Posted on 20 February 2014
Created by the Department of Physics, York’s Astrocampus will provide a unique venue for schoolchildren and space enthusiasts to study and enjoy our Universe.
Thanks to the appointment of a new Outreach Officer, the University is now able to offer a star-filled programme of school activities and public observing evenings, starting with a celebration of National Astronomy Week from 3 to 6 March.
Visitors will be able to take a guided tour of the night skies using the University’s Meade 14” and two 10” telescopes in its two purpose built observatories, observe the Sun safely with a solar telescope, or look into the heavens day and night with a radio telescope.
Built around the University’s Observatory, the York Astrocampus will celebrate its official opening on 17 March. After this, regular public evening openings are planned throughout the year.
And thanks to the generous anonymous donation of a portable cabin, and the support of the Shepherd Group, the Astrocampus also offers an outreach activity centre. This means that even when the stars are out of sight, University student guides will be able to take visitors on a virtual tour of the night sky using computer software and large-screen projections.
Outreach Officer Katherine Leech, from the Department of Physics, said: “The York Astrocampus already provides a fantastic resource for Physics students and members of the University’s astronomy society, Astrosoc.
“Now we are expanding our outreach work so that schoolchildren and the general public can also benefit from our fantastic equipment and facilities. Visitors to the Astrocampus will be able to experience the awe and wonder of being able to see into space and find out what is going on there. We know that with events such as the planned landing of the spacecraft Rosetta on a comet, there is a real appetite among the public to know more.”
The York Astrocampus is an evolving project. It has received support from the Science & Technology Facilities Council and YuFund, and is raising funds via crowd funding to create an even more ‘out of this world’ visitor experience. To find out more about donating visit https://yustart.hubbub.net/p/astrocampus/
To book a free ticket for one of the National Astronomy Week events from 3 to 6 March, visit yorkastronight.eventbrite.co.uk. More information on these and other events throughout the year is available at www.york.ac.uk/astrocampus
Any community group or school interested in arranging a special visit to the York Astrocampus can contact Katherine Leech on 01904 322 209 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org