23 Apr 2010

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Astrodome



The Astrodome Team

Today, all Yr 11 classes took turns to visit the Astrodome in the hall. They were treated to the nearly hour-long Space Show inside the huge tent, which doubled up as a planetarium.

The Astrodome has been coming to the school for many years now, and continues to delight both students and teachers, if they are lucky enough to accompany a class, or have a chance to sneak in :-) .

Thanks Astrodome team for providing such a great way to view the heavens!

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21 Apr 2010

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Dominic Oram's gravitational interaction program

*Update to Open Evening comment: Dom Oram is did his presentation on a computer simulation of gravitational bodies today… It was excellent, as we knew it would be!


video


One of great interest to young students was a program written in C++ from scratch by Dominic Oram, currently yr 13, a former GCSE astronomy student.

The program, created as part of an Extended Project scheme, modelled the gravitational interaction between stars and planets. You could change the number of stars/planets (as long as it was less than 200!), each planet’s properties, how much light the stars gave off and see the objects with reflected light.

The variables that can be changed on each planet include: spin, mass, size and colour, including the surface texture. The colourful and informative interactive program showed how these changes would affect the orbits of planets around each other. Though already very advanced, the program is still in development, and Dominic is hoping to add further improvements. For example, a simulation of the heat the star creates and so the temperature of each planet orbiting the star.

Dom working on his program

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20 Apr 2010

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Four Nebulae taken by GCSE Astronomy class

Four very beautiful nebulae taken by Uplands GCSE Astronomy students:

Sky Object Name: Trifid
Taken By: Uplands Community College
When taken: Apr 20, 2010 14:58:27 UTC
RA: 18h02'20"
DEC: -23°03'10"
Filter: H-alpha
Exposure time: 100 secs.
Instrument: EM01

The Trifid Nebula (catalogued as Messier 20 or M20 and as NGC 6514) is an H II region located in Sagittarius. Its name means 'divided into three lobes'. The object is an unusual combination of an open cluster of stars, an emission nebula (the lower, red portion), a reflection nebula (the upper, blue portion) and a dark nebula (the apparent 'gaps' within the emission nebula that cause the trifid appearance; these are also designated Barnard 85). Viewed through a small telescope, the Trifid Nebula is a bright and colorful object, and is thus a perennial favorite of amateur astronomers.


Sky Object Name: Trifid
Taken By: Uplands Community College
When taken: Apr 20, 2010 14:54:41 UTC
RA: 18h02'20"
DEC: -23°03'10"
Filter: RGB
Exposure time: 50 secs.
Instrument: EM01


Sky Object Name: Eagle
Taken By: Uplands Community College
When taken: Apr 20, 2010 14:47:31 UTC
RA: 18h18'52"
DEC: -13°49'42"
Filter: RGB
Exposure time: 50 secs.
Instrument: EM01

The Eagle Nebula (catalogued as Messier 16 or M16, and as NGC 6611) is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745-46. Its name derives from its shape which is resemblant of an eagle. It is the subject of a famous photograph by the Hubble Space Telescope, which shows pillars of star-forming gas and dust within the nebula.




Sky Object Name: Dumbbell
When taken: Apr 20, 2010 14:40:17 UTC
RA: 19h59'40"
DEC: 22°43'01"
Filter: RGB
Exposure time: 90 secs.
Instrument: EM01

The Dumbbell Nebula (also known as Messier 27, M 27, or NGC 6853) is a planetary nebula (PN) in the constellation Vulpecula, at a distance of about 1,360 light years.

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