Nikki Miller, a sixth form student at Ardingly College, has returned to school after being awarded a place during the Christmas break at the first ever European Southern Observatory Astronomy camp.
Nikki, from Horsham, was part of a team of 56 students from the rest of Europe and Brazil.
The St Barthelemy observatory is located near the stunningly beautiful Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps, 1650 metres above sea level.
The purpose of the winter camp was to use the 250mm Cassegrain telescopes to study how the electromagnetic spectrum can be analysed to gain further information about our universe. The international team took spectra of stars and planets and also carried out experiments using a microwave antenna. This latter work was supervised by the cosmologist, Dr Aniello Manelli, who was instrumental in designing and constructing the highly successful Planck satellite.
Nikki (pictured on the slopes) said: “I really enjoyed making friends with like-minded people from a wide range of countries. It was a great way to end the year: physics, skiing, delicious food and spectacular views. What more could a person want?”
Nikki is studying A-level Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Further Mathematics,and is hoping to read Physics at Durham University from this September.
Report and pictures contributed by Mr Andrew Spiers, Ardingly College head of science.