Wednesday 25th March 2015 was the March meeting of Keighley Astronomical Society. The guest presenter was Prof Andy Newsam, from the Astrophysics Research Institute of Liverpool John Moores University. He presented his work on the Milky Way’s next-door neighbour; the Andromeda Galaxy. An ideal place to study many areas of astronomy. However, the many millions of stars are crowded towards the core of the galaxy making it almost impossible to examine in detail. Prof Newsam outlined the latest results from an ongoing, ambitious project to use gravitational microlensing techniques to “pick out” individual stars and learn more about this important object.
He is also the director of the National Schools Observatory, which allows school Children to make observations and carry out experiments with the world’s largest robotic telescope, which is based on La Palma in the Canery Islands. The aim of the project is to use astronomy to enthuse and educate children about science and technology as a whole, and to provide a stimulus for innovation and exciting teaching. Prof Newsam explained his other roles, which include running a suite of distance learning courses in astronomy for the general public.