The Undergrads

Christine McCollough


Hi, I'm Christine and I'm currently in my 4th and final year here at Southampton studying Physics with Space Science. I love almost everything about astronomy; stars, blackholes to funky new exoplanets discovered recently, but my main interest lies within our Solar System. Our nearest planets always interested me because they are all so different and unique, and scientists still have so much to learn about them. Space Science incorporates not only the science of Solar System, but also the spacecraft, instruments and rockets astronomers need to find out more about the Universe.

Studying here, I have had the opportunity to learn how spacecraft fly, as well as design an X-ray telescope mission in Tenerife with fellow European astronomers, which was a fantastic week! My favourite moment at university was seeing Saturn and it's ring system really clearly through the telescopes on the roof of the Physics building - it was beautiful! My dream job after graduation is to work for the European Space Agency and design mission orbits for planetary spacecraft.

I enjoy doing outreach in my spare time, especially teaching primary school children, as they always have fantastic questions. I found my love for space at a young age, and the Astrodome is the perfect way for me to share my enthusiasm about space for kids to enjoy in a fun way, and hopefully inspire them too.

For regular updates from Christine on Twitter @Belfasttt

Jo Barzycki


For regular updates from Jo B on Twitter @JoBarzycki

Cianna Bramley


Hey I'm Cianna and I've just finished my first year, studying physics with astronomy. I'm originally from York, so a long way from home down here in Southampton! My love of astronomy has led me to joining the astronomical society back up in York and for the past two summers I've been jetting off to Germany for the International Astronomical Youth Camp (IAYC) to spend 3 weeks doing what I love; especially stargazing!

I love how the Soton Astrodome is reaching out to potential astronomy enthusiasts in schools, and I'm so glad to be a part of it!"

For regular updates from Cianna on Twitter @BramleyCianna

Cait Percy


Hi, My name's Cait. I'm a second year student studying Physics with Space Science. I come from a small town in Wales where, when the skies are clear, the view of the night's sky is fantastic. This amazing view has given me a love of the night's sky which I've brought to university with me. I'm currently on the University Astronomy Society Committee and really enjoy taking the opportunity to go out and stargaze each week - even if it can get a bit chilly! I love sharing my enthusiasm for the sky whenever I can so Outreach seemed to be the place to be! :)

For regular updates from Cait on Twitter @caitpercy

Olivia Keenan


Hi, I am in my final year of my Physics with Astronomy degree. The highlights of my degree studies so far have been the Tenerife trip and my summer project this year. In Tenerife we got a chance to use telescopes in a professional observatory and then analyse and process our own data to produce images which would help us answer questions about our universe. I still treasure the pictures of galaxies I took which highlight areas of active star formation - it’s just amazing to know I’ve taken a photo of such a massive object which is millions of light years away! This summer I was lucky enough to have the chance to work on data from a black hole which allowed me to probe some hot questions on the astrophysics scene. I also created radio images of the black hole which is pretty cool!

I have always loved Astronomy and have a passion for inspiring others to be interested in it. When in school I set up and ran a club to teach the Astronomy GCSE and enjoy still having the opportunity to go into schools and demonstrate why we astronomers love what we do. The astrodome is the perfect outlet for me to continue inspiring others to shoot for the stars!

Ridwan Barbhuiyan


Hello there!

I'm currently an Undergraduate (as it says above) at the University of Southampton, studying for an MPhys with Astronomy, and am generally having a great time so far! I've been interested in what's beyond the sky for as long as I can remember (after all, we're all astronomers...), but I had never really been able to delve into it properly, until I came here! During my time at Southampton, I've learnt much about our own solar system, galaxy, and universe in general, though there's still so much more to find out, of course. Also, I've had the opportunity to see Saturn with its glorious rings from the telescopes on the roof of our beloved Physics building, as well as go on a field trip to the Observatorio del Teide (Teide Observatory) in Tenerife, where I witnessed the Milky Way band with my own eyes for the first time, saw Jupiter and its different coloured bands, as well as the observing the Crab Nebula, a spectacular supernova remnant, in different filters and then constructing a false-colour diagram, much like those produced by NASA (though not as detailed, sadly)!

I'm hoping to carry on in academia after I graduate, either pursuing Theoretical- or Astro-physics, or even both, though time will tell on that! In the mean time, as well as trying to make the most of my degree and time at university, I want to share my awe of our beautifully elegant universe with others, and one such way of doing this is via the Astrodome with Sadie and the rest of the team! As you may already know, this involves hosting both well-established and our own customised shows exploring the cosmos in our inflatable planetarium, whether it be at our university itself, or elsewhere! All in all, I hope you'd like for us to present a show to you, and would also like to thank you for taking the time to read this, so thank you, and take care!

Ryan Wood


I am currently an undergraduate at Southampton on the MPhys Physics with Astrophysics (Year Abroad) programme. I am in my 3rd and penultimate year and have enjoyed it immensely thus far.

The highlight would have to be a field trip to the Teide Observatory in Tenerife where I spent a week observing the skies with some of the best telescopes available. Studying supernovae progenitors (stars that will one day end their lives in a supernovae explosion) confirmed to me that astronomy is indeed amazing and this was the career path I wanted to take. I am now hoping to carry on with academia after my undergraduate course has finished, with the end phases of stellar evolution (supernovae, black holes and neutron stars) being my planned area of specialisation.

I have always been interested in astronomy and the wonders of space and I’m currently the president of The University of Southampton Astronomy Society (AstroSoc). We are a group of casual astronomers who meet every Monday to observe the night sky above Southampton with our telescopes. I have greatly enjoyed my role in the society and showing new members the joys of astronomy.

The astronomy outreach (specifically the Soton Astrodome), allows us to spread our love of astronomy to not only students at the university, but to pupils in other schools. We show them that science can be fun, and hopefully inspire them to take an interest in astronomy.

Ben Turnbridge


I'm currently a 3rd year physics student on the MPhys in Astrophysics and year abroad program at Southampton.

I come from one of the lowest achieving schools in England and I remember not really having much ambition to enter the 6th form, let alone university. However I do remember coming across my first Physics buskers near the end of year 11 and thinking this looked really cool. Although this wasn't the only thing that got me to take physics A level it did get me thinking about the idea of pursuing physics further and showed me a different side to what I had seen in the GCSE classrooms. This is why I think programs like outreach are hugely important in the motivation of new scientists and something I would love to get involved with.

I have had some experience working with children before; I was a beaver leader for a few years in the Scouting organisation and I also volunteered with a charity, Students for Kids International Projects, where I taught all ages but mostly children about hygiene, nutrition and disease prevention in spite of a vast language barrier in rural communities within Madagascar. However I have never had the opportunity to teach anything like physics before so this will be brand new to me.