Twelve months of dedicated fund raising by pupils, staff and parents culminated in the opening of the state of the art Singadia Observatory. The Observatory is situated behind the STEM centre and was opened on Monday by BBC astronomer Mark Thompson.
The site was carefully selected to give the best views of the universe and where light pollution is minimum. It is an area where we have successfully hosted star parties in partnership with the Bolton Astronomical Society.
The Observatory has a powerful 11 inch Celestron Telescope with built in GPS so that it can track the celestial objects. It is all housed in a 2.7 metre fully automated Dome which is designed to be synchronised with the telescope so that they can move smoothly together. A HD camera is attached to the telescope which will capture the beauty of our universe.
Mr Singadia explained that it works a bit like Star Trek when the captain looks at the window, at the stars and decides where they go next, well here the pupils can just click an object on the big 55 inch screen, initiating the Dome and Telescope to locate the object and see it in high definition. You can look into deep space at galaxies and supernovae millions of light years away.
Hopefully, the Observatory will inspire pupils to study astronomy and produce scientists of the future. Headteacher, Mrs Quesnel stated that we want to share this facility with the local community and work closely with primary and other secondary schools.
At the launch, Mr Thompson praised the school's unique facilities. He said: "When I was at school we never used to have an observatory, I used to have to travel to one, but to have one on-site at a school will hopefully inspire people to get out and see what's out there. I think it's brilliant”.
The project has been supported from the beginning by the Bolton Astronomical Society and the Bolton-le-Moor Rotary Club, with Rotarian Roy Gibbins taking on the role of project manager. Sharples School would like to thank them and everyone who has supported the school.
The Bolton News also attended and reported on the opening, their article can be found here.