Students at Red Maids’ School will soon have the opportunity to observe the universe more closely thanks to £10,000 funding for an observatory complete with computerised optical telescope and weather station.
The project builds on the success of the HiSparc project where students have been working with university academics and students from all over the world to study high-energy cosmic rays, which are believed to influence weather patterns.
“We always encourage students to aim high,” said Zino Dif, head of physics. “These new facilities will support teaching in engineering and science, well beyond the exam syllabuses and help encourage more young women into science, technology, engineering and maths careers.
“The new observatory will challenge the girls to look further into the origins of cosmic rays using data from the HiSparc detectors. With information from the weather station, girls will be able to find out more about the climate and how the rate of cosmic showers is affected by changes in atmospheric pressure, humidity and temperature.”
The observatory and weather station will be funded with £5000 from the Barry Theo Jones Trust and £3000 from the Friends of Red Maids’, with the remaining amount from a parent and the school’s science department. It will be constructed within the school grounds over the summer term.