Mar 15

20th EAAE Summer School 2015

EAAE Summer Schools for Teachers

London, England, 20th July to 24th July 2015.

The European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) is collaborating with the Royal Astronomical Society to organize the 20th EAAE Summer School for Teachers under the theme — Universe in the Classroom. The Summer School will take place from Monday 20th July 2015 to Friday 24th July, Burlington House, that is the home of the Royal Astronomical Society. Burlington House is located in the center of London near the Ritz Hotel, Fortnum & Masons and Eros in Piccadilly and shares the courtyard with the Royal Academy of Arts and their gallery.

The Summer School will explore several themes in astronomy didactic appropriate for teaching since very early ages until college.

Topics since Earth, Moon and Sun relations, atmospheres of the planets, basic concepts of astrophysics, brightness of variable and binary stars, and how do work astronomical imaging in the classroom are the topics of some of the workshops of the Summer School. Since 2015 is the International of Light and Light-based Technologies there will also be a specific workshop concerning the major physical phenomena and properties of light and their application in astronomy.

Highlights include an expedition to Greenwich and guest lectures by Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, Astronomer Royal (The next 20 years in Astronomy) and Prof. Martin Barstow, President of the Royal Astronomical Society (European Space Astronomy).

Astronomical observations are also programmed (if the weather conditions allow them). Astronomical lectures will be presented by lecturers from Universities and research centers. The registration fee is 100 (72.5 GBP) euros before the 1st of June 2015.

Between the 1st of June and the 1st of July registration fee will be 150 euros (108.5 GBP).

After this date registration fee will be 200 euros (145 GBP).

The fee covers all astronomical activities and materials. The meals, transport and accommodation are on the participant’s responsibility and not included in the fee. If participants want a sandwich lunch the price for the 4 days (except Greenwich day) is 27£.

The Summer School can have a maximum 60 participants.

This Summer School is done in Association with IAU and NASE.


Registration should be made using the form at the following link


After making your registration the participation fee must transferred to the bank account with the following data

Holder                  EAAE
Bank                    Kreissparkasse München Starnberg BLZ 702 501 50
Account Number  10815850
IBAN                    DE21 7025 0150 0010 8158 50
Swift / BIC             BYLADEM1KMS

Your registration will only be complete when your fee is payed.


  • Fee before the 1st of June - 100 euros (72.5 GBP).
  • Fee from 1st of June to the 1st of July registration- 150 euros (108.5 GBP).
  • Fee after the 1st of July - 200 euros (145 GBP).
  •  Sandwich lunch for the 4 days  at the Royal Astronomical Society (except Greenwich day) is 27£.


Note for Erasmus+ applicants

To apply for Erasmus+, participants should apply on the Key Action 1 (KA1) — Learning mobility of individuals, and present the European Association for Astronomy Education - EAAE as the course provider with the PIC 942480713. If required EAAE will provide a provisional registration to applicants.

Provisional Timetable


20 July


21 July


22 July


23 July


24 July

09:00/10:30 Introduction
and Opening S
Workshop 3 Greenwich Day
Workshop 6 Workshop 9
10:30/10:45 Tea/coffee Tea/coffee Departure for
Tea/coffee Tea/coffee
10:45/12:15 Workshop 1 Workshop 4 Greenwich Workshop 7 Workshop 10
12:15/13:30 Lunch Lunch Greenwich Lunch Lunch
13:30/14:30 Lecture 1 Lecture 2 Greenwich  LEcture 3
M. Rees
14:30/14:45 Tea/coffee Tea/coffee Greenwich Tea/coffee Tea/coffee
14:45/16:15 Workshop 2 Workshop 5 Greenwich Workshop 8  Assessment and
closing S
17:00  Walking Tour 1  Walking Tour 2



  1. The Next 20 years in Astronomy, Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal.
  2. European Space Astronomy, Martin Barstow, President, RAS.
  3. Odysseus, Alexandre da Costa, President, EAAE.

Topics of Workshops

  1. International year of light, Alexandre da Costa.
  2. Chemical Travel trough planetary atmospheres. Episode I, Josep Coromines.
  3. Chemical travel trough planetary atmospheres. Episode II, Josep Coromines.
  4. Parallel Earth, Rosa M. Ros.
  5. Sun and stars in our sky – a demonstrator, Sakari Ekko.
  6. Solar demonstrators, Rosa M. Ros.
  7. Brightness of variable and binary stars, Ederlinda Viñuales Gavín.
  8. What causes the seasons on Earth? Seasons on other planets in the Solar System, Ederlinda Viñuales Gavín.
  9. Astronomical imaging in the classroom, Alexandre da Costa.
  10. Astrophysics The Basics, Alan Pickwick.



Address of Venue.

The Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House

Google Longitude and latitude:  51.508645, -0.139134

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Oct 14

Catch a Star 2015 contest is now available

The goal of the European Astronomy Contest Catch a Star is to stimulate the creativity and independent work of students, to strengthen and expand their astronomical knowledge and skills, and to help the spread of information technologies in the educational process.


For more information about the contest please visit the official site at http://www.eaae-astronomy.org/catchastar/

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Sep 14

EAAE Eratosthenes Project 2014

Presentation_Img0 Presentation_Img2 Presentation_Img3

logo_afa EratostenesBrasil

The EAAE has associated to the Physics Department José Juan Gambiagi, of Buenos Aires, IAU, the Asociación Física Argentina and the Projeto Eratostenes Brasil to perform a worldwide Eratostenes Experiment using data from schools all around the world.

To allow the simultaneous participation of schools from northern and southern hemispheres that have different school calendars, the experiment shall be reproduced on the autumn equinox that will occur on September 21st , 2014.

On a window of dates between September 18th and September 24th, 2014 the schools must measure the shadow of the Sun as it passes the local meridian, as explained on the links of the Main Menu on the left side of this page.

EAAE has performed this Experiment in the past with students all around Europe in 1997 and in 2010, and this year's event marks the beginning of the annual basis of the project in EAAE's strategy. The Physics Department José Juan Gambiagi, of Buenos Aires, that has been performing this experiment in South America in the last years (learn more at http://df.uba.ar/eratostenes) and will be responsible for the database of all measurements.

To make your registration plese visit http://www.eaae-astronomy.org/eratosthenes/

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Aug 14

Second ESO Astronomy Camp for Secondary School Students


The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and its Science Outreach Network are collaborating with the science communication event organiser Sterrenlab to arrange the second ESO Astronomy Camp — Measuring the Universe. The camp will take place from 26 December 2014 to 1 January 2015 at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, located in Saint-Barthelemy, Nus, Italy. Several partners, including ESO, are providing bursaries that will be awarded to the winning applicants.

The camp will explore the theme of distances in astronomy through lectures, hands-on activities, and nighttime observations with the telescopes and instruments at the observatory. Social activities, winter sports, and excursions will contribute to making the camp a memorable experience for the participants. ESO will be responsible for the scientific programme for the ESO Astronomy Camp, and will provide lecturers and material together with several other partners.

A registration fee of 500 euros covers full board accommodation at the hostel in Saint Barthelemy, supervision by professional staff, all astronomical and leisure activities, materials, excursions, internal transport, and insurance. Bus transport between the observatory and the airport of Milan Malpensa will be provided. The fee does not include travel costs between the student’s home and Milan Malpensa or Saint Barthelemy.

The camp will accommodate a maximum of 56 secondary school students aged between 16 and 18 (born in the years 1996/7/8) from the ESO Member States and ESO Science Outreach Network countries. A limited number of places will be available to students from other countries, but they will not be eligible to receive the ESO bursaries.

Students wishing to apply should fill out the form on the Camp website before 20 October 2014. Eligible students who wish to apply for a bursary should in addition send a one-page text or a video explaining why they deserve to win. The selection of the candidates will take place on 31 October 2014. Final confirmation from the participants that they will attend will be due by 10 November 2014. The selection criteria and other instructions for participation are given on the Camp website.

EAAE: Cristina Palici di Suni (palici@quadricom.org)

Info: cristina.olivotto@gmail.com

More information HERE (at ESO website).

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Dec 13

EAAE elected Executive Council and Working Group Chairpersons at General Assembly

At the end of the EAAE Winter School held in Enontekio, Finland, the EAAE General Assembly has elected, on December 30th, the members  of the Executive Council

The new Executive Council da EAAE has the following composition:

Alexandre Costa (Portugal) - President
Veselka Radeva (Bulgaria) - Vice-President
Alan Pickwick (UK) - Treasurer
Cristina Pallici di Suni (Italy) - Secretary
Miguel Neta (Portugal) - Editor/Webmaster
Ederlinda Viñuales (Spain) - Member of the board
Irma Hannula (Finland) - Member of the board
Janet Hilton (UK) - Member of the board
Sakari Ekko (Finland) - Member of the board

By proposal of the new EAAE President the former President Rosa Maria Ros was nominated Honorary President, an honour only given to Richard West (former Director of ESO) and Ferdinand Wagner (President of the EAAE between 2002 and 2009) in the past.

The EAAE General Assembly also decided which would be the active Working Groups for the next  three years and selected their Chairpersons from people that have an historical relation in the work with these working groups.
The Working Groups Coordination was established as follows:
Ederlinda Viñuales (Spain) - Chairperson of WG1 - School Projects
Luana Fogli (Italy) - Chairperson of WG2 - Teacher's Network
Rosa Maria Ros (Spain) - Chairperson of WG3 - Teacher Summer Schools

The General Assembly wished the best of luck to all the new members in promoting the education of Astronomy in Europe.

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Dec 13

General Assembly Announcement

According to the EAAE Statute it will be held the General Assembly at Enontekiö, Finland on Monday 30th December at 15:00.


Agenda for the General Assembly of the EAAE

Approval of the Minutes of the General Assembly held in Madrid on the 1st December 2009.

1)     Report of the President for the period 2010 to 2012 inclusive.

2)     Report of the Treasurer for the period 2010 to 2012 inclusive.

3)     Report of the Secretary for the period 2010 to 2012 inclusive.

4)     Report of the Web Master for the period 2010 to 2012 inclusive.

5)     Report on Summer and Winter Schools for the period 2010 to 2012 inclusive.

6)     Election of Officers and General Committee Members.

7)     Open discussion.

8)     Close of the General Assembly.

Each member can contribute to the discussion sending by e-mail the proposals :

to the national representatives or

to the President Rosa M. Ros (ros@ma4.upc.edu ) or

to the secretary Cristina Palici di Suni (palici@quadricom.org )

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Oct 13

EAAE Winter School 2013 registrations are open

EAAE Winter School 2013

Enontekiö, Finland, 28-30 December 2013

The Winter School will be organized by the EAAE-WG3.

This Winter School is open to all teachers who work in primary and secondary schools in European countries. The School will be held next December in Finland (Lapland). The Winter School will take place on 3 days in the last week of this year (28.-30.12. 2013) in Enontekiö in Lapland. Registration fee is 50 Euros.

During the Winter School teachers will attend general lectures, workshops and daily observational sessions. Participants should wrap up warm during these sessions because of the cold weather. Note that though Sun never rises and daylight of dawn is only seen for a very short period at this time of the year in Enontekio(learn more), observation sessions can only be held during the Winter School if weather conditions are good.

Instructors at the Winter School will be members of EAAE-WG3, and they come from different countries in Europe. The theme of this Winter School is Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights.

Professor Rosa Maria Ros (ros@ma4.upc.edu) is the Chairperson of EAAE-WG3 and should be contacted for any doubts.

Travel info: The nearest airport to Enontekiö is Kittilä.

There are few flights from Helsinki to Kittilä in one day. The internal Travel Agency will arrange a connection flight from your country to Kittilä via Helsinki.

For accomodation you should consider the hotel Hetan Majatalo as follows:

  • accommodation in Double room costs 61 €/person/day including breakfast,dinner and sauna;
  • accommodation in Single room 82 e/person/day including breakfast,dinner and sauna.

In order to guarantee your accomodation and prices presented your registration should be sent to Rosa Maria Ros (ros@ma4.upc.edu) until October 15th. Registration form can be downloaded here.

Lunch can be served extra
in the following ways

  • in the hotel Hetan Majatalo 12-13;
  • outdoor lunch: you can take a set of sandwiches, coffee/tea/juice and bisquits with you in the morning for the price of 7 €.

Of course it is always possible to lunch in the some other place.

The EAAE-WG3 wish you very welcome to the Winter School in Finland 2013!

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Aug 13

Never Ending Night Project

Hole SkyTry to imagine the people of the world: their wishes, dreams, and hopes for success or peace. Everyone. Imagine if we could see them all together, at the same time, looking up on their terraces or roofs, looking out their windows, or looking to the open sky in the fields, on the decks of ships or the tops of mountains. Think of them with their nose pointed up at the stars, each with their own wish ready to be made.

A group of italian artists is trying to make this utopic idea become a reality.

Learn more at http://neverendingnightproject.blogspot.it/.

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Jul 13

Winter School announced for FINLAND in 2013

EAAE has the pleasure to announce a Winter School that is going to be held at Enontekio (Finland) between December 28th and December 30th, 2013.

Lapland is  one of the most probable places to see aurora borealis as you have a nearly 24 hour night. It's also an opportunity to see an all around northern hemisphere sky.


If you are interested in learning more about how to participate and funding you should contact Rosa Maria Ros (the EAAE Astronomy Schools coordinator) by email (ros@ma4.upc.edu).

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Jul 13

EAAE "Catch a Star" winners announced

The winners of the "Catch a Star" contest of 2013 have been announced by the juri responsible for the graduation of the projects.

You can learn all about the prizes and the projects that won here.

Catch a Star is a contest that has been held as a result of the collaboration between the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) and European Southern Observatory (ESO).

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Apr 13

Vatican Astronomer Br Guy Consolmagno inspires young Irish Astronomers

St.Cronans Stargazers Astronomy Club Bray Co Wicklow with Vatican Astronomer Br Guy Consolmagno and Deirdre Kelleghan
Image Bernard Kelleghan

St Cronans National School Bray had a very special visitor on Wednesday March 20. None other than the Vatican Astronomer Br Guy Consolmagno SJ. Originally I had invited him to drop in and shake hands with St Cronans Stargazers our astronomy club, but he very generously offered to give a talk on astronomy for the whole school. 500 boys and their teachers were treated to a wonderfully pitched talk about the Vatican Observatory, the pope’s interest in the subject, the wonders of astronomy and all things that give joy in the vast universe in which we live.

The boys asked very intelligent questions, Br Guy gave them a listening ear, and his answers inspired and intrigued the entire audience. Br Guy Consolmagno SJ is an American research astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory. He presented Principal Maeve Tierney with  a signed copy of his famous book Turn Left at Orion for the school library.

Br Guy was delighted to visit Bray, after lunch in the Martello and a walk on the prom he dipped his hands in the Irish Sea, a rare moment for him in his busy global speaking schedule.

I first met Br Guy back in 2005 at the Whirlpool Star Party, at the time I had no clue who he was but we had a warm conversation about binoculars and observing. I was invited to this premier event  to give a talk about  Enceladus ( one of Saturn’s ice moons) and found out  next day that Guy was there to deliver a talk about Turn Left at Orion.

We met up again during International Year of Astronomy 2009. Br Guy was on a speaking tour in Ireland. The first of his talks was at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies and Dunsink Observatory, followed by Gonzaga College.  We then continued on to COSMOS (Now - Irelands leading Star Party) in Tullamore and then to Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. If my memory serves me right, Br Guy delivered six different talks in five days to varying audiences. Everyone of them was a polished gem in communicating the science and wonder  of astronomy.  

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Jul 12

Action Sun at St Pauls Senior Girls School Dublin 12 - What's up for July 2012 from Jane Houston Jones

3rd class girls St Pauls Senior Girls NS Greenhills Dublin 12
We built the sun at school

3rd class girls St Pauls Senior Girls NS Greenhills Dublin 12
We built the sun at school

St Pauls Senior Girls National School in Greenhill’s Dublin 12 is just a few minutes’ walk from the house where I grew up.  It was fortuitous to have the opportunity to carry out my third Action Sun for a school in this area.

On June 25th 47 young girls from third class, took part in building the sun. This was a very positive group all eager to get going and get busy. Streamers of orange and red paper flew through the air in vast amounts. In a short time the photosphere began to grow in the schools courtyard.

The activity of Action Sun supports the school curriculum in its art as it uses mixed media to create the sun. The program uses paint and paper to convey activity and explosive movement on the solar disc. Action Sun also supports primary school art as it enables children to use the characteristics of the materials to make structures and features on the solar disc. Making the sun in this way is both creative and explorative. Learning a little science through the arts facilitates the use of many kinds of intelligences.  The learning process in the making is as valuable as the finished suns. Textures and spatial   organisation also comes into the creation of this work. The girls at St Pauls School were very good at working as a group, helping each other out. They also made good decisions during the activity which showed they were an excellent team. This is kinesthetic learning, learning by doing.

Action Sun compliments science in the primary school curriculum on several levels.   A short information talk in between making the suns features informs the children about our suns role in the solar system. We talk about the scale of the sun and the Earth. We talk about the energy of the sun and its function in relation to the other planets.  The mini talks make sure that the children understand that the sun is our main source of heat and light.  By building the sun the children learn by hands on investigation. The children literally explore the physical features of the sun with their hands in mini scale. A quick review of the evaluation sheets shows the quality of the learning. Several children not only drew sketches of the complex sun but also put in arrows to the different features and labelled them all correctly. The action of throwing the paper was very popular, signing their names was also a highlight and for some children carrying the sun into the hall was the stand out moment of the day.

When I look at the sun in my solar telescope I see a huge amount of detail and very often in the past I have shared that view with children. However it takes a long time to show this view to a large group as the sun presents as a small disc with tiny features. It is difficult for children to comprehend the enormous scale of our nearest star.  I put Action Sun together to bridge that gap and help more people achieve some understanding of this wonderful star in safety with a big fun element.

The features of the sun itself were totally new to this young group, but at the end of the programme words like photosphere, chromosphere, filaments, prominences and sunspots were all a little more familiar. We closed our eyes at the end of the build and held our faces up to the sun to feel its heat and remind ourselves that it takes eight minutes for its light to get to us here on Earth, a 93 million mile smile. Building the sun took about 90 minutes. The 7.9 X 4.9 meter tarpaulin was pre prepared at home using four litres of matte black masonry paint. During  the activity we used approx 3,500 individual pre cut  pieces of crepe paper ,15 litres of washable  PVA glue, 6 litres of yellow paint , 1 litre of red paint,  plus the energy of forty seven eight and nine year old third class girls.

My thanks to Sarah Jayne Reid for setting up Action Sun at St Pauls and to Phil Curran for all her efforts prior to, during and post the build. Thanks to Ms Keating, Ms Daly and Principal Sr Maureen for their support during the activity.  NASA Sun Earth Day bookmarks, posters and other educational material were provided to the teachers.  The solar feature data for this Action Sun was an observation of the disc made from my PST earlier that morning.  The Solar Dynamics Observatory website was pointed out to the girls so they could continue to watch the sun safely.


More images on my blog here

Whats Up for July 2012 from Jane Houston Jones

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Jun 12

Sunrise Project 2012 Results Released

Close to the 2012 Spring Equinox students from several schools all around Europe have built pinhole cameras by themselves. The pinhole cameras were made of matt-black cardboard and other simple material using a design scheme that was provided by Sakari Ekko the project coordinator.

The pictures from these observations have now been released and are presented next. All images are copyright of the authors.

Photo 1

Location: Muonio, Finland 67.95º N 23.65º E
Date: 23.-28.3.2012
Teacher: Manu Vuontisjarvi
e-mail: manu.vuontisjarvi(at)pp.inet.fi

Photo 2

Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia 46.05º N 14.53º E
Date: around 21.3.2012
School: Trnovo Primary School
Team: Astro Trnovo
Teacher: Igor Gajser
Team members: Jakob Robnik, Vid Rotvejn Pajič, Benjamin Kušar
e-mail: igor.gajser(at)ostrnovo.sl

Photos 3 - 5

Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia 45.97º N 14.66º E
Date: 27.3.2012
School: Jože Plečnik Grammar School Ljubljana
Teacher: Boris Kham
Team members: Rok Pučnik, Jurij Šteblaj, Gal Gračanin, Jan Šmalc
e-mail: astroboris(at)khamikaze.net

Photo 6

Location: Belfiore, Verona, Italy 45.37º N 11.00º E
Date: around 21.3.2012
Team: Quarks
Teacher: Massimo Bubani
e-mail: massimo.bubani(at)gmail.com

Photo 7

Location: Chorzow, Poland 50.30º N 18.95º E
Date: 23.-27.3.2012
Teacher: Iwona Gawor, Malgorzata Nicewicz
Team members: Mariusz Ciesielski, Kamil Karkowski, Dominik Kołodziejczyk
e-mail: zstnr2(at)zstnr2.pop.pl

Photo 8

Location: Bytom, Poland 50.34º N 18.00º E
Date: 23.-28.3.2012
Teacher: Iwona Gawor, Malgorzata Nicewicz
Team members: Mariusz Ciesielski, Kamil Karkowski, Dominik Kołodziejczyk
e-mail: zstnr2(at)zstnr2.pop.pl

Photos 9 – 10

Location: Haskovo, Bulgaria 41.9º N 25.5º E
Date: around 21.3.2012
School: Astronomical Club “Helios”
Team: Helios
Teacher: Yoanna Kokotanekova
Team members: Yovelina Vasileva Zinkova, Radostina Boykova Velevska, Ivana Dimitrova Yankova,Dimitar Pavlov Kanaliev, Alexander Sashev Milchev, Bayryam Mustafa Bayryamali, Victoria Slavcheva Milcheva, Plamen Krasenov Dinev, Kristina Rumenova Daneva, Vanesa Rumenova Dimitrova, Petya Atanasova Atanasova, Nikoleta Dimitrova Nikolova, Evelina Kostadinova Dimitrova, Yordanka Ivanova Stoyanova, Elitsa Georgieva Dimova, Anton Angelov Angelov, Stamo Nikolaev Valchev
e-mail: jkokotanekova(at)gmail.com

Photos 11 - 12

Location: Haskovo, Bulgaria 41.9º N 25.5º E
Date: around 21.3.2012
School: Astronomical Observatory by Youth Center Haskovo
Team: Haskovo Stars
Teacher: Tsveta Stefanova Paranova
Team members: Mariela Dragomirova Dragieva, Dimitriya Yordanova Vasileva, Stefani Mladenova Dimitrova, Tanya Stanimirova Mihaylova, Daniela Galinova Dimitrova, Tsvetelina Yurieva Nardova, Elena Ivanova Nikolova, Dimitar Rumenov Kolev
e-mail: astrokonkurs(at)gmail.com

Some Information about the schools' work

You can find a report of the work developped by Jože Plečnik High School of Ljubljana in Slovenia here.

The images bellow show teachers Iwona Gawor and Malgorzata Nicewicz's team and some of their students working during the project.

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Jun 12

Action Sun – Lets bring the Sun to Earth © by Deirdre Kelleghan



As I approached the City of Kilkenny medieval towers and spires broke the dull May skyline. Pure yellow rapeseed fields painted sunshine on the landscape. Rich green wheat moved slowly in the cold breeze each side of the motorway.

At Kilkenny Castle on National Drawing Day my Action Sun participants were young families randomly stopping by and taking part for short periods.  Small children throwing crepe paper photosphere clumps with smiles on their tiny faces.  Just as well for the completion of the project that two boys Max Gronowski aged 12 and Daragh Lynch aged 12 got stuck into it from the start. They helped paint the acrylic / glue base, the root for two of the suns atmospheres.  As the solar build progressed my information spiel became simply a three and a half hour conversation with the boys. They asked questions, I answered; we discussed the photosphere as we threw our orange paint dipped paper targeting the empty spaces on this sixteen foot highly textured sun. They asked ‘where did the sun come from’? What will happen to the sun in the future?  How big is the sun? They could not wait to fill in the photosphere and move on to apply the chromosphere. We talked about solar telescopes, space telescopes, the dangers of looking at the sun, the Venus Transit, Apollo 11, becoming an astronaut, Mars, going to Mars, Mars Science Laboratory, photosynthesis, energy and light.  At that point Action sun had become a constructive dialogue with two very tenacious boys.  Some parents came to help for a while and we were joined for the last hour or so by Matthew Shortall aged 9 who helped to make our photosphere denser which on a solar disc of that diameter was a very big task. Daragh said it would be great if we had music to work by, ‘what kind of music?’ I asked,   Beethoven was the unexpected reply.

We had dragged the sun through the clouds and reproduced it on the ground.  Groups of adults got answers to ‘what’s going on here? Is that the sun?  ‘Ha ha I have not seen that for weeks’.  ‘Does it really look like that?’  ‘What are the black things?’

Max helped place the sunspots using my drawing made directly from the Solar Dynamics Observatory website at 09:02 IST. We made the filaments, I added the prominences; local papers took photographs of the creation.  The sun never showed its face at Kilkenny Castle that day but as each hour went by the sun on Earth was growing brighter every minute as our build continued.

Venus, a black polystyrene ball on the end of a stick, demonstrated the transit   as seen from Ireland against the newly created sun.  The Earth had escaped from my car earlier and spent   the day in the middle of my driveway.

We actually ran out of time, our photosphere big as it became, was just not dense enough and the boys knew it.  Our red thinly spaced solar chromospheric   paper   fluttered in the wind. Sticky hands and paint splattered tee shirts told the story of almost four hours of creative work.

For their wonderful effort I gave the boys NASA Sun Earth Day packs. They helped me give out Venus Transit information to all who passed by. Max, Darragh and Matthew signed their names proudly to the giant canvas as they had done most of the work. The 7.9 X 4.9 meter Action Sun will hang at Dunsink Observatory during Solarfest on June 23rd. The photosphere will be complete by then.

Action Sun first light was with St Cronans Stargazers children’s school club on May 4th 2012. Sixteen boys and I constructed an eight foot solar disc based on my early morning observations. This eager group worked on the sun interspaced by pockets of solar information delivered in short bursts which punctuated the action.   Link to blog

Action Sun was funded by Dublin City of Science 2012  and The Butler Gallery Kilkenny Castle , Kilkenny City. Action Sun was a NASA Sun Earth Day event also
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 ideally 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.

More images in my Blog

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Jun 12

Find a Sundial results announced

"Find a Sundial...Show it to us!" project has announced the winners of the Sundial Contest for the school year 2011-2012.

Group competition has been awarded to a school in Spain, while individual competition has been awarded to a Bulgarian student.

Learn more about the competition, the winners and see a gallery of sundials from this year's contest at http://www.eaae-astronomy.org/sundials-project/.


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Apr 12

News from Ireland

As the city gears up for Dublin: City of Science 2012, we take a journey with amateur astronomer and artist Deirdre Kelleghan whose equal passion for science and art is demonstrated in her work. Deirdre is a Discover Science and Engineering Science Ambassador 2012, Vice Chair of the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies, National Co-ordinator for Astronomers Without Borders, as well as being UNAWE rep in Ireland. Deirdre will also be contributing to the Dublin City Public Libraries programme of events for Dublin: City of Science 2012.

The city on a sun drenched day.  The Spire reflects and swirls the vibrant life of Dubliners mingled with mirrored   clouds and the dominant blue light from our nearest star. Flower sellers petals are jollied by the brightness.  Mica within the Liffey’s walls sparkle; ice cream melts down smiling faces. Celtic skin hovers in winters long lost vitamin, a gift from the sun, 93 million miles from the city. We enjoy our sophisticated fully functioning star, down here on one of the left over bits from its formation.

When we analyse light from our sun or any star we can see the arrangement of elements within its spectra.  Looking into a star’s pattern of elements is like looking at the code of that star, its personal finger print, its DNA.  Humans are bound together by the same elements which were created during   the birth and death of stars. Our essence is ultimately recycled throughout unimaginable eons of time, black space and accreted molecular clouds.

Read More here On Life and Light full version

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Apr 12

My April Blog - Astronomy to Inspire and Educate Young Children: EU Universe Awareness Workshop from 26 Mar 2012 through 30 Mar 2012 - What's Up for April 2012


Windmill in central Leiden
'The Rhine is one of  the longest rivers in Europe' this long lost primary school fact popped into my head as I ate my delicious Goats Cheese, Nuts and Honey Salad. I was sitting on the deck surrounding my hotel in Leiden, watching Dutch families enjoying the waterway. Their Sunday picnics were neatly arranged onboard, as they glided along in the welcome sunshine. 

When I arrived in Amsterdam some hours earlier I admired the fact that the train station was in the airport and then the bus station was in the train station in Leiden.  This was joined up thinking and so was the week ahead of me.  

Professor George Miley and Pedro Russo had invited me to come to Leiden University to take part in a UNAWE workshop and series of talks with other like minded individuals. It turned out to be a very eclectic mix of outreach educators all with a common affiliation too UNAWE or AWB or both. In the invited group of 59 individuals there was 26 countries represented. It was inspiring to be part of such an erudite gathering of minds and intentions.

I was particularly pleased to be asked to give a PechaKucha 20X20 presentation about my new activity for children called Action Sun. This Art/ Science activity is designed to bring the sun to Earth in real time using paper paint and energy.

A PenchaKucha talk is 20 slides with 20 seconds to speak about each slide. The slides change automatically so you have to stick to the subject and get your points across in double quick time. Twelve other PenchaKucha's followed mine from a wonderful bunch of presenters.

2.    Jaya Ramchandani (India): Universe in a box
3.    Grace Kimble (UK): Evaluation
4.    Angela Perez (Colombia): Astronomy Clubs for Children
5.    Claudio Paulo (Mozambique): Astronomy education in Mozambique
6.    Cristina Olivotto (Italy/Netherlands): Space Camps for Children
7.    Catalina Movileanu (Romania): UNAWE Romania
8.    Premysl Velek (Belgium): Scientix
9.    Eric Chisholm (Canada): Astronomy & Art projects for Children
10.  Avivah Yamany Ryadi (Indonesia): Transit of Venus 2012 and Children
11.  Thilina Heenatigala (Sri Lanka): UNAWE Sri Lanka
Mponda Sibuor (France ) Astronomy in Tanzania
13.  Carla Natário (Portugal/ Netherlands): Transit of Venus 2012 UNAWE
Project  Timor-Leste

To my delight Action Sun was very well received and I hope it will be part
of Dublin City of Science 2012 shortly.

The activity I have created  helps groups of children to  understand the sun and some of  its features safely without the need for viewing the solar disc visually.  I have developed both an outdoor and indoor version all of which will be extremely colourful and I hope satisfying to the children who will  take part in it over the next few months.

It was an honour to hear talks given by  scientists and educators who had a wealth of experience over many years in outreach. It was a joy to meet several people who were only known to me via e mail and with whom I had engaged on interesting astronomical projects. One of the most useful activities of the week  for me was talking part in the evaluation working  groups  and meeting up with some people who were very adept at that aspect of outreach education. 

One of the most uplifting experiences was seeing the vast numbers of children and young people being touched by astronomy in many ways. Professor Mark Baileys Human Orrery in Armagh, Olayinka Fagbemiro (Nigeria) with her enormous smiling childrens group in Africa. Marcello  Souza's fun energetic outreach in Brazil , Mponda Sibuor beautiful work in Tanzania all stick in my mind. It was also amazing to listen to Maria Luchetti tell her story of twenty years doing creative but very practical astronomy outreach teacher training  at the Rosa Sansat teacher training facility (via   translator Rosa Ros (Barcelona, Spain)

Before I left the University I recorded a piece to camera for Brazilain TV via Marcelo de Oliveira Souza and a piece to camera for 365 Days of Astronomy for UNAWE via  Jaya Ramchandani . The entire experience gave me new eyes to look at both myself and others. It gave me a huge respect for outreach education being carried on in Africa and other countries with many difficulties in their  everyday lives.

The group  attending the workshop week were collectively delighted when Professor George Miley founder of UNAWE  was presented with  The Order of the Lion (the Netherlands highest honour) at the official opening of the talks at the old observatory in Leiden.

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Feb 12

EAAE Summer School in Poland

The Polish branch of European Association for Astronomy Education is inviting all members of EAAE to the second POLISH EAAE SUMMER SCHOOL that will be organize between July 2nd and July 6th, 2012. The organisation  offers free accomodation in bungalows belonging to Youth Astronomical Observatory (MOA) in Niepolomice. It is a small nice town 15 km from Cracow - the main tourist target in Poland.

The main aim of the meeting is to create possibility to exchange ideas and experiences concernig astronomy education at all school levels. We will have free access to small telescopes and planetarium in MOA. Workshop on astrophotography is also planned.

An official confirmation will be given to all participants.

Some lectures and workshops will be on English. During the activities on Polish you will be free to see very interesting places in Cracow and nearby (for example the university building Copernicus studied in).

The bungalows are not specially comfortable (although with shower and small kitchen) but there are good hotels in Niepolomice and you are free to book a room at your own expense.

If you would like to join this summer school just send an email to

 obserwatorium(małpa)wp.pl specifying:

  1. your name and country
  2. your workplace
  3. date of your planned arrival and departure
  4. preferred accomodation (free bungalows or hotel on your own espence)
  5. your proposals and expectations concernig the meeting.

Learn more about this Summer School at http://lo2.nazwa.pl/obserwatorium/summer_school2012.html

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Nov 11

"Catch a Star" winners announced today

The juri of "Catch a Star" has announced the winners of the contest. To improve child participation the juri decided to create a special award for young children. The prizes that were awarded this year are the following:

SPECIAL GRAND PRIZE: One observational session on 2m Faulkes telescopes
The Faulkes Telescope Project is the education arm of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGTN).
The aim is to provide free access to robotic telescopes and a fully supported education programme to encourage teachers and students to engage in research-based science education. LCOGTN operates a network of research class robotic telescopes. Currently there are two telescopes, one in Hawaii and the other in Australia. These telescopes are available to teachers for them to use as part of their curricular or extra-curricular activities and are fully supported by a range of educational materials and a team of educators and professional astronomers.

First place: 60 min remote observations with the 2m RCC Telescope by National astronomical obervatory "Rozhen", Bulgaria (TWO)

Second place: 60 min remote observations with the 50/70 Schmidttelescope by National astronomical obervatory "Rozhen", Bulgaria

Third place: 60 min remote observations with the Cassegrain-telescope"Zeiss-600" by National astronomical obervatory "Rozhen", Bulgaria

Fourth place: Hubble - Cosmic Collisions - The Hubble Atlas of Merging Galaxies, European Southern Observatory
Written by Lars Lindberg Christensen, Raquel Yumi Shida and Davide De Martin

Fifth place: 15 Years of Discovery book, European Southern Observatory
Written by Lars Lindberg Christensen and Bob Fosbury. Illustrations & Layout: Martin Kornmesser

Sixth place: Hidden Universe, European Southern Observatory
Written by Lars Lindberg Christensen, Robert Fosbury and Robert Hurt

Additional prizes: 10 DVDs - Eyes on the Skies, European Southern Observatory

New : Special prize for young children: Star maps and ESO Posters

This year the EAAE juri of the contest decided to award two first prizes. And the winners are...

Project Prizes Country School Teacher



Determination and Modeling of the shape of an asteroid by analysis of its light curve

Special Grand Prize


High-school Léonard De Vinci, MONTAIGU

Mr Jean-Jacques RIVES

LIVET Florian, PASQUIER Corentin and COISLIER Titouan

23 The sizes of the Moon


Spain "Santo Domingo Savio" UBEDA (Jaén) Francisco Trillo Poveda Elvira Díaz de la Torre, Manuel Martínez Jurado y Marina Sánchez Valera
1 Sunspots


Bulgaria Vaptsarov Language School , Shumen Aneta Marinova Valentina Stancheva, Vladislava Jordanova
15 Astronomy in Navalcarnero


Spain IES Carmen Martín Gaite José Luis García Herrero Rubén Iglesias Buendía, Marina Álvarez Alamillo, Miriam González Fernández
2 Astronomical examination of Be-Stars with spectral methods


Germany Lore-Lorentz Schule Heinrich Kuypers Benedikt Gröver
14 Sun and Refraction


Bulgaria Astronomical Observatory by Youth Center, Haskovo Yoanna Kokotanekova Yovelina Zinkova, Radostina Velevska, Ivana Yankova
31 Solar modulation of galactic cosmic radiation and VLF …


Croatia XV. Gimnazija, Zagreb Ljiljana Neme Julio Car
24 The Draconides 2011 and comets!


Denmark Alssundgymnasiet Sønderborg Michael Lentfer Jensen Rune Lassen, Morten B. Ochelka, Anders Goosmann og Nivethan Shanmugaratnam

Betelgeuse, the mysterious star

Special Prize for young team

Spain CEIP "Salvador de Madariaga". Daganzo (Madrid) Elena Alcacera Pérez Luis Fernandez Codeseda (9 years), Fidel Martínez García (9 years), Elia Sufuentes Arija (9 years).
Project Prizes Country School Teacher Students

DVD prizes were also awarded to the following projects:

Project 3 My EX Hydrae observations, Młodzieżowe Obserwatorium Astronomiczne im. Kazimierza Kordylewskiego w Niepołomicach, Poland.

Project 4 The Sun-a Binary Star, Kaunas Jesuit Gymnasium, Lithuania

Project 7 The Universe's Zoo, "Ştefan cel Mare" High School , Romania

Project 8 Using sky quality meter to measure sky Brightness, SOU,,Orde Copela,, - Prilep , Macedonia

Project 10 Drinking with Einstein: gravitational lenses, Colegio San Gabriel (Madrid) , Spain

Project 18 Star clusters, Astronomical Observatory by Youth Center Khaskovo , Bulgaria

Project 19 The Spectroscope, School no 14 "Ion Ţuculescu", Craiova, Romania

Project 27 Cassiopeia: a queen, a pirate and a journey "relative" the fourth dimension, Colegio El Carmelo de Granada, Spain

Project 28 The Milky Way and Andromeda collision, Skrundas Secondary School, Latvia

Project 32 Moon project, Escola Salesiana "Mare de Déu dels Dolors, Sant Boi, Barcelona, Spain.


Link: "Catch a Star" webpage

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Nov 11

VLT Observations of Gamma-ray Burst Reveal Surprising Ingredients of Early Galaxies

Source: ESO Science Release eso1143

Artist’s impression shows two galaxies in the early Universe.
Image credits:ESO/L. Calçada

An international team of astronomers has used the brief but brilliant light of a distant gamma-ray burst as a probe to study the make-up of very distant galaxies. Surprisingly the new observations, made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope, have revealed two galaxies in the young Universe that are richer in the heavier chemical elements than the Sun. The two galaxies may be in the process of merging. Such events in the early Universe will drive the formation of many new stars and may be the trigger for gamma-ray bursts.(read more)

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