Astronomy proves big hit for Labour Party
26th September 2008
Below: Delegates to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester view the Sun through a special H-alpha telescope provided by Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. WARNING: Never look at the Sun with the unaided eye or through a telescope as you will be blinded.
CREDIT: Mike Peel, Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester
Astronomers from Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics visited the Labour Party Conference in Manchester to promote the International Year of Astronomy 2009.
Tim O'Brien, Mike Peel and Rebecca O'Brien brought along a special solar telescope to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester to help advertise IYA. Delegates and others enjoyed an unusual break from the official proceedings and were amazed to see and hear about our nearest star on what was a typically glorious sunny day in Manchester.
Normally of course you should NEVER look at the Sun through a telescope or even with the unaided eye as you would be blinded.
The JBCA telescope, however, has a special filter which blocks nearly all the light, letting through only those wavelengths of red light produced by the hydrogen atoms in the outer layers of the Sun.
The Sun goes through a cycle of activity in which the number of sunspots and flares rises and falls over an 11-year period. At the moment the Sun is the quietest it's been for many years, even so there was a small prominence which we were able to point out was actually about 5 times the size of the Earth.
Dr Tim O'Brien
Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics
University of Manchester
tim.obrien "at" manchester.ac.uk