The programme has run successfully for a number of years, exciting young minds about the challenges and rewards of a career in Astrophysics and space sciences at UCL, and reaching audiences of over 2000 pupils annually. Enquiries both for schools visits to the Observatory and for lectures delivered at schools can be made by contacting the Observatory.
Dr Francisco Diego is a Senior Research Fellow in the UCL Astrophysics Group with decades of experience in astronomy outreach and delivery of astronomy talks in schools (KS2 to A-levels) as well as teaching the Certificate class at the UCL Observatory. Dr. Diego who is very active in astrophotography and travels often to sites of particular astronomical events is still involved in the School visits at the Observatory occasionally and often visits schools throughout the entire London area to deliver astronomy talks.
Dates are now available from the 22nd of February 2017.
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For bookings and other enquiries, contact Mrs Kay Nakum (email@example.com; 020 3549 5807).
School groups of 15–30 students visiting the observatory have a unique opportunity to explore and discover the world of the oldest of sciences, and to have a direct experience of a working professional Observatory, as they would do if they join UCL as undergraduate students in an astronomy-related degree. A typical visit programme is as follows:
A-level students visit the dome of the Radcliffe refracting telescope.
Visiting lectures to schools have proven very popular too. Usually the audiences are between 100 and 200 pupils (several classes together). The sessions are highly interactive, mainly driven by a torrent of relevant questions about space, life in the universe and black holes.
The lectures include colourful views from powerpoint presentations, with topics including:
There are also important links to related areas in the National Curriculum, like properties of materials, light, forces, chemistry and biology. The lectures can take place in a typical school classroom or even better in the assembly hall. A typical lecture will consist of an interactive presentation (around one hour) with practical demonstrations in which the children are welcome to participate.
Weather permitting, students will be able to observe the sun in the light of the red hydrogen line, using a specialised portable solar telescope (funded by a grant from PPARC).
Hydrogen image of the sun showing a few giant prominences on the edge as seen by school children with the portable telescope. The earth is shown to give a sense of scale.
In all cases, teachers get a pack with posters, graphic material, wall charts, and a video on solar eclipses co-produced by Dr Diego at UCL.
KS 4 pupils use the portable hydrogen telescope to look at prominences on the sun.
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