Physics trip to the Royal Observatory

Published on 27 January 2016

Physics trip to the Royal Observatory

On 18th December, the A2 Physics class visited the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. The historic location - built in 1675 - is situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, providing a great view of the capital, and it has played a major role in astronomy and navigation, also being the location of the prime meridian (0 degrees longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.

The students enjoyed an interactive workshop given by one of the astronomers, involving discussions of the composition of stars like our Sun and the size of the Universe. After lunch in the café, the group were treated to a tour of the cosmos in the Peter Harrison Planetarium, London’s only planetarium, and were blown away by the incredible galaxies and nebulae projected on the huge screen. After this great experience, the students saw stunning images of space taken by both amateur and professional astronomers all around the world, which had been submitted to the Insight Astronomy Photography of the Year competition.

As well as taking a selfie on the prime meridian line, the class also had the opportunity to touch a 4.5 billion year old meteorite, an object as old as the Earth and our Sun. It was part of the Gibeon Meteorite, falling to our planet in its early stages of formation, and used by ancient tribes to make tools and weapons. After a quick browse of the observatory gift shop, the Year 13s departed after a fascinating day and an interesting insight into astronomy and the Universe, with many now considering a career in this exciting field of physics.

Harvey Kemp

Year 13 Student