Horizon: Sun Chaser (and the International Year of Light)

Sun Chaser - Logo

Horizon’s mission for this academic year is called ‘Sun Chaser’ and not only will I be blogging the mission but I’ll be flying on-board! There is a new team this year, so I have lots of names to learn (you can meet them all here).


This year their mission is to capture footage of the Sun’s rise over the horizon of the planet from the Stratosphere. In order to achieve this, they will construct a mathematical model which can predict the time of sunrise from altitude. They’ll also design and build two new probes (names to be announced later). The launches will take place in the dead of night in Wales and will be timed so that as the probes are reaching their peak altitude, the Sun’s disc will just be visible over the horizon. I can’t wait!

Both launches will take place in 2015, the International Year of Light. A celebration of light in all areas of life around the world:

The launches are just one aspect of what the team will be doing this year. They’ll also be trialling an outreach programme in which team members visit St. Mary’s the Mount Catholic School to teach three enriched Science lessons on the topics of ‘The Earth and the Sun’, ‘Our Solar System’ and ‘Horizon – Our Atmosphere’. The team will teach Year 6 pupils who will then feedback what they have learned to the whole school in assembly. St. Mary’s mascot will fly aboard the Sun Chaser probe along with me. The team hopes that this will be the first of many outreach programmes aimed at inspiring Primary aged pupils to take an interest in STEM subjects and Space.

Following the lessons at St. Mary’s the Mount Catholic School the team have been invited to visit the Birmingham Planetarium for a day and I’ll be going with them. During the day they will run a stand in the centre of the Think Tank where we will be meeting with members of the public, talking about this year’s mission and showing footage from the project so far.

It’s going to be another exciting year and it’s difficult to remember at times that Horizon is run by high school pupils.

You can find out more about their adventures through their website:


Keep up-to-date with the latest from the team on their twitter feed:


Watch videos from the team on their YouTube channel:


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