The University of Sussex held its annual ‘Stargazing’ event recently and a group of Longhill students were lucky enough to spend the day there enjoying an outing to the stars, amongst other exciting activities. The event, hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, showed students that a physicist’s job is to understand nature from the largest to the smallest possible scale; they looked deep inside the structure of an atom as well as observing the entire universe – quite a lot to take in on a day out!
Year 8 student, Leah Barry, told us about her day: “We were welcomed to the university and were taken to the 500-seater Jubilee auditorium where we learnt what we would be doing during the visit. First we went to a big lecture room to learn about atoms and we created different ones out of Lego; we created hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and lots of other different atoms. Then we had a session where we looked at lights through special glasses; the lights had different chemicals in them and different colours. From this we had to guess what the gases were. If you guessed correctly, you were given the magic glasses.
We were given a tour of the university and shown what’s there and where things are. It seems like a cool place – the university library is shaped like a book!
After lunch we went into the blow-up planetarium, which was an inflatable dome – really cool. Projectors projected lights onto the ceiling of the dome; it was a light show with a stargazing theme about what is an astronaut and to get people to get involved in stargazing. We saw stars and planets on the ceiling – the whole galaxy – and we could identify different stars and galaxies. We also did research on planets; apparently we have another planet in our solar system (well just outside it) and we learnt that around each star there are other planets, which was pretty cool.
My favourite bit was the planetarium. You could sit or lie down – I lay down and it was like really being there among the stars – so cool. I’d recommend that kind of trip to anyone.”
Thanks to Leah for her interesting report – we’re glad you enjoyed your day!