Bringing the Sun to Earth

Kinaesthetic Sun
Kinaesthetic Sun
Yes we did it!
Yes we did it!

St Cronans Stargazers St Cronans National School
Bray Co Wicklow
13:00 – 14:03 UT
May 4th 2012

May 4th 2012 14:03 UT Crepe Paper, Acrylic Paint, Washable Glue, Structure Gel and energy. Today in Bray Co Wicklow Ireland 16 boys from St Cronans National School brought the sun to Earth. Deirdre did some observations early in the day, but then because of cloud we took the rest of the information from ‘ the sun now’ on SDO. We added in Active Region 1471,with the large sunspot , some small filaments and some prominences. ( a bit of artistic licence there) We looked at the Earth to scale, we learnt about the Photosphere and the Chromosphere . We learnt about the Venus Transit. The event was part of Dublin City of Science 2012. The children did a great job and were very proud of their work. We carried our sun into the school singing ‘here comes the sun’ The Sun will be on exhibit for all the pupils to see and learn. The boys were members of St Cronans Stargazers the kids astronomy group based at the school. Action Sun – Lets bring the Sun to Earth by Deirdre Kelleghan Action Sun – is an indoor or outdoor activity which allows groups of children to participate in building a large solar disc or several solar discs. This Earth built sun mimics the Photosphere and Chromosphere of the sun, includes sunspots, filaments, and prominences present on the sun in real time. The materials are simple, paper, glue and paint. It is kinaesthetic participatory learning for young children. The activity educates and supports science through art and the creative process. We made the Sun on Earth and also learnt about the Venus Transit

Action Sun participantes were St Cronans Stargazers:
Sean S
Sean K

Deirdre Kelleghan
Discover Science and Engineering Science Ambassador 2012
Vice Chair IFAS
National Coordinator for Astronomers Without Borders
UNAWE rep Ireland
Pre Order Our Book on Lunar Sketching

A Sculptural Sketch

Archimedes and Environs
Archimedes and Environs

This is a “sculptural sketch” created at the eyepiece of my telescope. It started as a flattened rectangular slab of modeling clay about 1/4” inch thick and 11” by 13” in size. As I observed, I laid down thin strips of clay to form the glacis around each crater. I then used a butter knife to excavate the crater floors. I tried to keep in mind the true topographical relief of each feature. For example, Aristillus, the deepest crater is merely 5/16” deep from rim crest to floor. I “normalized” the sculpture by imagining what these features would look like if I were to see the view from directly above the area. The next morning, I sanded white and black dry pastels into a powder that was blended and applied by sponge to approximate the albedo features. What really surprised and delighted me was that despite the shallowness of the surface details, when the light source was adjusted to approximate the phase, the highlights and shadows created a very realistic scene. As I was working, I remembered Nasmyth and Carpenter’s beautiful plaster sculptures of the Moon for their classic The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite (1885); page 114 shows their exquisite sculpture of this area.

Sculptural sketch details:

Subject: Archimedes and environs Rukl: 12, 22
Date: 7-31-09 Time: 0540-0730 UT
Location: Jacumba, California
Antoniadi III Weather: Clear and calm
Telescope: 12” Meade LX200 SCT with UHTC
Binoviewer: Denkmeier Model DII SCT 2X
Eyepieces: Pentax 20mm XW
Magnification: 152X and 305X
Medium: Modeling clay sculpture with dry pastel powder
Sculpture size: 11” x 13”

Modeling the Moon

Inspired by the beautiful model of Archimedes by Richard Handy, I organized a clay workshop during the weekly gathering of our local astronomy club a few weeks ago.
Modeling the Moon is not new at all. The Scottish engineer and inventor James Nasmyth (1808-1890) already made some impressive plaster models of the Moon based on his visual observations. More information on this can be found on the internet, check it out!

Chosen subject for my sculpture was Tycho, since the Japanese Selene mission (Jaxa) yielded some extremely detailed pictures of this crater – available for everyone on the web. Alternative option would be crater Clavius.

Armed with only primitive tools (bare hands and a wooden clothes-peg) to work with, and no experience in clay-modeling (occasional childhood experience set aside) a group of 15 enthusiasts bravely accepted the challenge. After about 90 minutes of hard work combined with healthy doses of humor and self-relativism everyone was quite impressed with the result. You really should try this yourself!

The attached photos are unfortunately not the best quality, however they provide a good impression of what to be expected. Hope you like it!

Thanks at Paul Aka for correcting my English.

Clear skies
Jef De Wit

Object Type and Name: crater Tycho and Clavius
Date: 5 May 2011
Medium: clay, hands and a clothes-peg