St. Cronan's Boys' National School, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

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Astronomy Club Archive


Oct 2011

October 3rd

Deirdre gave her talk on Galileo for the Stargazers and their parents.

Galileo? Galileo? Who on Earth was Galileo?

A one hour presentation about Galileo against, the background of life in Europe at the time.

Deirdre's talk on Galileo gave an insight to his life, his ingenious inventions, and his very clever and clear writings. Galileo's family life, his education, his communication skills; What it was like to live at the time taking into account the bubonic plague, the movement of information, the manners of the time, his daughters, his family life, his telescope developments; His lunar and solar astronomical sketches, how he dealt with his controversial discovers, geocentric and heliocentric notions, his sentence, his house arrest and what he did with his time, his death, the significance of his life.

We also had a look at the moon drawings done by the Stargazers during the year, if drawing is good enough for Galileo then its good enough for Stargazers.

October 6th

NASA Astronaut Visited Dunsink Observatory Lt Col Robert S. Kimbrough, who flew on STS-126 and made 2 space walks, visited Ireland for World Space Week.

Five lucky boys from the Stargazers got to go to his talk in Dunsink Observatory

Sam from 3rd Class took the video below of Astronaut Kimbrough so the other boys would not miss out. He also wrote this to go with it;

Hey everyone, on Thursday 5 of us from St. Cronan's went to Dunsink Observatory and got to meet NASA astronaut Robert Shane Kimbrough!!! And after that we got to go to the South Telescope but we couldn't open the dome because it was too windy : ( But apart from that it was great! : D Thanks for watching ! Sam

Whats up for October 2011

May 2011

On May 23rd, Deirdre gave her talk "Special" for the children and parents of St. Cronan's Star Gazers. The talk is a view on how special our Earth is within our solar system. The presentation leads on to a basic understanding of the scale of our solar system against the size of a star forming nebula. Deirdre used the ESA Hubble 20th Anniversary 8ft x 5ft print of the Carina Nebula to excite interest in stars, molecular clouds and the universe. Some of the children spontaneously took off their shoes and walked on the stars !

The six paintings that went to the Moon and back on April 10th via radio waves were then played for the audience. Some of the children in the front row, danced in their seats to the music within the colour and texture created by the sonified paintings. An intended Saturn viewing had to be postponed as it was too bright when the talk ended. However Saturn images from the Cassini mission were very prominent in the talk and Titan bookmarks were given to everyone who attended.


What's Up for May 2011

April 2011

On 9th March, some members of St. Cronans Star Gazers took part in a global star party, part of Global Astronomy Month. Saturn and the five day Moon were our targets. Several new boys came along to join the group, Sean Stanley was very helpful in organising the new members on the night. A friend of Deirdre's, astronomer Philip Lardner, came along with a lovely hand built telescope to help share Saturn with the group. We were also joined by several neighbours from Sans Souci as Saturn was looking great in the clear sky and its good to share such wonders.

What's Up for April 2011 - Saturn

April 10th

These St. Cronans boys paintings were bounced off the Moon on April 10th within radio waves. They were received by the Dwingeloo Telescope in The Netherlands. The Moonbounce launched MOON WEEK, an Astronomers Without Borders Global Astronomy Month series of Outreach events.

The Project is OPTICKS a collaboration between Daniela De Paulis and Jan van Mujlwijk, Deirdre was also a collaborator on the project.

Diarmuid M. painted Saturn's Moon Enceladus in false colour, this Moon has an ocean inside it, which explodes out of it from time to time. When it is in outburst the freezing ocean particles shoot out into space for hundreds of miles. Most of the particles fall back on Enceladus making its surface smooth, but some of them are pulled away by the giant planet Saturn and help form one of the planets rings, the E ring. Diarmuid's painting was inspired by an image of Enceladus taken by the Cassini space craft which has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004.

Paul B. painted a very round crater on our Moon which is called Linne; his painting was inspired by a false colour image of Linne taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Linné (2.2 km diameter) is a very young and beautifully preserved impact crater. The LRO's job is to orbit the Moon and take photographs, an information gathering exercise to find potential landing spots for future Moon missions.

The paintings went via radio waves to the MOON and back in 2.5 seconds.

The paintings were be converted into radio waves , each colour in the paintings equals a note in music. It's a Newton idea. The paintings travelled 500,000 miles and returned as altered versions of themselves with individual sound signature files unique to each painting created in the process.

The paintings were sent to the Moon via large radio antennas in Brazil, the UK and Switzerland and received
in The Netherlands by a 25 Metre radio telescope in Dwingeloo all live online to music created by Marty Quinn Sonifonics a NASA developed sound out of images software .

April 13th

Deirdre got to talk about the Moonbounce on Elev8 on RTE 2 . Hope some of the boys watched the show. I gave St. Cronans as much mention as possible in the short time. About 9 minutes into the show and a shout out to the Star Gazers at the end.

Link to Elev8, a children's TV show on RTE2, afternoon April 13th

March 2011

These 3 Solar Images drawn by St. Cronan's pupils
were featured on the NASA Website !!!!

Ryan Jeffares - 1st Place

Sun Earth Day 2011

"The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love."

Sitting Bull

March 14th 2011 - A lovely blue sky day greeted my eyes. At St Cronan's Boys National School that morning I delivered a short talk on the features we see when we observe the sun in a h- alpha telescope. This was followed up by showing the boys a DVD supplied by NASA Goddard "Journey to the Stars" narrated by Whoopi Goldberg.

The boys who answered my sun questions after the presentation received "Looking through the Solar Atmosphere" images. We then went outside to have a look at the sun for real in my special solar telescope. We were very lucky to have a clear view of an Active Regions 1166, 1169, and 1172, on the solar disk and several prominences around the limb.

March 15th I ran my solar drawing workshop "The Suns Massive" for forty nine of the boys in Mr McGovern's classroom. So many boys turned up to take part that some of them ended up working happily on the floor. We took a close look at some of the magical images taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (a NASA telescope out in space). We learned a little bit about the suns explosive outbursts, prominences, solar flares, and CME's. We looked at the sun in different wavelengths of light and we looked at the magnetic atmosphere of our nearest star. Over the course of the workshop we made a lovely colourful mess in Mr McGovern's class, but the children created some astonishing drawings in the process. The best drawing will be honoured by being featured on the Solar Dynamics Observatory site, and a package of solar outreach materials from NASA Goddard will be presented to the child. Many thanks to Mr Dodd for helping with the solar viewing on the 14th and facilitating the SDO drawing workshop on the 15th. Thanks also to Karl Ó Broin for technical assistance on the day.

March 19th was actually Sun Earth Day 2011 - I took my solar telescope to the green at Sans Souci Wood to share the view of Active Region 1175 on the solar disk. Members of the astronomy group turned up and I also shared the view with some neighbours and parents who came along. Sun Earth Day posters and NASA STEREO fridge magnets were give to each attendee.

Earlier that morning I had observed the largest prominence I have ever seen on the western limb of the sun. I shared that sketch with the children and adults that arrived to give them some idea of the awesome power of the sun that can be seen if you have the correct equipment. You must never ever look at the sun if you do not have totally safe equipment. The sun is dangerous; never take a chance looking at it by eye or with an ordinary telescope. You will be bringing the all the suns light and heat into your eye and will be blinded for life.

One of Deirdre's solar paintings is featured on this
NASA Solar System Website !!!

Check it out by clicking on the picture on the right !

My March blog is up. It includes my new workshop The Big Moon Ball Project - an activity to teach moon phases to children through drawing. The Big Moon Ball Project was part of Engineers Week 2011.

What's Up for March 2011 from Jane Houston Jones
Links to The Solar System Exploration page which now features my Solar Dynamics inspired painting on the front page and on the What's Up page :-)

Cassini Talk and Public Star Party Plus Sun Earth Day
March 12th I will be giving a talk on The Cassini Mission to Saturn in The Education Centre at the Upper Lake Car Park Glendalough 7pm. This will be followed weather permitting by a Moon viewing and if Saturn clears the trees before 21:00 we will view the planet. Some large telescopes have promised me they will arrive, this is a free event. Contact the park on the day at 2pm to see if the observing is going ahead, weather wise.
Details Here.

What's Up for March 2011 from Jane Houston Jones below, enjoy!

February '11

January 16th: St. Cronan's Young Astronomers went Moon viewing close to their school. We stood together and looked at the waxing gibbous moon over our houses. We learned about the shape of the moon, the dark maria, the bright highlands and we sketched what we could see with our eyes on our clipboards. We wrote down Limb, Terminator, Waxing Gibbous Moon, the time in UT, the date and the lunation. In doing this we learned a lot for ourselves and we are keeping our observations in folders. We also observed the Moon through Deirdre's telescope and learned a little about craters.

Some of the children took images of the Moon through my low power eyepiece using their mobile phones. We took a quick look at Jupiter and its moons before we finished for the night.

January 31st: I was delighted to give a talk on the Moon for some of the group at the school. I covered Moon phases, Moon exploration past and present and future and some Moon news.

We reviewed what we had learned and we agreed to apply to become part of The Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies and to become affiliates to Astronomers without Borders.

Mr Dodd gave out St. Cronan's Young Astronomers Badges and we had a group photo taken.

February: The new moon is on the 3rd with the first quarter moon on the 11th and the full moon on the 18th. The last quarter moon is on the 24th.

What's Up for February 2011 from Jane Houston Jones below, enjoy!

January '11

Our 6th Class pupils were lucky enough to have a guest speaker. Local Astronomer, Outreach Educator and member of The Saturn Observation Campaign JPL/NASA, Deirdre Kelleghan visited them during the month of October.

Deirdre Kelleghan spoke to the boys about the latest robotic explorers that are out there in the Solar System, in particular the Cassini Mission that is exploring Saturn.

You can read more about her visit here.

Since then, Deirdre has formed an Astronomy club in St. Cronan's.

On January 3rd 2011, over 50 enthusiastic parents and children gathered in Sans Souci on a very cold evening for some star-gazing !

You can read all about it in her blog, by clicking here.

January '11

Hi Everyone,

Below are a few photos from our Moon observing session on Sunday evening. Perhaps some of you would name the children in the photo as I do not know all the names. Thanks

I was delighted that the children were so responsive and worked on their drawings with interest.

On Tuesday January 18th, the Moon is almost full, if it is clear and the children are interested they can do a drawing to capture this phase of the Moon. From around 5pm or 17:00 hrs if it is clear , there should be lots of detail available to the eye without the use of a telescope. Use a mug or a CD to draw the outline of the Moon.

In the months to come because of weather we may not see another clearly visible, Full Moon. So an opportunity to increase the drawings in the folders. Don't forget to add the time in the 24 hr format, date, Lunation 14 days , Illumination 98% Indicate the limb, Mare ( Maria plural ), the terminator will not be visible to eyes alone.

The full moon this month - January is know as The Wolf Moon - so that could written down as well on the drawing if they like.

The names of each month's full moon comes from Native American Indian culture
Full Wolf Moon – January Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon.

I think it would be a good idea for the group to become members in its own right of The Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies.
IFAS is the umbrella group for all small clubs with democratically elected committees.
Membership of IFAS is currently €20 per club per year and insurance was €97 this year .

  • The insurance gives full public liability to the club
  • Full membership of IFAS
  • The club will have representation at IFAS meetings and therefore be engaged with amateur astronomy in Ireland as a group.
  • IFAS clubs collectivly join in global astronomy events several times a year , St. Cronan's would be part of that effort.
  • I can call on other IFAS members to help out or give talks for the club.
  • The Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies meets about twice a year , the next meeting is in Tullamore in April at COSMOS 2011

COSMOS is Ireland's leading club meet up or Star Party at the moment. Always a pleasant day out or couple of days.
I hope to get down for the day on the Saturday . I am Vice Chair of IFAS .

I would also like to make the new club Affiliates of AWB ie Astronomers Without Borders
AWB also promotes and initiates Global Astronomy events , IFAS is an affiliate , but the group could be part if it in its own right.
There is not charge for this , One People One Sky is the motto , there are no borders in the sky .

IFAS is local to Ireland , AWB is Global
AWB runs events online like observing the sky through large telescopes in other countries via your laptop.

I hope this is not all too much information for you and if you all agree I can initiate this on the club's behalf.



Once a month, Jane Houston Jones, the Senior Outreach Specialist for the Cassini Mission
makes a video podcast about the sky during the month.

Below you will find her podcasts

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