On Friday 21st March (the Spring Equinox), budding Astronomy GCSE students from Castell Alun took part in a recreation of a famous experiment first performed by ancient Greek mathematician Eratosthenes, who was the first person to accurately determine the circumference of the Earth way back in 240 BC.
The experiment is very simple – the length of a shadow cast by a metre stick is measured and compared in two different locations on Earth’s surface that share the same line of longitude. Over two hundred other schools from across every continent in the world also took part and shared their results via the Open Discovery Space Portal on the Internet. After adding some clever geometry and a few calculations, Castell Alun students were able to closely match the true value of 40 075 km!
Astronomy teacher Sarah Llewellyn-Davies commented, “What a fantastic opportunity for our students to use the Internet in such a positive and beneficial way, to further their interest and understanding in science and maths in partnership with students from other countries across the world!”