Shrewsbury School

Astronomy

With Old Salopian Lord Rees of Ludlow (S 1956-60) having been Astronomer Royal since 1995, it is reassuring that Astronomy is thriving at the Schools.

Academically, the subject has been a GCSE option since 2007, with more than 50 students graduating so far.  Each GCSE student is issued with a pair of astronomical binoculars, which they use for the practical aspect of their studies, but the opportunity to make astronomical observations is available to all members of the School and not restricted to 7 x 50 binoculars!

The Astronomical Society holds frequent meets throughout the year; and the biggest recent highlight was the partial solar eclipse of 20th March 2015, when some 200 Salopians could be found perusing the crescent Sun through one or more of the ten or so different observing stations set up by the Society in the Moser Quad.

We also make annual trips to the Spaceguard Centre in Powys, the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, the National Space Centre in Leicester and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

The most publicly obvious astronomical hardware is the dome on top of the Craig Building, but we have an number of large aperture telescopes, both reflecting and refracting, and some especially designed for solar observations, as well as some large aperture tripod-based binoculars available for all to use. 

While observing conditions at school are good enough for solar, lunar and planetary observations, much darker skies are to be found only a few miles away, so deep-sky observing tends to take place off site. We are fortunate indeed to be able to get out of a minibus after 15 minutes' drive and see not only the Milky Way in impressive detail, but galaxies, clusters and nebulae, even with the naked eye.

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