Astrophysics Research Institute services
What we can offer you
Our team are dedicated to providing exceptional educational outreach programmes.
We’re available to visit your school to give talks or run interactive workshops. All sessions are delivered to schools for free, though for schools a large distance from the department we may ask for a contribution to our travel costs. Most activities can be tailored to your needs if we are given sufficient notice.
National Schools' Observatory
The National Schools’ Observatory (NSO) makes it possible for schoolchildren to study the night sky for themselves with free access to the world's largest fully-robotic telescope, LJMU’s Liverpool Telescope. 2,500 registered schools across the UK and Ireland have already participated in the outreach project, with 15,000 students making 100,000 astronomical observations each year.
To find out how your school could get involved, visit the NSO website.
“[The National Schools Observatory] gave me a real insight into physics and made me decide on what I wanted to do at degree level. Now I will be studying a physics and astronomy degree.”
- Simon, a 17-year-old school pupil
Spaceport attracts 70,000 visitors each year. A joint venture with Merseytravel, ARI was involved in all stages of the production of the exhibits and interactive displays and continue to advise on content. We also help organise a range of events at the attraction, ranging from international conferences to activity days for schools. This includes the annual Merseyside Astronomy Day which draws people from all over the country to hear a series of talks delivered by professional astrophysicists.
Visit the Spaceport website
Work experience week
Each year we welcome 15 students, ages between 16-18, for a week long work experience programme. This week consists of talks, workshops and an in-depth group research project supervised by professional astronomers in the department. The week culminates in the students producing a report and presenting their findings to the rest of the group and invited staff from the ARI. There is no charge for this work experience week; all we ask is that the students can easily commute to the ARI office in Liverpool City Centre (146 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L3 5RF).
Workshops and talks
- Introduction to Astronomy - any group
This general introductory interactive talk into the world of astronomy discusses some of the commonly asked questions: What is the Universe made up of? How do we know? Where did the Universe begin and where will it end? Session can be adapted to any age group.
- Creating Constellations - KS1-2
This interactive session talks students through the contents of our Universe and what ancient astronomers saw when they looked to the skies, followed by students creating their own glow in the dark constellations
- Mission to Mars Interactive Workshop - Ideal for KS2 (or KS3)
This session covers the use of robot rovers on other planets and allows students to programme small rovers to negotiate their way around a `Martian' surface. We can also discuss the conditions on Mars and how it would affect humans if we were to ever colonise the planet, and what adaptations an alien might have to survive on the planet. This session can be expanded to include creating a Martian-base which would be suitable for humans.
- Scale of the Solar System Interactive Workshop - Ideal for KS2 (or KS3)
An introductory session on the solar system including the scale of the solar system and an interactive session on the relative sizes of the planets
- Hunting for Asteroids - KS3 and KS4
Using data taken from the Liverpool Telescope and software specially developed for use in schools this interactive session will find and track asteroids in our solar system. The session can be developed by calculating the speed of each asteroid.
- Image Processing - KS3 and KS4
Discussion of atmospheric windows, observing sites, and the different stages of image processing when taking astronomical images, followed by an interactive session on creating 3-colour images using observations from the Liverpool Telescope.
- Mission to Mars Interactive Workshop - Ideal for KS3 (or KS2)
See description above
- Scale of the Solar System Interactive Workshop - Ideal for KS3 (or KS2)
See description above
- Stars that go bang! Supernovae - Ideal for KS3 and KS4
What happens when a star reaches the end of its lifetime? What is the difference between a core-collapse supernova and a thermonuclear one? This interactive talk will focus on the final stage of a star's life, and why we should care.
Please note: this talk can be extended to post-16 audiences on request.
- What can I do with a Physics Degree? Careers - Ideal for KS4 (or KS5)
An interactive talk on the careers available to those with a physics degree, including short film interviews with physics graduates, and covering all of the most up-to-date statistics on employment, sectors and salaries
- Creating an HR Diagram - KS5
Interactive session on the life of stars, looking specifically at the use of the Herzsprung-Russell Diagram and discussing apparent and absolute magnitudes. Using data taken from the Liverpool Telescope students will be guided through creating their own HR diagram, along with its analysis and interpretation.
- Studying the Universe: Cosmology - Ideal for KS5
Cosmology is the study of the large scale structure of the Universe and requires precise measurements and objects which can be seen at tremendous distances. This interactive talk looks at what the Universe is doing, and how we know.
- What can I do with a Physics Degree? Careers - Ideal for KS5 (or KS4)
See description above
We are keen to attend career fairs to highlight the numerous careers available to those with a physics degree.
Get in touch with us if you’d like us to attend your upcoming career fair.