YOUNG astronomers explored the mysteries of the universe when they attended Bolton’s first space conference.
More than 30 primary school children enrolled at the two-day “camp” at Sharples School over half-term.
They found out about everything in a planetarium set up at the school, from the natural phenomena of the Northern Lights to whether there is life on other planets.
Science ambassadors at the school helped to lead the sessions at Bolton’s only specialist science college — the school offers astronomy GCSEs to its pupils.
The conference was co-ordinated by assistant headteacher Caroline Molyneux, who is a member of the National Space Academy, to inspire young people about science.
Miss Molyneux said: “The conference has been so popular with young people.
“We want to introduce astronomy to local primary schools and get more young people interested in science.
“There are so many jobs in this field and will be more in the future.”
She added: “At this school we always make science interesting for the young people and this was an opportunity to show children visiting the school the facilities that we have.”
Over the two days, children found out about the solar system, rockets, the Hubble telescope and the myths, legends and reality of the aurora borealis — the Northern Lights.
The young scientists also showcased their work to parents on the second day.
Science ambassador Rosie Patel, aged 15, said: “I have enjoyed helping out at the space camp and it has been really interesting. Events like this show young people how fun and interesting science is. They have really enjoyed it.”
The conference sparked the imagination of the young children who attended. Adam Elms, aged 10, from St Paul’s CE Primary School, said: “I have had lots of fun, finding out about aliens and rockets and whether there may be other intelligent life forms in the universe.”
Saara Chhadaf, aged nine, from The Valley School, added: “I thought it was a lot of fun and I have learned a lot, about the Northern Lights and space.”
Bolton Astronomy Club is working with Sharples School to bring the science to people inspired by TV scientists like Professor Brian Cox.
Connor Haslam, aged 16, is studying astronomy GCSE, and he has had the opportunity, using a computer, to use a telescope to capture images of the solar system, which can be shared with astronomers across the globe.
He said: “It is challenging but interesting and it is good to get young people interested in the subject and science.”