Sep 11

Solar Sketch September 1st - Astronomy Education Outreach Podcast - What's Up for September 2011 - GRAIL to the Moon

September 1st 2011 Solar Sketch East limb proms,Active Region 1283 , Fibrils show Magnetic field lines
Large filament. 10:50 UT
PST 40 / 8 mm TVP eyepiece - 50 X
Pastel , Conte, Pencil on black paper 

There were  several  proms on the solar limb that morning but these busy proms  on the eastern limb seemed to be the most interesting to me. Some of the magnetic field lines around AR 1283  stood out for several seconds in good detail so I sketched them in with pencil over the pastel. That's why they appear a little shiny as pencil does that  when used over pastel. Fibrils in the suns chromosphere  line up along magnetic field lines giving up  secret invisible information about their shape and extent of some of  the magnetic activity in the Active Regions.

Obviously I am re tuning and re focusing the telescope constantly  to capture all these features on the same plain , on a piece of paper. The sketch is CD size.




Science Chat talks to astronomer and artist Deirdre Kelleghan about her prize winning Deadly Moons project, and the book she's co-authored, Sketching The Moon  an Astronomical Artists Guide - Link below
Follow Deirdre on Twittr @skysketcher

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Aug 11

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, publishers of Science Magazine, Honours Deirdre Kelleghan for her ‘Deadly Moons’ Drawing Workshop with the Prestigious SPORE Award.

Deadly Moons an interactive drawing workshop for children created by by EAAE's Irish National Representative Deirdre Kelleghan has been recognised for its educational value by Science Magazine, the publication of The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Deadly Moons is an interactive drawing workshop. It teaches children aged 6 – 12 about our moon and some of the other exotic moons in our solar system. Deirdre Kelleghan created ‘Deadly Moons’ in March 2008, she found that children had a very positive reaction to it. The title of the workshop was inspired from the local dialect children use in Ireland, they have said to her ‘that’s deadly’ when they looked at the moon through her telescope.  ‘To children the word ‘Deadly’ means ‘Totally Amazing’, therefore it was an already welcoming positive word and that’s the appeal of the title’ - says Deirdre.

It is Deirdre’s belief ‘that awareness of our moon and the Universe in general should be fundamental to the education of young children.  When I found that UNAWE were looking for downloadable resources, I was delighted to offer the Deadly Moons workshop to them as they could reach more children than I could ever do’.

Deirdre Kelleghan’s Deadly Moons workshop has been welcomed in Schools and Observatories in Ireland. The Irish Girl Guide movement has also embraced the workshop in their Centenary Year.  So too have many County Libraries in various locations in Ireland.  The Draiocht Arts Centre heralded the Deadly Moons workshop as a very successful community exhibition. Deirdre was also invited to give her Deadly Moon workshop by the Astronomical League and the Observers Society of New York at Hofstra University,USA.

The Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) has been established to encourage innovation and excellence in education, as well as to encourage the use of high-quality on-line resources by students, teachers, and the public.

Deirdre’s Deadly Moon workshop shares the SPORE award with UNAWE i.e. Universe Awareness for Young Children

Deirdre goes on to say that she ‘ is very honoured indeed to receive this recognition and she offers special thanks to The Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, Blackrock Castle Observatory and Dublin City Libraries for their nominations.’  Several schools have used Deirdre’s workshops to enhance their applications for Discover Science and Engineering’s - Primary Science Award.

Carolina Ödman-Govender, international project manager for UNAWE between 2005 and 2010. “We are delighted to share this prize with Deadly Moons, which is also one of the most popular activities contributed to the UNAWE website

UNAWE and Deirdre Kelleghan’s ‘Deadly Moons’ have been working together since 2008. According to the present UNAWE International Project Manager, Pedro Russo, “Deadly Moons and other educational materials are uploaded regularly to the UNAWE web site, so that they can be distributed, adapted and translated for use in other countries.

Previous laureates of the SPORE Award have been: MIT Open Courseware and The Periodic Table of Videos.

You can find out more about UNAWE and Deadly Moons in the SPORE essay published on August 26th online and in Science Magazine - One of the World’s Leading Scientific Journals.


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Aug 11

The Sky by Eye from Durrus Co Cork Ireland plus What's Up for August 2011 - Windy Worlds plus Juno to Jupiter


A drawing of the night sky in Durrus Co Cork n Persei to a Cyg

August 17th /18th    2010

Time : 23:45 UT - 00:45 UT

August 2010 I was staying in a cute house  close to the village of Durrus in Co Cork. This little place is the gateway to exploring the outstanding Sheeps Head peninsula.  The night sky down there was seriously beautiful to the eye; one did not need a telescope to enjoy it.


Earlier in the evening I had a look into Sagittarius before it got too low, then as the night followed on I was inspired to do a naked eye drawing of the sky above my head.




To give me the best option for a sketch I retreated to the back garden, away from the car park lights. I turned off the lights in the house; the village light pollution was minimal. Dark adaption came to me in about 25 minutes, and death would come to anybody who turned on a light.

Bliss greeted my eyes as the wonders of the summer sky opened up for me, the seeing was good.
We had brought along comfy canvas beach chairs, one of these was fine to sink into and observe.  My tools for the drawing were a sheet of black paper, a clip board, a white gel pen, finely grated white pastel, blending stick ,cotton wool,  and a red head light.

My working area was the star n Persei and from that visualy  along the galaxy  to a Cyg. I carefully added the stars in each visible  constellation .  Larger brighter dots according to magnitude and so on and so forth till I had a star map on my paper which mirrored the sky above my head and toward the North East. The Double Cluster and Andromeda were crystal clear naked eye objects, not usual from my home garden at all. The placement of these objects was very helpful in lining up significant stars like alpha Cyg ie Deneb in the constellation Cygnus and all the stars that made  paths in the sky to each other.

A small wad of cotton wool loaded carefully with finely grated white pastel was how I added the magnificent Milky Way and all its visible star laden tendrils. When my drawing was almost finished a long trailing Perseid shot from n Persei, went flying past Cassiopeia and ended its journey just short of   delta Cep . At its leading end for a nano second I noticed a sickle shaped flick of white. This meteor and its unusual flick was added into my drawing . It was a few weeks before I could look this up and discover that some Perseids produce visible bow shocks in front of themselves as they enter our atmosphere.  However so far I have only come across records of Perseids bow shocks that were caught on film, so would love to know if anyone has seen one by eye while observing. skysketcher@gmail.com

Deirdre Kelleghan

What's Up for August 2011 Windy Worlds and JUNO to Jupiter

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Jul 11

NASA launched free NASA App for Android

Source: NASA

NASA has launched the free NASA App for Android (TM), a new application designed for mobile devices that run the open source Android platform.

The NASA App is available for free on Android MarketTM at:

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Jun 11

Reproducing Eratosthenes' Experiment

Once again in 2011 EAAE has launched Eratosthenes Experiment. This year was coordinated by Anna Artigas and Guido Robotti.

On June 21st, 2011, school teachers and students from all over Europe made their measurements and launched the results on the EAAE's webpage of the project. Some teachers also participated on the videoconference promoted for schools to cooperate about the event.

Students measuring the shadow of a gnomon at Legnica, Poland.

Most schools, from Northern Europe to Southern Europe were able to measure the shadow of the Sun due to good weather conditions in most of Europe. Only Stafford Grammar School in the United Kingdom reported bad weather conditions.

A School Group measuring the shadow of a gnomon at Batalha, Portugal.

Nonetheless the measurement of average of Earth's perimeter was 39864.64 km, a measurement that has a 0.358% error compared to the accepted value of 40007.86 km for the meridional perimeter.

During the video conference that was controlled by Alexandre Costa and Jordi Delpeix Borrell, students from different schools shared their results and the motivation they had in participating this event. All of them showed the interest in participating next year.

A scene from the beginning of the videoconference with some of the participants.

Students had possibility of presenting pictures and some schools also presented videos they already had posted on YouTube about the event.

Sharing a YouTube video nearly at the end of the videoconference..

We hope next edition of Eratosthenes is even better.

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Jun 11

NASA online videos provide new approach to teach Science to Public

Source: NASA News

A screenshot of NASA's YouTube video site

NASA's new video series offers the public a fast and fun way to learn about scientific discoveries and facts about Earth, the solar system and beyond.

Called "ScienceCasts," the videos are created by an astrophysicist and a team of agency narrators and videographers. The videos are posted online every Thursday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. EDT. The format is designed to increase understanding of the world of science through simple, clear presentations.

Future episodes will focus on citizen science research; the search for new galaxies; how to watch this summer's Perseid meteor shower; and the causes of recent wild weather events in the United States.

NASA's Science Mission Directorate seeks new knowledge and understanding of Earth, the sun, solar system and the universe. The directorate also constantly looks for inventive ways to reach out to the public via museums, classrooms, science centers and home schools.

To view the latest videos science online, visit:


For a complete list of ScienceCast episodes, visit:


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Jun 11

ESA releases Space App for iPhone and iPod

Source: ESA

ESA Application for iPhone and iPad. Image credit: ESA.

Space in your pocket…and also on your tablet! The new ESA iPhone or iPad application, or ‘App’, can now deliver a wealth of information on ESA missions, videos, images and news updates, at your fingertips. (read more)

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May 11

ESA launches Cool Comet campaign

Link: ESA News

Giotto's 1986 encounter with Comet Halley.
Credits: Halley Multicolor Camera Team, Giotto Project, ESA

ESA has lauched a new campaign for comet lovers. If  you use Twitter and you are intrigued by comets  you will have the opportunity of a lifetime to win a trip to ESA's operations centre in Germany on 15 June and celebrate 25 years of comet exploration. (learn  more)

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Mar 11

The Big Moon Ball Project & NASA Solar System Exploration Page Honour for Me

Children from St Cronans Stargazers draw moon phases

The Big Moon Ball Project – A work in progress

The Moon? The Moon? How on Earth do you explain the Moon to small children?  In many other talks I had done so in graphic from and with images but wanted to try something different. I figured I would have a go at an interactive workshop in a field, as one would of course.

Made me a Moon ball and put it on a stand, borrowed a super two million candle torch, put it on a stand.  Then I invited my new astronomy group St Cronans Stargazers to join me at our usual place.  As it was midterm a small but smiling group turned up, perfect for a first run!  We pretended the torch was the sun and the children were the Earth and I became the Moon.  For the first orbit of the Earth I spoke about the phase they see from the Earth as they looked at me (the Moon Ball) moving from New to First Quarter, then Full, then Last Quarter, then back to New.

The children got the idea very quickly as the sun (torch) illuminated the phases while they (the Earth) turned in unison in the field at the end of my road. The Big Moon Ball beamed the moons phases into their eyes.  Clip boards and paper were provided for the second orbit of the Earth .The children sketched the four main Moon phases as they happened and wrote down the names. The parents were very helpful, standing at the points of the phases and also helping the children see their clipboards and their drawings in the dark.

Of course this workshop would be so much more powerful if the Moon was in the sky at the same time. I am continuing to develop the activity; it suits the Irish cloudy sky syndrome and is also an indoor workshop.  Every child wanted to hold the Moon Ball and help put it in the car afterwards. A whole bunch of fun was over in a blink the children had lovely practical drawings for their folders, and were on their way to understanding the Moons movements.

The Big Moon Ball Project was welcomed by Engineers Ireland as part of Engineers Week Ireland
Huge thanks to my husband Bernard for help with the sun and for taking the photographs.
The Moon Ball is getting an upgrade, the far side is being painted in now and the near side is developing more details, craters, rays and mountains.  More images on my website here

Cool News /  Hot Stuff

NASA Solar System Exploration Page I am really delighted and honoured to have  my Solar Dynamics Observatory  inspired painting on the site for the month of March ,check it out. !!

Deirdre Kelleghan


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Feb 11

Second stage of the Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay has been launched

Source: Star Challenge

In early February, the second phase of the Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay began. This event is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first manned flight into space by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The “Star Challenge” became known to the world at last year's official launch ceremony in Paris, which was held at the Russian representation at UNESCO. More than 50 thousand young people from all over the world took part in the first round, with the most active among them being adolescents from Russia, the USA, India, France and other countries.

The Worldwide Astro Relay aims to stimulate youth from around the world to take a greater interest in outer space and space-related issues, bringing it to a new level. The most popular topics, as expressed by the participants in the Astro Relay, include the environment, space exploration, and promoting friendship with extraterrestrial civilisations.

The site of the Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay, found at www.starchallenge.org, consists of a large number of topical interactive rubrics: “CosmoBrainers” is the main section, where most inquisitive participants of the Olympiad are able to demonstrate their knowledge in the spheres of physics, astronomy and mathematics; “CosmoWriters” is the creative part, which involves a variety of posts on a given topic; “CosmoArtists” is a section where participants in the Astro Relay represent their world in a popular way – through comics. Participants also have the opportunity to obtain answers to the most interesting questions from a number of legendary cosmonauts, including the first man to walk in space, two-time Hero of the Soviet Union Alexei Leonov, Hero of the Soviet Union Georgi Grechko, Hero of the Soviet Union Alexander Serebrov, in addition to many others.

In the second stage of the Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay, apart from demonstrating their theoretical knowledge, participants will also have the opportunity to express their imagination through creative projects, modelling and simulation projects, etc. In cooperation with Microsoft, in the “CosmoWriters” part of the competition, participants can make posts involving the use of unique images of outer space, taken with the WorldWide Telescope. The second stage of the “CosmoArtists” competition involves the realisation of a science fiction theme in cinematic form.

Following the second round and the final distance-based stage, the 20 top-ranking participants of the “Star Challenge” will be chosen. These fortunate enthusiasts will be able to attend the finals in Paris. The absolute winner will be given the opportunity to attend and observe a unique space launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The winners in the categories “CosmoArtists” and “CosmoWriters” will receive trendy multimedia devices.

The Worldwide “Star Challenge” Astro Relay is being carried out within the framework of the “Star Odyssey” educational programme of the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (ROSSOTRUDNICHESTVO) with the support of the Federal Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS), as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Submitted by Maria Kravchenko


Star Challenge's webpage

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