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.)

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.

More Observing for NASA DART Mission

In this image we show that the telescope was keeping track with the asteroid - so the stars look like they are moving!  Can you see the gap between the star and the asteroid in the middle changing?

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.

Comet C/2022 E3 

Observation made by Group 5, on 31 January 2023 between 2:39 am and 2:41 am, with red, green and blue filters.  The telescope was a 1m telescope in  MacDonald Observatory in Texas, USA.

Our Messier Object Observations

We have been learning about Charles Messier and his comet hunting.  He found lots of things that were not comets (he knew because they did not move between nights), so made a list of them so he would know in future.  His list is known as the Messier list and contains many fantastic objects of different kinds: galaxies, nebula and star clusters.  Our Radnor Comet Chasers chose which ones they liked, did some research on them (some information they found is shown under the observations) and scheduled observations.  

Here are the results.  Well done everyone - nice choices and research.

Messier 7

Ptolemy's Cluster

Chosen because 'It looks AMAZING!!'

Messier 7 can be seen near the stinger of the celestial scorpion.

Image taken with a 0.4m telescope (for a wide view of this big cluster) in Chile on 13/2/2023.

Messier 51

The Whirlpool Galaxy

This was chosen by a few people, because it looks cool, amazing and interesting.

It is a spiral galaxy.  It is one of the easiest messier objects to find as it is in the vicinity of the big dipper.

It is about 31 million light years from Earth.

Image taken with 1m telescope in Texas on 7/2/2023.

Messier 8

Lagoon Nebula

Chosen because it looks so cool.

The Nebula is 4,100 light years from Earth.

Image taken with a 1m telescope in Chile on 5/2/2023 .

Messier 42

The Orion Nebula

Image taken with 0.4m telescope in Chile on 3/2/2023.

The 0.4m telescope was chosen to see the wide view.

Messier 50

Heart-shaped Cluster

Chosen because it looks cool.

It is a large, bright open cluster.  It is visible in the months of December, January and February

Image taken with a 1m telescope in Australia on 6/2/2023.

Messier 42

The Orion Nebula 

Chosen because it is colourful and bright.

It has more than 3,000 stars in it and measures 24 light years across.

Image taken with a 1m telescope in South Africa on 6/2/2023.

Messier 11

Wild Duck Cluster

This was chosen by many people because it has a funny name!

It is an open cluster with about 2,900 stars in it - one of the most populated open clusters known.

It is about 220 million years old.

It is about 6,197 light years from Earth.

It is in the constellation Scutum.

Image taken with a 0.4m telescope (for a lovcely wide view) in Tenerife on 13/2/2023.


This was chosen because of the colours.

It is a globular cluster - a ball of stars.

It is far away from us and it is very big!

Image taken with a 1m telescope in South Africa on 13/2/2023.


Omega Nebula

Chosen because is looks really cool and it is my favourite colour (red).

It is a famous star forming nebula in the southern constellation Sagittarius.

It is at a distance of 5,000 -6,000 light ytears from the Earth. 

Image taken with a 0.4m telescope (for a wide view) in South Africa on 13/2/2023 .


Eagle Nebula

Chosen because 'I had it on my bingo card and it has an interesting name'

It is also known as the Queen Nebula.

The best time to see M16 is in the summer.

Image taken with a 1m telescope in South Africa on 13/2/2023.


Chosen because it looks beuatiful.

It is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Virgo.

Image taken with a 1m telescope in Texas on15/2/2023.


Dumbell Nebula

Chosen because of the colours

It has a radius of 1.44 light years

Image taken with a 0.4m telescope in Texas on 17/2/2023

Mr Nicholls' first observations

We showed Mr Nicholls how to schedule observations, so that our Radnor Comet Chasers can do it when we are not with them.  Here is the result for Comet E3 - 3 observations with a 1m telescope in South Africa.  Well done Mr Nicholls!