This week has been extremely busy and fun for us. We have just completed our first week long virtual Nebula Astro Camp for 10-12 year olds! It was a great success and proved to be a great opportunity for our Astro Campers to learn plenty about astrophysics. It was amazing to be able to share our passion and hopefully inspire future astrophysicists.
On the menu for our campers everyday we had:
A guest speaker to talk about their area of research and answer any questions the astro Campers had
Guided tours of different observatories around Ireland including Dunsink, Armagh and I-LOFAR and virtual tours of cool places like Newgrange
A fun and interactive activity relating to the astro topic of the day
Our campers got to speak with researchers studying topics ranging from solar physics to black holes and even astrobiology! We hope to have given our campers a glimpse into astrophysics and the vastly varying fields within astrophysics that one can choose to study.
We were absolutely amazed at the excitement and knowledge that the children brought to the camp, each and every one of them avid space enthusiasts! The Astro Campers are now well geared for becoming future researchers having made their very own spectroscopes:
DIY Spectroscope made by campers
This allowed them to see what kind of instruments our solar physicists use to study our Sun!
Inside of spectroscope
But that’s just scratching the surface of what was learnt, after receiving a talk reviewing the physics of the universe from the largest of scales to the smallest of scales, our campers discovered the difference in the size of planets and their distances from one another.
Model Solar System Planets
Our Astro Campers were absolutely captivated by the talk given by Josh Mathews about his research on black holes, they impressed us with their knowledge of the topic and asked so many great questions, touching on things that researchers don’t know the answer to yet!
Talk given about black holes by Josh Mathews
On our final day today our Astro Campers learnt about the use of origami for the launch of various telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope and cool new projects NASA is working on such as Starshade which uses origami to conveniently pack massive instruments into the limited space compartments of rockets. Our Astro Campers then got to try out some origami themselves by making spacecraft out of paper and were given a model to build their own Starshade at home!
Our origami spacecraft and Starshade
Overall we had a ball at our Nebula Astro Camp!
We’re really looking forward to our next one, the Red Giant Astro Camp for Junior Cert students (ages 13-15) which will be an upgraded, more advanced Astro Camp for teenagers interested in all things space. If you know anyone that might like to take part, let them know about it and sign up here https://lofar.ie/astrocamps/