In January, the Academic Scholars visited the University of York’s observatory, which is part of the 'Astrocampus' created by the Department of Physics. From infrared cameras to telescopes, astronomy binoculars, and more, read Millie’s write-up about this fascinating trip.
"On Thursday 19th January, the Academic Scholars were given the opportunity to visit York University’s observatory on their Astrocampus. We wrapped up warmly in numerous coats, scarves, and fluffy hats before heading out on the minibus at 6 pm.
Our first stop was the classroom. We got to see a display of how different materials affect infrared cameras in regard to our body heat, and then we learnt about how the primary and secondary mirrors of a space telescope work and how they reflect different types of light in order to capture images of star systems, gas clouds, and more.
From there we split off into smaller two groups. Our group first went outside where we could use astronomy binoculars to look at Jupiter. There was a model of the moon available for us to look at, allowing us to discuss why certain sides have more craters than others and the reason why we only ever see one side. We were also given the opportunity to hold a meteorite, and upon discovering its magnetic properties we fittingly named it ‘Maggie’.
After this, we were given the opportunity to go up into one of the towers. The lightweight dome, we discovered, floated on a solution made up of water and antifreeze which is what allowed it to rotate with ease. The telescope within the tower was angled towards Jupiter, and we were allowed to take a look at the planet alongside 3 of its moons. After this, we also got the chance to view Orion’s belt through the telescope, and the stars around it.
Despite the nipping cold, we all found the experience to be fascinating and a great learning experience. Thank you very much to York University Astrocampus for allowing us to attend, and many thanks to Mr Grant and Ms Thomas for taking the time to organise and take us to the event."