Pupils with special needs were given a tour of the University of Hertfordshire's Bayfordbury Observatory.

The Year 7 pupils from Laureate Academy in Hemel Hempstead were introduced to astronomy, given a planetarium show and shown some of the observatory's solar telescopes.

During their visit they also learnt about the James Webb Space Telescope, which is responsible for making some of the world's most astonishing astronomical discoveries in recent years.

The school visit is part of the university's outreach programme of schools and community work, to help others learn about astronomy and astrophysics.

Laureate Academy science teacher Andre Morgan said: "These students in particular benefit from this type of experience when they can see and touch something to help place it into the real world."


The pupils looked inside the oldest and newest observatories - the newest was installed in 2021 and has a 60cm diameter mirror, which is automated so it can work any time of night when there are clear skies.

Ashley Coombs, outreach and public engagement assistant at Bayfordbury Observatory, said: "The students engaged well throughout their trip, asking many insightful questions, and showing a keen interest in astronomy and Bayfordbury Observatory.

"Events like this allow the next generation of scientists to explore their possibilities and have access to encouragement, guidance and support that would otherwise not be on offer to them."