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Last week students from the Physics department at Cronton Sixth Form College visited the Knowledge Observatory at the Heath Business Park in Runcorn to help celebrate National Astronomy Week. The students attended presentations by astronomers and university academics including Dr Andreea Font from the Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moore’s University.
The Cronton students were aiming to get the public involved with the College’s research project “Investigating Solar Power in Different Weather Conditions.” A project which is jointly run with the Centre for Solar Energy Research (CSER) at Glyndwr University, and is supported by the Royal Society Partnership Grant Scheme.
The students are in the early stages of their investigations, and were able to spend the day demonstrating how different types of solar cell generate different amounts of electricity depending on the ambient air temperature and cloud cover. Many more measurements will be made over the coming months before the students can draw their conclusions. It is hoped that school students from all across Halton will also take part in collecting the data.
Dr Pam Dugdale, Head of Physics at Cronton Sixth Form, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to get the public involved in the early stages of our research project. It was a cool and very windy day, but we made lots of useful measurements, and look forward to gathering more data when it’s a bit warmer and sunnier. Collecting data in a variety of weather conditions is essential in helping us understand whether or not solar power is an effective form of energy generation in this part of the world. This project also gives the students a valuable chance to work with professional scientists, which raises awareness of potential careers in the energy sector.”
The project will run for a full year, at the end of which the students will visit the research laboratories at CSER and present their findings to its experts in solar energy generation.