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Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College

A Stellar Future Awaits Physicist Toby

Ivybridge Community College Year 12 student, and amateur astronomer, Toby Rowe, has taken some astonishing images using his Celestron NexStar 127SLT telescope.

Mx Barry, Head of Physics said, “Toby has shown a fascination with and commitment to Physics since he started at the College (and before), engaging with many extra-curricular trips and activities over the years, and regularly stunning his teachers with his insights or probing questions.  As well as Physics, Toby has chosen Computer Studies, Maths and Further Maths for A Level study, and is hoping to follow his passion further, studying either Physics at Oxford University or Astrophysics at the University of St Andrews.”

Toby writes, “In the last few years my interest in astronomy and astrophysics has grown a lot thanks to a few MOOCs* I did on astrophysics and the technology behind it.  This prompted me to start using an old telescope we had to start taking pictures of the moon and night sky. At Christmas, I upgraded my setup to an awesome telescope that has a motorised mount with tracking software, which allows me to keep the scope automatically trained on the same object allowing me to take pictures, like the one of Saturn, relatively easily.  To take my pictures I have a special clamp that holds my phone against the eyepiece.

One of my favourite things is seeing how many stars there are that are completely invisible to the human eye, but through the telescope are visible in their hundreds.  I will continue honing my skills and working out the optimal way of getting the clearest and most detailed pictures I can.  Over the summer I aim to get pictures of the North American nebula, the Whirlpool galaxy, Bodes nebula and some star clusters.

My hope is to carry on pursuing this, both in my spare time and through my studies.  I plan to study Physics at university (Oxford or St Andrews hopefully), and then specialise in Astrophysics, and continue studying the most majestic things in our universe on the front lines as it were.”

* MOOCs  -  Massive Open Online Courses


Above - moon close-up
Right - Orion's nebula