The 20th Anniversary of the launch of The Hubble Space Telescope was celebrated in St Peters National School Walkinstown Dublin 12 on April 23rd. As an outreach educator I decided to put on my Astronomy hat and my Artists hat that morning and bring the enormous printed image of the Carina Nebula to the attention of the children and teachers from 5th class.
The Carina Nebula was the image of choice by both The European Space Agency and NASA to mark the 20th Anniversary of Hubble. The image shows a section of a powerful and beautiful star forming region in the constellation Carina. This constellation is only visible from the southern hemisphere.
It was therefore doubly engaging that this extraordinary image at this wonderful school in Dublin was also playing a part in informing young pupils about the view of the sky from different locations on the planet.
Nature created this awesome visually rich stellar nursery. Hubble became the servant who has worked so long to bring the wonders of our surrounding universe down to Earth.
I wanted to really engage children with this image, and bring it to them in a very personal way.
The idea of putting it on the floor instead of a wall has the immediate effect. An art / astronomy workshop was in my opinion the way to grab young people’s interest and invite them to learn in an exciting and productive way. The children of 5th class at St Peters National School sat around the image and I gave them a simple explanation about what they are looking at and how it was achieved.
The children had a lesson in star formation, distance in space, the colour indications within the image, details of The Hubble Space Telescope and the significance of this new camera and its work.
Through my workshop I wanted to literally bring the Hubble Anniversary image down to the ground in Dublin for the education and inspiration of children, the future scientists, space explorers, astronomers and artists in this country.
I am sure you will agree that the images speak volumes about the success of my workshop which was also a Global Astronomy Month event.