Yorkshire Astronomy...The dawn!!

Updated: Nov 19, 2018


Physics is the only hope for humanity!!!! This is the rhetoric I'm planning on using on funding applications anyway.

I believe physics and astrophysics is such an incredible subject, is there anything that attempts to explain our lives and all the things we see, and astrophysics optimises this. As Children we all looked up at the sky picking out shapes that the stars made attempting to decipher how on Earth Orion looks like a hunter but identifying it from the belt! Even now we look up at the sky and the shapes are still familiar giving us that connection to our past. We only have to look a little deeper and a whole wealth of objects stares back at us, unfortunately this is where things get tricky, unless you have money or are near to an observatory its difficult, but no fear!

This is the purpose of Yorkshire Astronomy, a group that aims to inspire and excite students about physic and particularly astrophysics and astronomy....Yorkshire Astronomy!!

I have taught physics for ten years and been a keen amateur astronomer for even longer and what has staggered me is the amount of students who say they don't want to take physics at A Level and beyond because they haven't enjoyed it or found it boring! This is a travesty, we must do something about this!

There are observatories and they are fantastic places, the astronomers are really helpful and the equipment allows you to see such distant objects that make the hairs on the back of our necks stand up, planets, stars, galaxies and nebulae all become visable, but the chance of people experiencing this is small and by the time they come to take their choices at A Level physics and astrophysics doesn't even get a mention! This is where Yorkshire astronomy will come in! We want to take the observatories to the students, visiting schools and communities bringing equipment and inspiration to the with the aim of encouraging the uptake of physics and astrophysics.

So much is my love for the dark part of the day we are hosting events across Yorkshire on Friday and Saturday nights bringing our scopes to locations giving people the opportunity they may never have, to look at the wonders of our universe, a unique sight that unites the entire globe no matter what age, sex or race, to stare at the object that the next astrophysicist will be using to explain the universe and its creation.

The moment I caught the bug was with my first look at the sky, hunting satellites, stars seeming to wonder across the sky then disappear, looking at any star that appeared slightly off white imagining it to be a planet, and those cold winter morning when your greeted by a brilliantly bright Venus low on the horizon. They’re all up there as the inspirational moments but my favourite sight(s) are…

1. the moons of Jupiter, the fact you can see them with binoculars or any size scope and share a view with Galileo is incredible! i remember the first time i saw them, looking at Jupiter through a homemade Newtonian,

I could see Jupiter, make out some banding but also four stars in a perfect line, the epiphany moment, stood the hairs on my neck, actual moons orbiting another planet, lost.for.words.

2. second on the list is the moon, classic if a little cliché, I love the Tycho crater and the definition of the craters on the terminator (where the dark and light meet!) but my favourite moon is during the day, if ever I felt a connection to a film its then, the death star as it hove into view above some plant its about to smoke!

3. number three, the Andromeda Galaxy a member of our local group. i love it as its on a slight angle you get such an amazing view of its structure but i love it more for the fact its [art of our space, I thought the Milky Way was on its own floating through the nothingness of space but we are part of a local group of galaxies including Andromeda, it’s that connection what draws me back to it!

One of our local neighbours

To see these objects is an awe inspiring moment, and its these moments I want to share, but once you see them you want to see more and explain more and, and, and, and, you’re hooked! More of our girls and boys need to study physics it helps us to explain the natural world and universe around us to preserve and appreciate it by not living in ignorance to it. Physics is creativity, it cannot be explained soley by a text book it’s too mesmerising but it first must be experianced.

Follow u on twitter for more updates and pictures on @astroyorkshire

See whats going on near you on the Events tab and enquire about one of our Astroweekends and prepare to be inspired!!

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