have access to 17 remote telescopes so they can seek out their favourite constellations, discover the Planeterella, and learn how the Aurora Borealis works.

‘Mission Three – Space Challenge’, is a competition run by Macclesfield College where teams are invited to take part in a series of space-themed challenges, and a giant inflatable planetarium will be erected in the grounds of Christ Church to show a 360 degree star show for ‘Mission Four’.

Christ Church Lawns will host two days of hands-on workshops and demonstrations aimed families for ‘Mission Five’.

Activities will include edible comet making, crater building, live experiments and demonstrations, iPad space simulations, games and chance to design a constellation.

Barnaby runs from June 17 until 26. All the missions are free, with a small charge for the planetarium.

If you’d like to take part in any of the events, or volunteer to help out, email mail@barnabyfestival.org.uk, or go to barnabyfestival.org.uk .