JHN's Hidden Observatory

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

Many people may not know this but we have an observatory in school that was generously

given to us. Since then, some fortunate Sixth Formers have received permission to use the

observatory for projects. Sean Groarke (12CA) talked to me about the significance of the


It could have the potential to become an important part of school life

When asked about what their group had been using the observatory for, Sean explained to me

that they had decided that they wanted to study the ISS (International Space Station) to try and

get a better picture of it. They thought that, by using the observatory, there would be less

interference and a clearer image however they soon realised that there was a slight problem:

“The ISS passes across the sky in about 2 or 3 minutes until it’s on the other horizon. Because

the observatory only has a little slit to look through, we’d have to move the observatory with it

which just creates a lot more hassle. It’s great for normal astronomy but it’s not that suitable for

something like tracking the ISS.”

Sean told me that it would be a great idea for other students of all years to be able to use it in

the future, adding that it could have the potential to become an important part of school life,

especially in Science.

As the interview drew to a close, I asked if money wasn’t a problem, what would be a great item

for the school to buy. He replied that a 3-D printer would be the best choice. “It can help in

creating things for the Art Department, especially for Production Arts. They could make a lot of

things more easily. It could be used for any of the Science projects that the school runs with

companies like Air Bus, when we construct components. If we had had a 3-D printer readily

available, it would save us a lot of time and such a versatile machine would be really helpful for

the school.”

So whilst a 3-D printer may be out of the school’s price range right now, the observatory is a

great thing that can be used for group projects and may, hopefully, be used with many classes in the