Year 10 GCSE Astronomy Trip to London, May 2013

At the end of May 2013 the Year 10 GCSE Astronomy group ended off a stellar year by visiting London on the ‘Prime Meridian’ Tour.

After catching an early flight on Thursday morning the girls attended a lecture on Space Weather by Professor Schwartz from the Space and Plasma Physics Department of Imperial College, London.  The girls all enjoyed the talk, especially the explanation of why the aurora happens, which was part of their astronomy course this year.  A five-minute walk then took us to the Science Museum, where we had a brilliant Hubble-eye view of the cosmos during an excellent 3-D IMAX film.  Since Dr Larmour was one of the group we had to visit the Natural History Museum to pay homage to Darwin and Wallace, the Biology greats!

Friday morning saw the astronomy group up bright and early for a trip to Greenwich and the famous ‘Prime Meridian of the World’.   Staff at the Royal Observatory Greenwich were very helpful and made sure the girls got the best seats during the Planetarium show ‘the Sky tonight’.   It was Emma Dow’s birthday that day and instead of wishing her a happy birthday, our ‘guide’ instead asked her lots of astronomy questions during the 30 minute session!  Thankfully she rose to the challenge, as did the other Year 10 astronomers; I only wished we had had this ‘revision’ session before the examination instead of afterwards!  We all really enjoyed being at Greenwich and it would have been good to have been able to spend more time there in the Astronomy Halls.  Next time, perhaps…..

The trip was rounded off by a sail down the Thames to the London Eye, where the girls enjoyed a close-up view of a (successful) proposal of marriage!  We did hit the shops for some retail therapy on Saturday morning before catching our flight home.  Both Dr Larmour and I commented on how great the Y10 girls had been during the trip, we could not have asked for better company!  It was a good way to end our ’pilot’ of a very special astronomical year.

Mrs Milligan


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