Radnor Primary School, Cardiff

We are excited to be working with some lovely Year 3 and 4 children at Radnor Primary School as part of their 'Radnor University'.  

Here are their first observations!

Observing for NASA DART Mission!

This image is for the NASA DART Mission.  

Can you spot the moving 'dot' in the centre of the picture? 

That is the asteroid Didymos, and its orbiting smaller asteroid Dimorphos.  Dimorphos was hit by the DART spacecraft back in September 2022.  

Now can you spot the line that comes out of the right of the moving asteroid?  That is a stream of rock and dust particles that the spacecraft knocked off Dimorphos.

The asteroid is only about 780m across and when this picture was take was almost 40 million miles (64 million km) away.

(If you look carefully, you might als see other asteroids moving in the picture.)

Here's a bigger version, in case you couldn't spot the asteroid!

More Observing for NASA DART Mission

The DART Mission team asked us to make some observations where we left the camera open for a shorter time - to see what we could still see.  

This observation is where we left the camera open for 2 minutes - the image from Group 2 above was left open for 5 minutes.  You can see the difference.

You can still see the asteroid moving, but it moves less and is fainter  (because the total time we left the camera open is less).  We can't really spot the tail.

Bigger version

Comet C/2022 E3 

This picture is a combination of three observations made by Group 4.  Each individual observation was made with a filter which allowed capture of one colour - either Red, Green or Blue.  The three observations were then put together to give a colour picture.

Can you spot the Coma and the Tail?

You can see that there are 3 different colour dots for each star.  This is because the telescope was moving to follow the comet, and the comet moves against the background stars.  So for each colour observation the background stars were in a slightly different place compared to the comet.

This comet is quite small - about 1km across.  It will get closest to Earth (but still about 26 million miles away) on 1 February.

The green colour is the result of sunlight interacting with the gas it is giving off as it has recently been closest to the Sun.  The reddish brown is sunlight reflected off the dust in the comet's coma.

The 'spike' is the tail, which is REALLY long at the moment - it is way too long to fit on this camera.

The comet was observed with a 1m Telescope in MacDonald Observatory in Texas, between 7:59 and 8:05 on 30 January 2023.