Portsmouth school pupils star in astronomy show

Forest School Leaders Dawn White and Sue Evans with their pupils outside the school

Picture: Habibur Rahman (180146-338)

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PORTSMOUTH Grammar School students will be the stars of a popular astronomy TV show this Sunday.

Eleven to 16-year-olds have been filmed exploring outer space in their physics lessons to highlight how people can get involved in ‘citizen astronomy’ and contribute to professional research, for The Sky at Night on BBC1.

Year 7 boys and girls were recorded showing how to measure the speed of asteroids using images from the Liverpool telescope – a resource that is available to all students through the National Schools’ Observatory scheme.

And Year 10 students were recorded calculating the height of mountains on the moon by measuring the length of their shadows on a jigsaw of telescope images taken at half moon.

This is a technique pioneered by Sir Patrick Moore to produce maps of the moon for NASA to determine the first moon landing sites.

Jeremy Thomas, the school’s acting head of physics, said: ‘We were honoured and very excited to be part of such a legendary television series and to be able to demonstrate the fascination of astronomy.

‘Some pupils were quite nervous and needed a few “takes” and others were natural stars. Everyone enjoyed the experience.’

The 40 minute show is due to be screened at 11.35pm.

This is not the first time school’s pupils have featured on an astronomy show.

Earlier this year, sixth form science ambassadors wre filmed for BBC2’s Stargazing Live event at the Spinnaker Tower.