Skip to main content

LJMU's Role

Liverpool John Moores UniversitySpaceport is a partnership between Mersey Ferries and Liverpool John Moores University’s Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI).

Working closely with scriptwriters and designers, LJMU's scientists and other Spaceport project partners produced storyboards for all the exhibits and interactive displays and continue to advise on content.

The Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University is internationally acclaimed for its astrophysics research in a range of fields (from exploding stars to the structure of the Universe) and for its expertise in robotic telescope technology. ARI has led the development and operation of the world's largest robotic telescope, the Liverpool Telescope (LT) situated in La Palma, Canaries. Electronic pictures taken by the telescope are sent back to the management control centre at the ARI at Liverpool John Moores University for distribution to astronomers and also made available to schools via the National Schools' Observatory.

The ARI also helps to organise a range of events at Spaceport, ranging from international conferences, to activity days for schools. This includes the annual Merseyside Astronomy Day which draws people from all over the country to hear a series of talks delivered by professional astrophysicists.

The National Schools Observatory

The Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University is committed to advancing public understanding of science and as such, donates a proportion of its Liverpool Telescope's observational time for use by UK schools via its National Schools' Observatory (NSO).

Founded on the premise that astronomy/space is one of the main areas of science that continues to inspire and excite children regardless of age, social background and gender, the NSO is a major on-line, free educational facility which provides tens of thousands of UK pupils and teachers with the opportunity to explore the heavens direct from their own classroom. They are able to utilise ARI’s Liverpool Telescope to access their own bespoke, high quality astronomical images and a range of related resources.

About 20,000 observations have been successfully delivered to over 1000 schools from the Liverpool Telescope and with over a million web pages served every year and an average of about 4,000 unique visitors each week, the NSO has established itself as one of the leading astronomy websites for schools in the UK.

Schools can request observations using the Go Observing pages on the NSO website. These requests are then passed to the telescope management centre for inclusion in the telescope observing schedule. Once completed, your telescope images can be downloaded (from the Go Observing pages), displayed and analysed in the classroom or at home. Following a request, and weather permitting, this process normally takes a couple of days.

You can find out more details on the NSO website (