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Dusty doughnut - Serena Viti

Dusty doughnut around massive black hole spied for first time

A team of astronomers, including UCL's Prof. Serena Viti imaged for the first time one of the doughnuts of dust long thought to encircle some supermassive black holes. These supermassive black holes are believed to be obscured by a doughnut-shaped structure of dust and gas, called a “torus.” However because the centres of these active galaxies are so distant, a dusty torus has never been seen – until now! More...

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Hidden in the archives: Finding the first-ever evidence of exoplanetary system

You never know what hidden treasures can be uncovered in the archives.  And this was certainly the case at Carnegie Observatories’ collection when research for an article led to the unexpected discovery of a 1917 glass plate showing the first-ever evidence of a planetary system beyond our own Sun. More...

RAS Awards

Two UCL astrophysicists win Royal Astronomical Society awards

Two UCL astrophysicists, Dr Andrew Pontzen and the late Professor Bruce Swinyard (UCL Physics & Astronomy), have been recognised in this year’s Royal Astronomical Society awards. The announcements were made at the Ordinary Meeting of the society held on Friday 8 January 2016. The awards will be made formally at the Society's 2016 National Astronomy Meeting in June. More...

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Astronomers find hottest and most massive touching double star

A team of astronomers including UCL's Ian Howarth have found the hottest and most massive double star with components so close that they touch each other.
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Astronomy in the Classroom

This is an ongoing outreach programme based at the University College London Observatory and funded by small awards from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

School groups (daytime) tour the installations and get a short lecture followed by some discussion. Weather permitting, telescopes are used to observe the Sun in white light and in
H-alpha, a special filter to observe spectacular prominences and flares. Sometimes it is possible to observe the planet Venus.

Looking at the Sun
Observatory IT manager Theo Schlichter assists school children observing the Sun through a narrow band hydrogen filter.

We also visit schools to give lectures and demonstrations to large groups and offering the children an opportunity to observe the Sun with a portable H-alpha solar telescope (STFC funded).

Look at the Sun
Francisco Diego uses the portable H-alpha telescope during a school visit.


So far the programme has been attended by around 15,000 school children and teachers. Our current target is for 300 children visiting the observatory and 2500 children at visiting lectures every year.

Looking at the Sun
Large groups at the observatory using the portable H-alpha telescope.

Page last modified on 19 apr 16 10:42