Leaney’s super star-gazing pupils

STARS IN THEIR EYES. Leaney PS Teacher, Gary Magee,  (left) pictured with P7 pupils along with Stevie, Jason, Geraldine and Jonathan from the N.Ireland Amateur Astronomical Society (NIAAS) on Tuesday night.INBM6-15 007SC.

STARS IN THEIR EYES. Leaney PS Teacher, Gary Magee, (left) pictured with P7 pupils along with Stevie, Jason, Geraldine and Jonathan from the N.Ireland Amateur Astronomical Society (NIAAS) on Tuesday night.INBM6-15 007SC.

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Leaney Primary School’s Year 7 pupils explored the wonders of the night sky recently when four members of the Irish Astronomical Society came to visit giving them a ‘hands on’ opportunity to bring their studies to life.

“We were delighted to welcome members of the Society with their sooper dooper telescopes, “ explained Mr. Magee. “One of our Year 7 topics is the solar system and so I got in touch with the guys from the society. It was amazing to be able to let the children see first hand what they have been studying and learning about in the classroom.”

STARS IN THEIR EYES. Leaney PS Teacher, Gary Magee,  (left) pictured with P7 pupils along with Stevie, Jason, Geraldine and Jonathan from the N.Ireland Amateur Astronomical Society (NIAAS) on Tuesday night.INBM6-15 007SC.

STARS IN THEIR EYES. Leaney PS Teacher, Gary Magee, (left) pictured with P7 pupils along with Stevie, Jason, Geraldine and Jonathan from the N.Ireland Amateur Astronomical Society (NIAAS) on Tuesday night.INBM6-15 007SC.

With weather conditions perfect, the children were able to see first hand the beauty of the solar system as Mr. Magee continued: “We were all able to see the Moon, Jupiter, the Seven Sisters, Orion’s Belt and the Orion Nebula. It was a fantastic night and the 28 kids absolutely loved it.

”Hannah Taylor was thrilled by her experience; “I loved seeing the detail of the Moon and the different stars. I liked learning the names of the different stars and that they are all different sizes and colours.” Her classmate Zara Connor agreed: “It was lots of fun, I liked the big telescopes and being able to see the Moon and Jupiter and Orion’s Belt. I would love to have a telescope like that myself.”

Mr Magee agreed with his pupils; “Being able to look through the telescopes and see them for themselves quite literally makes it seem so real and so exciting for them. One of the guys from the Society said he counted 13 oohs, 10 ahs and three wows. They (Society members) were really happy with the childrens’ response and were very impressed by the quality and level of questions they were getting. There were even one of two questions which even stumped then and they were unable to answer.

“It’s great to have seen their enthusiasm, sometimes it just takes one little spark to lit the flame and who knows maybe one of these kids will go on to study astronomy or astrophysics. It nice to know when these children are out walking about they can turn to the night sky and say to their parents ‘Do you know that’s Jupiter or there’s Orion’s belt and be able to give a little bit of information. Even at that most basic its something they can carry for the rest of their lives.”