On Friday 19th January, a group of year 10 and 12 students, accompanied by Mr Mumford and Miss Martin, travelled to Hothersall Lodge, Longridge, to participate in a residential astronomy masterclass at the nearby Alston Hall Observatory. On arrival we met students from Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Morecambe High School, before travelling to the observatory, where we took part in a wide range of space-related activities in a relaxed and friendly environment. Led by Mark Norris of UCLAN, we listened to a complex but enthralling whistle-stop tour in and out of our solar system, before heading outside to experience astronomy first-hand. We were able to catch sight of impressive views of Andromeda and the Orion Nebula. Before returning to the lodge for the night, we had another tour of our solar system under the planetarium.
The next day we had plenty of time to socialise with the other schools before presenting our 5-minute presentation to a panel of year 12 students as part of a small competition. This presentation had been the result of 4 weeks of work in and out of school, and as a culmination of all our hard work and contribution, we won first place.
Before we left, we listened to another interesting space-related talk, this time taken by a PhD student, studying Astrophysics at UCLAN. Our final activity was a concluding space-themed quiz.
The trip was an amazing experience for us, whether we embark on a career in Astrophysics or not. It provided us with a chance to get out of the classroom, meet new people, make new friends and work and learn together.