Woldingham astronomers and physicists set their sights high on observatory visit

Woldingham astronomers and physicists set their sights high on observatory visit

24 January 2023

Members of Woldingham’s Physics Society and Year 10 students studying GCSE astronomy (read more about this below) are spending an evening at the nearby Norman Fisher Observatory on one of three consecutive Wednesdays for a lecture on astrophysics and the chance to see the observatory’s telescope in action.

The weather played ball for the first trip on Wednesday 18 January, as Physics Society member Linda describes.

Linda L, Lower Sixth

Our visit was a truly enlightening experience as knowledgeable and passionate members of Croydon Astronomical Society shared their expertise with us. They took us through the basics of celestial mechanics and astronomy, and it was amazing to see how these theories come together to explain how our universe operates.

One of the trip's highlights was observing distant galaxies, stars, and nebulae up close using the observatory’s telescope. Seeing the vastness of space and the intricate details of celestial bodies was awe-inspiring. The clarity and precision of the telescope allowed us to see things invisible to the naked eye. It was a humbling reminder of how small we are compared to the universe.

It was also an excellent opportunity to bond with our friends and teachers. My favourite moment was when we were all adjusting to our night vision using red light as we trailed along the dark lane leading to the observatory.

In awe of the night sky, I reflected on how few times I had seen the stars so clearly. Raised in Shanghai, I was surrounded by a bright city with lots of light pollution. So, the trip was a chance for me to connect with the natural world and understand its complexity in a deeper and more meaningful way.

GCSE astronomy

GCSE astronomy was introduced at Woldingham in September 2022 and is led by Mr Haslewood (pictured in gallery below with Year 10 astronomy students), who explains more about the course below. Any students wanting to know more are encouraged to speak to Mr Haslewood.

Mr William Haslewood, Teacher of Physics

GCSE Astronomy is designed for Year 10 students who are interested in learning about the universe and our place in it. The course covers a wide range of topics, including the solar system, stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Students learn about the latest astronomical discoveries and theories, as well as develop their scientific skills through practical observations and data analysis. The course also provides opportunities to use telescopes and other astronomical equipment, and to participate in field trips and visits to astronomical observatories. Overall, GCSE Astronomy is an exciting and challenging opportunity for students to explore the wonders of the universe and deepen their understanding of science.

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