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World Space Week at the OU

We are running a number of online panel events in World Space Week open to everyone. You can find out more on the links below, where you can sign-up for a place on Eventbrite. All events are free and open to the public. The events on Thursday 7th Oct and Friday 8th October are aimed at schools (upper level of primary).






Ask the Experts: Adventure to the stars

Tue, 5 October 2021, 12:00 – 13:00 BST

16th September 2021

Celebrations for three Open University Astronomy & Planetary Science students

Each year the OU awards a prize to the top performing student(s) in level 2 Astronomy (S284) and level 2 Planetary Science (S283), funded by a gift bequeathed by Eric Tomney, an OU graduate and life-long learner, who was also an enthusiastic astronomer. 

14th September 2021

Asteroid is officially named after The Open University

Academics in the School of Physical Sciences are celebrating after learning that an asteroid situated more than 126 million miles from Earth has finally been named after The Open University.

Two years ago, professors Simon Green and Andrew Norton set out to name asteroid number 69423 ‘Openuni’ in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the OU’s creation on 23 April 1969.

13th September 2021

Athena Swan Silver award for SPS

We're delighted to announce that we have been successful in the renewal of SPS' Athena Swan Silver award. This recognises both our sustained commitment to making the School a more inclusive place for all staff and students, and the changes we have made over several years to support the careers and development of women in STEM.

7th September 2021

60 second adventures in Artificial Intelligence

Colleagues within the School of Physical Sciences have been involved in the production of a new set of 60 second adventures centred around the theme of Artificial Intelligence. The new set of four videos were sponsored by the ESCAPE H2020 project ( and they are designed as an overview of how various machine learning techniques work and how they can be used in some astrophysical contexts.

23rd August 2021

Hardware upgrades at OpenScience Observatory in Tenerife

The OpenScience Observatory’s Tenerife facilities finally received their long-awaited hardware upgrade, one year late due to COVID travel restrictions. PIRATE is now sporting a 24-inch astrograph, while its 17-inch predecessor has moved to COAST where it replaced the smaller 14-inch telescope.

Commissioning is well advanced, all systems are operational, and first deep-sky images by Sam Jackson will whet the appetite of and OpenLearn users. For more information go to @PirateOU on Twitter.

4th August 2021

PhD researcher involved in ‘active asteroid’ school outreach in South Wales

At the recent Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting, Open University PhD student Helen Usher presented details of the work undertaken by a group of primary schools in South Wales to observe and measure an asteroid which has developed an unusual long tail, which is very rare behaviour normally only associated with an icy comet.

Asteroid 2005 QN173 recently began to develop a tail and is being studied with great interest by professional and amateur astronomers around the globe.

22nd July 2021

STFC funding for research on the Winchcombe meteorite

Researchers from the School of Physical Sciences have been involved in the ongoing analyses of the Winchcombe meteorite aptly named after the Gloucestershire town where it landed. Winchcombe is an extremely rare type called a carbonaceous chondrite, which is a stony meteorite rich in water and organic matter that has retained its chemistry from the formation of the Solar System.

9th July 2021

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