Pupils from Craigour Park Primary School in Edinburgh interviewed some of our staff and PhD students about their research. In this article, they quiz postdoctoral research assistant, Dr Mariangela Bonavita about her work and learn some astonishing information about planets.
What is your favourite achievement in your job?
The fact that I am doing something that I really, really like. Since I was little I wanted to do stuff like this. The biggest achievement is discovering a planet. That is pretty cool.
Do you think there is a liquid on any other planet?
Yes, like water, gooey water, thick water and ice. There are planets called water worlds, because they are mostly made of water. When it comes to Jupiter, they are not sure if there is thick or thin water on it.
Give us one astonishing fact that will make us go WOW!
You can measure the weather on different planets. A picture of Jupiter has lots of fans and spots. When you’re looking at it from really far, Jupiter rotates, and you can see a blob of light. When the light changes, you can measure and see the light change and that tells you that there are clouds. Then you can see how long it takes for the clouds to go around the planet. You can’t see it, but you can work it out from the light.
Have you discovered a new planet?
Yes. But I didn’t get to name it. It is called HIP 19176b.
Explain how a telescope can capture a photo and how big they are.
The biggest telescope we use is 8m wide. It is in a building that is the size of a 2-storey house. It is in Chile, in the middle of the desert.
What are your three favourite foods?
Pizza, aubergines and chocolate cake. However, I am allergic to chocolate cake, but I still eat it.
What are your top three places you have travelled to?
I really liked Peru. I was there last summer. It has got beautiful ruins of ancient civilisation. Stockholm in Sweden is a beautiful city and I really do like Scotland. The first time I came here, I said I wanted to live in this city.
In your childhood, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I did want to be a scientist, but I didn’t know what science was. At the beginning it was hard. I also wanted to be a pilot.
Does your cat travel with you?
When I was living in Canada my cat came with me from Scotland. Its name is R2D2.
What subjects do you study at school?
At school I studied physics, Latin and ancient Greek.
Links and resources
- Check out all our Craigour Park Primary School interviews.
- Read more about this project with Craigour Park Primary School, Edinburgh.
- Learn more about Mariangela’s research.