Our Y7 boys have been making trips to the school’s observatory and planetarium this term as part of their current topic on Earth and Space. The boys who visited earlier this week were treated to some spectacular sights, including a fly-over from the International Space Station (ISS) which is currently manned by six people, as well as seeing Saturn and its rings low in the sky, using the large telescope in the observatory.

Mr Guise (our very own Astronomer in Residence), Mrs Guise and Mr Stone enriched the sessions with their huge amount of knowledge and experience at finding the various objects in the sky. There were several highlights, such as getting some wonderful photos of the moon (taken by Mrs Christian on an iPhone through the telescope), seeing Venus, Vega (a very bright bluish-white star), Albireo (a double star), the Seven Sisters and the Double Cluster.

“A personal highlight was seeing the Andromeda Galaxy (the Milky Way’s closest neighbour), which looked like a faint white smudge. The boys loved the fact that the photons of light entering their eyes had travelled from Andromeda for 2.5 million years, meaning we see it as it looked 2.5 million years ago!“

Mrs Christian

These are the distances from Earth of all of the objects that the boys saw:

  • ISS 400km
  • Moon 400,635km
  • Venus 213.3 million km
  • Saturn 1616.5 million km
  • Vega 26ly
  • Albireo 430ly
  • Seven Sisters 440ly
  • Double Cluster 7600ly
  • Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million ly

Note: a light-year (ly) is, in fact, a distance – the distance that light would travel in a year.

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