Dominican’s Kathy reaches for the stars!

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A Year 13 pupil at Dominican College in Portstewart has just received news that she is to be the

only female student from the UK to win a bursary sponsored by The Royal Astronomical Society to

attend the prestigious European Southern Observatory (ESO) Astronomy camp.

Each year the camp brings together almost 60 students from across Europe to take part in five days

of astronomy - and Kathy Archibald has been selected.

The camp – organised by Sterrenlab in collaboration with ESO, the ESO Science Outreach Network and the Astronomical Observatory of the autonomous region of the Aosta valley- will take place between December 26 and January 1, 2018 in Saint-Barthelemy, Nus, Italy.

Kathy, an AS level Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths student, who hopes to go on to study

Physics and Astrophysics at Queens, explained that she was inspired to enter the competition both

due to the encouragement of her Physics teacher, Mr George Buick and her lifelong love of


Kathy submitted a three minute video on the theme “I would like to invent/discove...because...” where she aimed to demonstrate her knowledge of astrophysics and in particular her interest in exoplanets beyond our own. Kathy focused her video on the Trappist-1 system with special reference to the Kepler-16 b planet.

Commenting on her success Kathy explained, “I am so delighted to receive news of this prestigious

bursary and am so much looking forward to my time in Italy this Christmas. This will be a wonderful

opportunity to further my fascination of astronomy and one which will also hopefully help shape my

future studies and career.

“I cannot wait to use the observatory facilities at the ESO winter camp and am so pleased that the theme of this year’s camp will be exoplanets and the solar system; the opportunity to partake in some winter sports will also be fantastic!”

Mr Buick, Dominican Physics teacher, explained that he was thrilled to learn of Kathy’s success and

described his “star” pupil as someone who has long shown a keen interest in all things astronomical.