Star gazer raises cash for church

A BUDDING astronomer from Badgworth is spreading her passion for the stars around Somerset.

A BUDDING astronomer from Badgworth is spreading her passion for the stars around Somerset.

Emma Richards, aged 22, has been fascinated with planets and the solar system ever since she was a toddler and held her first lecture in her home village last week to raise money for St Congar's Church in Badgworth.

The former Weare First School pupil took the audience on a trip around the solar system, looking at the sun, planets and satellites, using scale models and a power point presentation at Badgworth Arena.

Emma, of Coronation Road, gives talks on space at schools around the area and at the Charterhouse Centre in Blagdon and is hoping to begin teaching at Weston College in September.

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She said: "I've been interested in astronomy ever since I can remember. My dad used to take me out when I was a baby and point out the stars.

"It's always been my passion and I like to share it with people. I've always been able to understand the size of our solar system, the galaxy and the universe. It's the enormity of it that captures me."

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Emma works as a respite carer for social services as well as studying for a degree in astronomy.

She was given her first telescope when she was 15 and says her favourite find in the night sky was Jupiter.

Emma studies the skies as often as she can and says at this time of the year enthusiasts can spot Saturn and its moon Titan and constellations Andromeda, Pegasus, Hercules, Bootes and Cygnus the swan can be seen. Jupiter can be spotted in the south, with Pluto just above and Mars rising in the east later in the evening.

The event raised £110 for the church and Emma is planning more talks over the next few months to raise cash for the appeal.

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