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NAGTY 2007

On 14th August, the facilities at UCLO were used by the NAGTY (National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth) Astrophysics Summer School 2007. This is a two-week residential course for 11-16 year-olds, based at Imperial College London, and led by Dr Adam Burnley. The theme of this year's summer school was the Sun, covering everything from solar activity and the solar cycle through to solar evolution.

After a tour of UCLO, the students embarked upon a day of activities. Unfortunately, the truly dreadful weather made solar observing impossible; however, everyone had chance to see a demonstration of the workings of the Radcliffe telescope, and to examine, close up, one of the Meade telescopes. The students also undertook a computer-based experiment to determine the rotation period of the Sun using sunspot data. In addition, there was the opportunity to study a number of Mount Palomar Sky Survey prints, searching for objects such as interstellar dust clouds and planetary nebulae.

This was the first visit to an astronomical observatory for most of the seventeen participants. Despite the awful weather, the event was a huge success, with everyone getting an incredible amount from their day at UCLO.

UCLO demonstrators Rosie Willatt and Matt Austin introduced the students to the telescopes and helped them using the astronomical software.