7 Jan 2015

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Wadhurst Star Party - 25th February 2015 (Edit: plenty going on, even if it rains!)

Everyone is invited! Come along to the Star Party, and do some stargazing with the big telescopes, guided by astronomers, who know where everything is, and who can tell you what you're looking at!

You don't have to go to Uplands to come along, or even be a parent...anyone interested in looking up at the sky at night with other people, and expert guidance, is welcome!

There will be a pop-up planetarium (you can book a place at the Wadhurst Star Party webpage) organised by the Dark Skies in the High Weald AONB.

Refreshments will be available (funds to go to Wadhurst Primary School), so just bring your hat, gloves, scarf, blanket...whatever it takes to keep you cosy while you enjoy the night sky!

More information will be available from the High Weald website 

26 Nov 2014

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Just a quick update on our blog.

Thanks to our previous reporters for their good work on news stories and interesting facts files. It has been a difficult year at Uplands, what with the roof coming off the science building last Christmas Eve, and this last 9 months being spent in the temporary mobile buildings (that we affectionately called 'The Science Village' (photos to follow) whilst the flood damaged building was gutted and rebuilt!

We're now back in the new/old building and it's great. We have one less lab than before, because Labs 7 and 8 have been joined to make one huge lab. Otherwise, the best thing has been that we are completely refurbished (I have to admit to missing the old wooden school benches and stools though)

Throughout this time, some of the astronomy activities have been on-hold. For instance, much of the Faulkes Telescope sessions have been suspended, and the astronomy GCSE class has been low-key. However, we're hoping to up our activities again, which means re-instating our beloved Astronomical Uplands blog. (Please leave a comment and let us know you've been)

By the way, if anyone would like to become our new head reporter, or one of the reporting team, please get in touch with Mr Pert or myself...you get to wear your very own Astronomical Uplands badge! :-)

9 Oct 2014

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Constellations of the month

(This section now moved to new blog  Constellation of the month

Previous posts:

November 2010: The Plough

December 2011: Cassiopeia

January 2011: Orion

February 2011: Gemini

Jan 2012: Canis Major and Canis Minor

5 Jul 2012

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the Higgs Boson particle: Its about time I've been waiting for 45 years
After 45 years finally, the final piece of Einsteins Standard model has been discovered. The Higgs Boson particle, the particle that gives everything mass has been discovered. In my opinion this is one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the last 100 years (close to the atomic bomb on my top 5), the £2.7 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC), was built for the very purpose of finding this subatomic particle. Finding this particle was a huge step in particle physics and is very exciting for every particle physicist around the world. Professor Higgs the man who came up with the theory of the Higgs Boson particle now goes down in history with one of the biggest scientific contribution's in the history of science all the way up there with Albert Einstein, Issac Newton and Galileo (hes a very happy man)  

26 Mar 2012

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standard model
The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory concerning the electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles. Developed throughout the mid to late 20th century, the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970s upon experimental confirmation of the existence of quarks. Since then, discoveries of the bottom quark, the top quark and the tau neutrino have given further credence to the Standard Model. Because of its success in explaining a wide variety of experimental results, the Standard Model is sometimes regarded as a theory of almost everything.

 Still, the Standard Model falls short of being a complete theory of fundamental interactions because it does not incorporate the physics of dark energy nor of the full theory of gravitation as described by general relativity. The theory does not contain any viable dark matter particle that possesses all of the required properties deduced from observational cosmology. It also does not correctly account for neutrino oscillations (and their non-zero masses). Although the Standard Model is believed to be theoretically self-consistent, it has several apparently unnatural properties giving rise to puzzles like the strong CP problem and the hierarchy problem.

5 Mar 2012

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E=mc2 what does it really mean
Energy=mass x the speed of light squared
One of Einstein's great insights was to realise that matter and energy are really different forms of the same thing. Matter can be turned into energy and energy into matter.
For example, consider a simple hydrogen atom, basically composed of a single proton. This subatomic particle has a mass of.
0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001 672kg
This is a tiny mass. But in everyday quantities of matter there a lot of atoms ! For instance, in one kilogram of pure water, the mass of hydrogen atoms amounts to just slightly more than 111grams or 0.111kg.
Einstein's formula tell's us the amount of energy this mass would be equivalent to, if it were suddenly turned into energy. It says that to find the energy, you multiply the mass by the square of the speed of light, this number being 300,000,000 meters per second:
=0.111 x 300,000,000 x 300,000,000
=10,000,000,000,000,000 Joules.

20 Feb 2012

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The life cycle of stars
1) stars form from clouds of dust and gas.

2) The force of gravity makes the gas clouds come spiralling in. As they do, gravitational energy is converted into heat energy and the temperature rises.

3) When the temperature gets high enough, hydrogen nuclei undergo nuclear fusion to form helium nuclei and give out massive amounts of heat and light. A star is born. A Protostar.
It immediately enters a long stable period where the heat created by the fusion provides an outward pressure to balance the force of gravity pulling everything inwards. In this stable period its called a main sequence star (our sun is a main sequence star).

Because the balanced forces stop everything exploding outwards or collapsing inwards, and because of the huge amount of hydrogen stars contain, this stable period can last millions of years.

4) Eventually the hydrogen begins to run out and the star then swells into a red giant. It becomes red because the surface cools. (Red giants are so massive at one point are star will engulf the earth inside it).

5) A small star like our sun will then begin to cool and contract into a white dwarf and then finally, as the light fades completely, it becomes a black dwarf.
6) Big stars, however, start to glow brightly again as they undergo more fusion and expand and contract several times, forming heavier elements in various nuclear reactions. Eventually they will explode in a supernova. ( the biggest explosion known to man).
7) the exploding supernova throws the outer layers of dust and gas into space, leaving a very dense core called a neutron star. Or if the star is big enough, a black hole. (please note you cant actually see black holes so this picture is sci-fi).
this is a neutron star ( i find neutron stars interesting, even more so than that thing we know very little about the black hole).
8) The dust and gas thrown off by the supernova will form into second generation stars like our sun. The heavier elements are only made in the final stages of a big star, many in the supernova itself, so the presence of heavier elements in the sun and the inner planets is clear evidence that our beautiful and wonderful world, with its warm sunsets and fresh morning dews, has all formed out of the "snotty remains of a grisly old stars last dying sneeze".

9) The matter from which neutron stars and white dwarfs and black dwarfs are made of is millions of times denser than any matter on earth because the gravity is so strong it even crushes the atoms.

(Quotes and infomation from CGP GCSE AQA Phisics the revision guide).

7 Feb 2012

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I found out today that not very many people know the huge likely hood of extra-terrestrial life
if you think about this then you will know how almost certain it is that "aliens" exist: there are billions of stars in our galaxy alone, and there are probably billions of Galaxy's outside of ours, and almost or every star in the universe has a solar system, and every solar system has a habitable zone (a point in a solar system were life is possible). This means that life is extremely possible.
hurray :)

23 Jan 2012

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5 facts day :)
1. The density of Saturn is so low that if you could put it in water it would float.
2. A piece of neutron star the size of a pinhead would weigh a million tons
3. Saturn has at least 62 moons
4. Light from the Sun travelling at 186,000mph takes 8mins 19secs to reach earth
5. The Sun makes up 99.86% of the solar systems mass.

Chuck Norris jokes
when Alexander bell invented the telephone he had 3 missed calls from Chuck Norris
fear of spiders is arcanaphobia, fear of tight spaces is claustrophobia, fear of Chuck Norris is called logic
Chuck Norris won American idol using only sign language
Jesus can walk on water, Chuck Norris can swim through land.

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20 Jan 2012

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Venus transit will happen this year from 5th-6th June but this will only be visible in its entirety from Hawaii, Alaska, Australia the Pacific and Eastern Asia with the beginning of the transit visible from North America and the end visible from Europe.

Venus usually passes under or over the sun in its diagonal orbit, but there are two points in its orbit when it passes directly in front of the sun in its 225 day orbit, but the Venus transit only happens when Venus, Earth and the Sun directly line up as shown in this diagram.

The top shows Venus on its normal orbit and the bottom shows the Venus transit.

This will be an amazing spectacle lets hope it gets broadcast for all to see, as it will be 105 years till it happens again, in 2117, and then it will happen again in 8 years at 2125, and will go on and on for a very long time going 105 years then 8 years 105 years 8 years and on and on. The last time it happened was June 8th 2004, and the first recorded time was November 23 1396, people believe that Aztec astronomers may have seen this transit.

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