Dancing with the Stars!

Not quite, but Year 10 GCSE Astronomy pupils had the opportunity to learn from ‘star’ astronomer, Barry Loane, at the recent residential weekend at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.  Mr Loane is an expert astronomer and member of the Irish Astronomical Association.  The Year 10 girls enjoyed learning about observing the night sky and the different constellations appearing over the next few months.  Erin Brown commented…“the Astronomy weekend was very enjoyable!  My favourite thing during our time at Cultra was drawing some constellations and finding out the background of some stars”.  As part of their Controlled Assessment, each GCSE Astronomy student must draw three constellations over a series of months, noting the colour and magnitude of the main stars in the constellation.  Nicole Duncan found the session very helpful… “It was great fun and really helped with my Controlled Assessment!”

“The Astronomy weekend at the Folk Museum was a really great chance to get to know our teachers and fellow astronomers.  It really helped me to understand what we’re learning about and how to carry out our work, because before the weekend I was finding it difficult to understand a lot of the work.  Overall I had a really great time!” – Meghan Minnis

We are very grateful to Mr Loane for giving up his Friday night to share his experience with us, and for arranging such clear skies after his talk so that the girls could go outside and actually observe the stars they had learned about!

“The Astronomy residential has really opened my eyes to the intricacy of the night sky.  Before it I was really struggling but after the residential I now enjoy and more importantly, understand the information – must for all future astronomers!” – Jasmine McDermott

An interesting time was had trying to draw the various star patterns in the darkness of the Folk Museum grounds – a very worthwhile experience, if only in learning how not to do it!

“I really enjoyed the weekend and it helped me to understand constellations much better; I found it very interesting” – Rachel McLean.

The girls worked hard over the whole weekend, but were able to exercise their muscles as well as their minds when Mr Dorman and Mr Barr appeared on Saturday afternoon to play some energy-releasing games.

E Edwards

Astronomer Barry Loane with the telescope he helped GCSE Astronomy pupils build as part of the BBC ‘Stargazing Live’ event.

Astronomer Barry Loane with the telescope he helped GCSE Astronomy pupils build as part of the BBC ‘Stargazing Live’ event.