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Observing the Universe

Key Stage: 4
Length: 1-2 hours (adaptable)
Maximum number: See Planning a visit

Suitable for 21st Century Science GCSE unit Observing the Universe

Students experimenting with Galilean telescopes

In this hands-on session students discover the story of Galileo’s telescope and how he used the instrument to make observations with which he challenged astronomical theories of his time.

This session offers students the opportunity to gain insight into the problems of astronomical observation and the significance of the telescope in astronomy and will include some elementary optical theory about lenses and ray diagrams.

Students will see a range of early astronomical instruments from medieval astrolabes through to the telescopes of the eighteenth century.

Students will take part in hands-on activities and the recreation of a 17th-century astronomical experiment. They will learn about the changing relationship between theory and observation in early modern science and develop their understanding of how science works.