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An ambitious European mission is being planned to answer fundamental questions about how planetary systems form and evolve. ARIEL will investigate the atmospheres of several hundreds planets orbiting distant stars. It is one of three candidate missions selected last month by the European Space Agency (ESA) for its next medium class science mission, due for launch in 2026. The ARIEL mission concept has been developed by a consortium of more than 50 institutes from 12 countries, including UK, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal. The mission will be presented today at the Pathways 2015 conference in Bern, Switzerland, by ARIEL’s Principal Investigator, Prof Giovanna Tinetti of UCL. More...
New maps from ESA's Planck satellite, forming the second major data release (February 2015) from the project, have unveiled the polarised light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought. More...
Astronomy in the Classroom
This is an ongoing outreach programme based at the University of 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.
|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).
|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.
|Large groups at the observatory using the portable H-alpha telescope.|
Page last modified on 02 aug 13 13:47