Star students’ Venus peep

Star gazers: CSIRO scientist Lisa Harvey-Smith (at left) lent a high-powered telescope to Penrith High School students, from left, Shahana Moon, Mansirat Sandhu, Priyanka Rola, Oshara Gunadasa and Simran Kaur Dhaliwal, for a look at the rare phenomenon of the transit of Venus. Picture: Michael SzabathPENRITH High School year 10 students Shahana Moon and Simran Kaur Dhaliwal celebrated their top science honours by looking at the transit of Venus through a high-powered telescope lent by the CSIRO.
Nanjing Night Net

Shahana Moon won the Stellar Astronomy Scholarship for Girls and Simran was named Research Australia’s National Youth Ambassador.

On June 6, both of these girls and three year 12 science students — Priyanka Rola, Mansirat Sandhu and Oshara Gunadasa— watched Venus crossing the sun.

This is a rare occurrence.

Shana said she was overjoyed to win her scholarship and to see Venus at such an unusual time.

She said she wanted a science career, but was not sure in which area to specialise.

Simran too is hoping for a career in science.

“Science fascinates me, not just because it’s part of our everyday lives; mathematics applies to that too,” she said.

Mansirat said she loved to see what made the everyday world work.

“It’s interesting to focus on things that you take for granted every day, such as the sun, which is the key to all life down here,” she said.

“Science helps people too.

“Medical research saves a lot of lives.”

Oshara Gunadasa agreed.

“The fact that science is so much a part of our lives is fascinating,” she said.

Priyanka Rota said science explained the world in ways that meant we could no longer take it for granted.

CSIRO scientist Lisa Harvey-Smith visited Penrith High School for the occasion.

“I’ve been impressed with the girls’ maturity and confidence,” she said.

“It’s important that we have the knowledge and skills of scientists.

“Science and technology continue to be valuable to Australia’s economy.”

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