Pupils get heaven sent glimpse of the night sky - in school gymnasium

Courtney Painter, 15, looks at Jupiter and its moon Io.
Courtney Painter, 15, looks at Jupiter and its moon Io.

School children have been shown the heavens in their school gymnasium.

A portable planetariumn has been set up in the gym at Cundall Manor School to show pupils how the night sky would have looked before the constellations became shrouded from view.

Thomas Kayll, 15, outside the inflatable planetarium dome in the gymnasium at Cundall Manor School, Cundall near Thirsk.

Thomas Kayll, 15, outside the inflatable planetarium dome in the gymnasium at Cundall Manor School, Cundall near Thirsk.

The interstellar panorama is projected onto the giant dome giving a clear view of the sky which is, in reality shrouded by light pollution.

It provides a valuable insight for the group of 400 students who are studying for a GCSE in astronomy.

Thomas Kayll and Courtney Painter, both aged 15, are two pupils who have signed up for the newly introduced qualification.

Head of Science, Graham Smith, said the plantetarium had led to an “overwhelming reaction” from his students.

He said it had created a desire among many of the pupils to sign up for the new astronomy course.

“It was very inspiring and really helped even our young children understand our solar system and also Earth’s role within the cosmos - which gives a greater persepective and increases their understanding of what we are and where we are in the scheme of things.”