Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
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23 January 2012 | PR 12/7

University observatory filled with local star gazing visitors


Loughborough University invited local school pupils and their parents to visit the campus observatory on Thursday 19 January for a special stargazing event.

Coinciding with the BBC Stargazing week, the observatory visit was part of a local event organised by De Lisle Catholic Science College and Garendon High School, and supported by staff from the University’s Department of Physics and Student Outreach and Recruitment (SOAR).

The event saw various scientists and university lecturers share their knowledge about stargazing and the wonders of the universe. Staff from the Physics department took visitors in small groups to the observatory, where they were able to use the telescope and find out more about the technology the University utilises to explore outer space. 

Set up three years ago, the observatory is an excellent practical teaching aid for undergraduates studying astrophysics and astronomy. It is fitted with a reflecting and solar telescope that allows students to find and develop clear images of various objects in the sky, including the moon, the sun and its sun spot activity, planets and star clusters.

Over 50 people visited the observatory throughout the evening. Led by Mike Pierpoint, Phil Sutton and Bryan Dennis from the Department of Physics, they were able to gain a key insight into stargazing and high-tech observatory equipment.

Department of Physics superintendent Bryan Dennis said: “The stargazing night was a great success; it was wonderful to see so many excited and enthusiastic visitors of all ages having the opportunity to explore the observatory.

“We hope the experience has given them the incentive to take an interest in cosmology and to carry on stargazing in the future.” 

Highlights for those taking part included the chance to see Jupiter and four of its moons, as well as the Orion Nebula.

Nicole Gibson, Technical Manager at the De Lisle Catholic Science College was very pleased with event’s success.  She said: “Feedback from visitors was very positive and they loved being given the opportunity to visit the observatory.

“It’s especially pleasing to see that both young and older people have an interest in astronomy and that they enjoyed both the practical aspect observing the night sky, and learning about the subject further by attending the talks that were held throughout the evening.”

Professor Steve Fletcher from the Department of Chemistry also gave a talk at the school as part of the event.


For all media enquiries contact:

Jarrah Webster
Public Relations Office
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228658
E: J.E.M.Webster@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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This page was last updated on Monday January 23, 2012 12:49