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Coventry student directs gaze of one of Europe’s largest telescopes


Gurpal Dosanjh, a University of Warwick Physics student from the Walsgrave area of Coventry, has just returned from a week in which he was put in charge of directing the gaze of one of Europe’s largest optical telescopes.

Twenty one year old Gurpal joined University of Warwick Astronomer Professor Tom Marsh in the Canary Islands to use the giant to study the "evolution of accreting

binary stars" (binary star systems in which a white dwarf star rips matter from its companion star). The is one of the largest optical telescopes of its kind in Europe, with a primary mirror 4.2 meters in diameter. Despite only being an undergraduate student, rather than a research student, Gurpal was in charge of directing the telescope operators to point the huge mechanism at the key accreting binary star systems that Professor Marsh had selected for further study. He then played a key role in the analysis of the data collected by these observations.

Gurpal was given this great opportunity by the University of Warwick’s “Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme” which is designed to give undergraduate students an insight into research work and help them develop transferable skills.


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