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Young Londoners reach for the stars – literally!

Added on: 4th October, 2017 by Lisa_4893

Young Londoners reach for the stars – literally!

Last Updated:
Wed, 4 October 2017

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Noosphere, the scientific initiative conceived by Russian philanthropist Elena Baturina, is set to continue throughout next year in selected schools across the capital.

The astronomical educational project Discovery in a Week, developed by Ms Baturina’s Russian charity foundation Noosphere will continue to work with the Mayor’s Fund for London in 2018 to offer the capital’s children the chance to learn about astronomy and perhaps even have newly discovered stars named after them.

Discovery in a Week brings together PHD astronomy students from the UCL’s Physics and Astronomy department to mentor secondary school pupils, to not only enhance their theoretical knowledge, but also make real astronomic discoveries by analysing pictures from a powerful telescope in Australia.

The aim of the project is not just to introduce schoolchildren to the fascinating world of astronomy, but by producing real scientific results, to give them a rewarding, educational experience that broadens their intellectual horizons.

The project is already a proven success right from the start: during the pilot launch of the programme, nine new variable stars were discovered, and to date, students from 12 London schools involved in the initiative have discovered 18 variable stars!

The stars discovered by children get recorded in the International Variable Star Index and are named after their young discoverers, while the coordinates of the asteroids detected are sent to the Minor Planet Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Noosphere and the Mayor’s Fund for London intends to extend the scope of the initiative to a broader range of schools over the next few years, as well as create an international network of enthusiastic young observers and researchers by encouraging children from different countries to exchange their astronomical experience and ideas during regular conferences.

Elena Baturina, founder of Noosphere, said: “2018 will become the third year of cooperation between Noosphere and the Mayor’s Fund for London, and I am absolutely sure that it will be yet another year of incredible astronomic discoveries made by young Londoners within this scientific initiative. The project gives real and tangible results – new stars in far-off constellations get discovered by schoolchildren and named after them. We hope that this extraordinary experience will not just give them basic understanding of astronomy, but enhance their fascination with science for years to come."

Noosphere has conducted its educational projects throughout schools in India, Israel, Bulgaria, Romania and Austria since 2008.

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