Secondary school pupils in Swindon, studying a supernova which exploded almost a 1,000 years ago, have entered the history books by requesting the 100,000th image from the National Schools’ Observatory (NSO).
Established by LJMU in 2004, the NSO is a free to use, web-based resource which enables over 2,500 schools and colleges across the UK and Ireland to access images from the Liverpool Telescope (LT) in the Canaries. Owned and managed by LJMU, the LT is the world's largest fully robotic telescope.
Using the NSO, the Swindon school pupils pinpointed the area they wanted to explore; the Crab Nebula (M1). This is the remnant of a massive star which exploded almost 1,000 years ago. Known as a supernova, it was so bright it could be seen as a star during daylight. The pupils received an image of the location taken by the telescope and were told theirs was the 100,000th image to be provided by the NSO.
The NSO allows schoolchildren to submit requests for observations from the LT alongside professional astronomers from across the globe, with over 15,000 students registering to take observations.
In its tenth anniversary year the NSO enjoyed several achievements including creating a gold medal winning ‘Dark Matter’ garden at RHS Chelsea, and spending a week at the Houses of Parliament highlighting the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects to politicians.
Images courtesy of Liverpool Telescope Group.