Outside my own field,  Astrophysics was my favourite subject.  I got my first astrophysics story by inviting myself to go and look round the Los Muchachos Astrophysical Observatory when I was on holiday in La Palma in the Canaries. Chris Benn, the astronomer who was asked to show me round the telescope, explained how the telescope worked and what kinds of observations they were making.

I was blown away by the fact that for modern astronomers the universe is like a giant physics lab. They can weigh it, measure it and tell how old it is. They can tell what the Universe is made of (75% Hydrogen, 24% Helium) because of the colours of the stars. They also know how the elements were made because stars work like H-bombs. They also know that all the elements we are made of – except the Hydrogen – were cooked up in stars that exploded before our solar system was formed.

 Posted by at 16:46