Monday, 6 July 2015

GCSE Astronomers visit the Royal Observatory

On 16th April astronomy students from the Space Studio visited the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. During the day the students had the opportunity to tour the historic site and see a number of famous instruments including the Great Equatorial Telescope and a section of William Hershel's Great Forty Foot reflecting telescope. The remaining section is 10 feet long and has a primary mirror that is 47 inches in diameter. William Herschel is famous for his discovery of Uranus in 1781!

SSB students gathered in front of a section of William Herschel's famous forty foot telescope. 
A panoramic view of the Great Equatorial Telescope taken by Myles Thompson. The telescope tube is over 28 feet long!

In addition to their tour of the observatory and grounds the students also had the opportunity to take part in a workshop about the detection of exoplanets. Exoplanets are planets orbiting stars other than our Sun and many have been found so far using the transit method. This method involves searching for the tiny reduction in light intensity detected from a star when a planet passes in front of it. The students used foam balls to represent exoplanets and a torch to represent the parent star. They were then able to use light meters and data loggers to collect and analyse their results.

The reduction in brightness that occurs when an exoplanet passes in front of its parent star can clearly be seen on this read out.

Before leaving for the day there was time for a planetarium show, a visit to the meridian line and a quick photo with Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space!
Saffron, Myles and Bryony at the Yuri Gagarin statue. 

No comments:

Post a Comment