Leonid meteor shower over Derbyshire was 'out of this world' despite clouds say kids
THE technology was almost as impressive as the shooting meteoroids themselves.
Simply by pointing an iPad towards the sky and shaking it, pupils were able to witness this year's Leonid meteor shower through thick cloud over Derbyshire last night.
They could then "pinch" the screen using their finger and thumb to zoom in on the glowing meteoroids as they glided across the screen.
The iPads meant none of the 400 pupils who gathered at County Hall, Matlock, missed seeing the meteor shower despite the cloudy conditions.
Among those at the event was Ben Allsop, who attends Waingroves Primary School.
When asked what he though of the technology, the eight-year-old considered his answer for a moment and then replied: "It's out of this world.
"You can see everything in space, even when there's cloud. I've got a feeling of sensation in my belly."
Ben was joined by hundreds of other pupils from 15 primary schools to witness the meteor shower from Derbyshire County Council's base.
The authority organised the gathering to launch its new educational programme – Inspire Space.
The launch saw children view stars in two mobile planetariums, use telescopes and take part in a range of themed activities such as building a space station out of Lego.
Another Waingroves pupil, Amy Scott, nine, said: "I'm having lots of fun. I prefer it to being in a classroom."
Fellow classmate Daniel Waterfall, eight, added: "It's amazing."
The school's headteacher Amarjeet Challand said: "Space is usually something you can only talk to children about. This makes it real for them – it's wonderful."
The council's cabinet member for education, Councillor Mike Longden, said the Inspire Space programme was about getting pupils to consider a career in the space industry.
He said: "Space is an important industry for our county. Around a sixth of UK companies involved in the industry are in Derbyshire.
"The Inspire Space programme aims to encourage a generation of children to join the space industry and to improve science and technology knowledge in our schools."
Other primary schools involved included Herbert Strutt, from Belper; Pottery, Belper; Marlpool, Heanor; Ladywood, Ilkeston; Somerlea Park, Somercotes; and Springfield, Swadlincote.
Milford, Loscoe and Kirk Langley Primaries and Newhall and Woodville Juniors also took part.