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Students reach for the stars

24 May 2016

CCD imaging equipment in use The NTU observatory has been improved thanks to Alumni Fund money. CCD imaging equipment will ensure high quality images of astronomical objects in several filter bands. It will follow in the footsteps of striking images generated by Hubble over the past 25 years to convey astronomy knowledge and interest through imagery. In addition, imaging equipment has been upgraded to allow to further develop NTU’s exoplanet projects - one of the most popular final year projects. The equipment will also lead towards exploring adaptive optics as an example of modern astronomical imaging.

The NTU observatory and especially the imaging equipment are an integral part of astrophysics and physics teaching and supports more than five final year projects per year which rely heavily upon imaging. The images captured by the observatory are also used to support ongoing first year astronomy teaching delivered to all physics students. The striking images inspire and create an increased motivation to be involved in astronomy for many students each year. The imaging facilities are also used by secondary science trainee teachers as well as generating an outstanding image gallery creating an exciting outward facing representation of the observatory.

The modern and high quality equipment will ensure that astronomy imagery can be gathered and displayed generating a long lasting visual impact upon the awe and wonder generated by such images. It has already been acknowledged how astronomy images, especially gathered by Hubble, convey the beauty of our Universe and in many cases make us think about our place in the cosmos.

Two lucky French placement students from IUT working with the equipment said: “Wow this is impressive how much of the spectral range we can see. I’m also surprised to see the entire slit compared to the old CCD. This will help to image the entire spatial range of the slit. A vast improvement.”

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