When I was writing this, storm Aytilah was battering the coast, bending trees and gaining momentum. Weather warnings punctuated the day, everything that could blow away was tied down. Out in space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, an asteroid with my name on it was not bothered by any earthly storm or crashing waves.
The English language is lacking in positive affirmations glowing enough to encompass the significance of the Cassini Mission to Saturn. Sidewinding its way into my mind in the effort to find the right words came a memory of an old TV variety show. In the show, the host announces the artists to perform by pronouncing very large words with rapid precision. Each word was preceded by a judgemental gavel blow.
The hyperbolic introductions primed the audience to welcome the splendiferous offerings of the forthcoming show. The pulchritudinous (excellent) nature of the mission has produced an abundance of images. The collection can spectacularly stimulate our senses to levitate our minds and souls.
Cassini invites us to relish the beauty of Saturn and its many moons. NASA has magnanimously offered the images videos and gifs to all who wish to enjoy the resplendent wonder. If the same host was to announce the exploits of the Cassini Mission to Saturn it might well go like this. ........ Laydeeeeez and GENTlemeeeeeen !. I bring you at no expense spared "The Greatest Show in Space". The global audience would exclaim oooooooooh and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah collectively in an excited upward rather amplified accent.
Indeed a global audience has been touched by this mission. However if you are behind in your knowledge you can find a humongous treasure trove of information here to update yourself. The Grand Finale Toolkit Treasure Trove
The Grand Finale is upon us, a fitting title to the last hurrah. 22 gigantic orbits towards the final drama. The Cassini Mission to Saturn is the perfect plug in for today's curriculum. Everything about the mission bookends and supports Science Technology Engineering Art and Maths. Reading and Writing comes into play also, the annual Cassini Essay competition took care of that.
You may know that the mission is due to end on Friday September 15th however there are many who have yet to discover this unique sojourn. The Grand Finale Fact Sheet
On Friday September 15th 2017 the spacecraft will be guided into the body of the planet Saturn and be no more. However the legacy of the mission will take many decades to filter down and settle its status of The Greatest Show in Space. Top Ten Science Results and Images as selected by the mission. Click here.
The quality of the images and science returned bears witness to this robotic ship.An imamate object sending us some of the most beautifiul natural art. We are enriched by the glorious images and knowledge gleened. I have been enriched by being connected to this mission since 2004. Its depth and breath have been more than I every imagined. RIP Cassini :-( . Hugs to every single person who worked on the mission and created something very special indeed.
Eyes on the Solar System Click here
FOLLOW THE END OF THE MISSION LIVE HERE
Some of my favourite images !
Perigee Full Moon (SuperMoon) / Total Lunar Eclipse September 28th 2015 A write up plus links to Irish times and viewing details , plus photography link , drawing link and What's Up for September with Jane H Jones
So boys and girls of all ages , here is how you plan to see the forthcoming " SuperMoon" and lunar eclipse in the wee small hours of Monday morning, September 28th 2015. Total phase ie the best bit lasts from 03.11 to 04.23.
What's going on ? The sun in space will be shining on our lovely Earth as it always does. And like all objects our Earth has a shadow created by this action which is thrown out into space for hundreds of thousands of miles. During a total lunar eclipse , the Sun , the Earth and the Moon are in a line , so the Earth's shadow is cast temporarily on the full moons face.
Our moon will move through the Earths cone shaped shadow. As it does so it will appear to change colour. The Earths position blocks most of the suns light from falling directly on the planet facing ( near side ) of the moon. Light that does manage to find its way into the shadow gives a rusty look to the moon as it scoots along on its happy way.
The moon is NOT changing colour , it is being illumniated by refracted sunlight entering the atmosphere. This light which escapes being blocked by the Earth has predominantly longer wavelenghts which produce the red colour of the spectrum. Therefore we see our moon in this muted red light , and tainted by dust in our atmosphere.
Shadows have dark centres and a less dark outer edges so when the moon is moving into the lighter part of the shadow ( the penumbra) it will begin to get a bit rusty looking . When the moon moves fully into the dark middle ( the umbra ) of the shadow it will look fully dark red/ rusty . Then it will move along into the outer penumbra and look less rusty and then finally begin to look just like our usual moon as it clears the shadow of the Earth completely.
Mostly as the moon orbits the Earth it moves under or over the shadow due to variations in its elliptical orbit around our planet. On this occasion it will move directly into the shadow and will look very unusual for a while.
Use TIme and Date website to find your Nearest City and your sorted. ( its handy)
Check the weather forecast for your area . Time and Date have that built in !
Check the times of the lunar eclipse for your area
Dublin for us is grand and is in fact fine for all Ireland
TIme and Date Link http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/ireland/dublin
All the key times are here and a speeded up video so you can see what to expect.
Now if you like you can watch the September full moon rising at approx 19:36 for Ireland.
The September full moon is also known as the Harvest Moon , farmers , the ploughing and all that.
The Full moon on Sunday September 27th is a bit closer to the Earth on this particular orbit so to the eye it appears to be larger but it is NOT physically larger than usual, it's just closer ( a bit like the cow in Father Ted) :-)
Watch the moon rise and enjoy it , some people are calling it a Supermoon , it's a trend . It's closer to the Earth and its Full what's not to like ? So as this only happens occasionally I guess it's OK for it to be "Super" as long as people understand that the moon is consistently the same size .
So then on Sunday night go to bed early and set the alarm for whatever lunar eclipse phase you fancy viewing for yourself, some of it or all of it. Even in some cloudy conditions the moon can pop through and you might be lucky to see it.
Be sure to check out where in the sky the moon will be when the Lunar Eclipse is happening.
You can use the free software Stellarium http://www.stellarium.org/ to do this or you can look out all the windows in your house till you see it. Or you can wrap up warm and go outside
and look SW !
You do not need a telescope to see the moon being Super , rusty , or in an lunar eclipse.
However if you have a telescope or binoculars you may enjoy how fast the leading edge of the shadow moves over the lunar surface changing the appearance as it moves.
Here is a scale to help you judge the darkness of the shadow
The Danjon Scale - for Lunar Eclipse rating.
L=0: Very dark eclipse. Moon almost invisible, especially at mid-totality.
L=1: Dark eclipse, gray or brownish in coloration. Details distinguishable only with difficulty.
L=2: Deep red or rust-colored eclipse. Very dark central shadow, while outer edge of umbra is relatively bright.
L=3: Brick-red eclipse. Umbral shadow usually has a bright or yellow rim.
L=4: Very bright copper-red or orange eclipse. Umbral shadow is bluish and has a very bright rim.
Here is a guide to taking a photograph of the Lunar Eclipse by NASA's Bill Ingalls
with tips for iPhone , SLR and a link to the NASA live stream .
Doing a drawing of a total lunar eclipse is a bit of a task
March 2007 I was lucky enough to see and sketch a lunar eclipse from my garden in Bray.
200mm dob/25mm eyepiece /Focal Length 1,200mm, 2XBarlow/96X
Lunation 14.32 Days
Soft Pastels, 300gm paper, pencils.
Seeing 2 / Hazy
Images rotated 180 degrees
Digital Photographs of both images
therfore a slight distortion
I waited to see what the emerging moon would look like and I started a second sketch at 00:10UT ending at 00:35UT due to a hazy atmosphere. Not much detail was available but I did observe that the retreating shadow had a distinctive green grey edge and reckoned that was worth noting.
July 20 1969, I was just 12 years old. I lived in a regular suburban house with regular suburban parents. I was the eldest of five at the time, and as with most families then we had to be in bed at 8pm on weeknights, maybe 9.30pm at weekend’s school holidays or not that was the way it was. I was interested in the Moon landing and really wanted to see it Telefis Eireann were going to cover the story with a special programme. I must have pestered my parents in just the right way and at just the right time. Much to my surprise I was allowed to stay up and see how the story unfolded.
Telefis Eireann didn’t start broadcasting until 6pm in those days and the Moon coverage programme started at 9pm and was presented by Kevin O’Kelly. We had a small black and white TV with a rabbit ear aerial, it had lots of dots on the screen and problems with the vertical and horizontal hold. TV’s of that era often suffered with this affliction, unpredictably and always inappropriately. Televisions from 1969 had the original rolling news way before Sky! ‘Hitting the box’ as it was referred to, was the required cure when twiddling the dials at the back did not fix the problem. Late into the night only my Dad and I were still watching fine-tuning and adjusting the TV to get the best picture. There were lots of previews and progress reports, and chat about what was going to happen. I had never been up so late in my life, but this was the biggest moment in the history of space exploration up to then and I was going to see it live from the surface of the Moon. I remember a lot of beeps and tech talk from Houston (Houston Texas was the mission control centre for the Apollo mission) to the Command Module and from Houston to the Lunar Lander. I recall seeing the tiny triangular window which was the view from the Eagle as it came in to land on the surface of the Moon.
EAGLE: 540 Feet, down at 30 feet per second …down at 15 … 400 feet down a 9…forward…350 feet down a 4… 300 feet, down 3½ … 47 forward… 1½ down…13 foreword…11 forward coming down nicely…200 feet, 4½ down…5½ down…5 percent…75feet …6 forward …lights on…down 2½…kicking some dust… 30 feet, 2½ faint shadow…4 forward… 4 forward… drifting to right a little …OK…
HOUSTON: 30 Seconds fuel remaining
EAGLE: Contact light! OK, engine stop…descent engine command override off…
HOUSTON: We copy you down, Eagle
EAGLE: Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed!
Touchdown 9: 18 pm A Caption on the TV screen saying “Man on the Moon”, overlaid onto live shots of Houston control room.
There was continuous coverage in preparation for the Moonwalk, which was originally scheduled for 2.00am but delayed. Pictures of mission control, the sound of Houston - Apollo conversations and then the first TV pictures from the lunar surface just few minutes before the Moonwalk. I remember the endless hours waiting for the hatch to open, Kevin O’Kelly had to do a lot of talking, and a lot of speculation about what was going on and just what the two astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were doing inside the lunar landing module.
Many people all over Ireland waited and waited to see this monumental moment and at last at 3.56am Neil Armstrong came down the ladder and said those words “One small step for man one giant leap for mankind” it was a chokingly emotional thing to see live on TV a man standing on the surface of the Moon 250,000 miles from Earth the first man ever to be on another world. At 4.16 am Armstrong was joined on the lunar surface by Buzz Aldrin.
I remember how they bounced around in the Moons weaker gravity and I remember the American flag being placed on the lunar surface. Collins orbited the Moon in the Command Module waiting for Armstrong and Aldrin to blast off when their incredible visit was over to re -dock for the journey home.
I had to get some sleep and my dad had to go to work the next day, as it was Monday so we went to bed. Next morning Telefis Eireann had a special broadcast at 6.26am to cover the lift off from the Moon. I don’t remember seeing that live, I think I saw it on the news later in the evening.
For many days after the Moonwalk was repeated on TV. It really was an incredible achievement and the astronauts were so courageous because if something went wrong with the Lunar Module there was no way back to Earth for them. Michael Collins would have had a crushingly lonely trip home if he could have done it by himself.
The Apollo 11 crew left among other things a 9 by 7 inch stainless steel plaque on the Moon, to commemorate the landing and provide basic information of the visit to any other beings that may eventually see it. The plaque reads:
Here men from the Planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969, A.D.
We came in peace for all mankind.
The plaque depicts the two sides of planet Earth, and is signed by the three astronauts, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins as well as US President Richard Nixon.
On the return journey to Earth I recall the splash down and recovery. A large aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean, a partly clouded sky and the world’s press. Everyone was waiting for to see the parachute bringing the Apollo crew back to Earth. I recall the crew displayed in an oblong chamber with big windows and people looking in at them. The reason for the chamber was the paranoia about Moon bugs or Moon viruses that might have contaminated the astronauts, all three of them even though Collins did not set foot on the surface. So they endured this quarantine and later on August 13 they had a ticker tape parade in New York, which I saw, on the news. This was to honour these brave men who had been on an extraordinary journey and had survived.
Back in February 1969 when I was 11years old, I had bought National Geographic Magazine it came with supplement map of the Moon showing the proposed landing sites for the Apollo missions. It says in the bottom left hand corner of the map about the proposed Apollo 11 mission for July 1969
THE MOST DARING EXCURSION IN THE HISTORY OF HUMAN ENDEAVOR IS ABOUT TO TURN THE MOON INTO EARTHS STEPPING STONE TO THE UNIVERSE
Interestingly enough, while the Moon has not as yet become a launch pad to the universe, July 20 1969 is linked directly to my life today. My interest in space exploration has led me to write several articles on the subject and these have been published in amateur astronomy magazines.
In November 2004 I had the pleasure of attending the National Concert Hall to see Buzz Aldrin Face to Face with Gay Byrne an amazing interview with the second man on the moon. Colonel Aldrin is an extremely interesting man and he held the packed hall for over two hours with his recollections of his life and his historic visit to the moon. I was proud to join in the standing ovation at the end of this prestigious event.
The Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 1969 had a profound effect on my life. It gave me an interest in astronomy and space that has stayed with me ever since.
For Christmas that year I was given a Tasco telescope and in the spring I bought an Airfix Apollo 11 Eagle Lunar Lander Model, which I still have today. The National Geographic Map is in my study and is packed with Moon information; it is along with the Lunar Module some of my favourite things. I remember also queuing up with hundreds of people at the American Embassy in Ballsbridge to see the Moon rock when it came to Dublin. It was displayed in a large perspex or glass bubble held in a giant claw mounted like a precious diamond! I filed past the Moon rock in awe of this alien vision. I will never forget the Apollo 11 Moon landing as long as I live. It would be my hope to see people landing on Mars or on another world sometime before I leave this world forever.
Action Sun in Java – a week of learning and harmony at Bosscha Observatory - Building the Scientific Mind 2013 Blog 2
I felt particularly intrigued and honoured to be a participant at the Fifth Advanced Colloquium - Building the Scientific Mind 2013. Dr Jan Visser from the Learning Development Institute sent me a formal invitation to attend back in August 2012.
The Colloquium was to have a specific focus on questions regarding this year’s theme "Science and Technology in the Service of Beauty and Harmony". Dr Visser felt that my work was eminently relevant to those questions.
These colloquia bring together prominent minds from a wide variety of disciplines pertaining to the sciences, the arts and humanities. In previous years themes were Learning for sustainable futures ( South Africa 2011) and In Search of a Home in the Universe ( Egypt 2009) ) Learning in the perspective of complex and long term change ( Canada 2007) . The initial Building the Scientific Mind was in 2005 in the Netherlands during International year of Physics. Previous participants included Nobel laureates such as the physicists Leon Lederman and Carl Wieman, UNESCO’s former Director General and noted molecular bio chemist Federico Mayor.
During Building the Scientific Mind colloquia contributors are encouraged to think beyond the boundaries of their own specific disciplines. The overall goal of these meetings is to improve the conditions of learning, in both formal and informal settings.
Into this transdisciplinary arena on May 27th 2013, I brought Action Sun.
I developed this workshop in order to bring the sun to Earth in real time using simple materials with collaboration from local children and the child within us all. The purpose is to teach people of all ages the features of the sun and to take time to appreciate its wonder.
The Colloquium began with very uplifting rocket launches carried out by Aldino Adra Baskoro, a local teacher. This got everyone in the mood for fun and set a playful atmosphere loose around the grounds of Bosscha Observatory.
A team of people helped carry the 12 foot X 12 foot black tarpaulin for Action Sun out to the grass in front of the magnificent dome. It had been donated by the local military; it was real tarpaulin, heavy and thick, a great canvas for the sun.
Everyone took part in building the suns photosphere, sunspots, chromosphere, and filaments. Children from local schools and orphanages, teachers, scientists, philosophers, anthropologists, economists, game builders, educationalists, representatives of UNESCO, UNAWE, astrophysicists, astronomers, theoreticians, rocket builders, mathematicians, and musicians.
Fellow educators from amongst the colloquium cohort were very quick to jump in with gusto to help distribute the paper, glue and other elements to construct what would eventually be a nine foot diameter solar disc.
As it was a cloudy day I took my sun building data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory “The Sun Now” page. Bosscha Observatory had a plasma screen set up inside the dome showing the page so participants could understand where the prominences, sunspots and filaments were during the hour that it took to bring the sun to Earth. They also had some beautiful h alpha telescopes ready for me in case the sun did actually shine on the proceedings.
Sally Roberts from California was the first to say “how can I help?” she became my super hero glue mixer and paper distributor. Vidula Mhaiskar from India took photos for me and also distributed the wonderful educational material supplied by NASA Goddard to support the workshop. With something like 100 people present it was great to have such enthusiastic assistance. Binta Moustapha from Nigeria and Sally Roberts also got busy making the giant filament that graced almost half of the suns disc on that day.
Lovely local children flung paper and paint with great joy and curiosity and soon the sun was glowing from the black canvas on Java soil. I noticed some of the little orphans got paint on their hands; it was a slow motion moment for me in a very action packed hour. They looked at their hands like they had never seen paint before, that image will stay in my mind forever.
It seemed the child in many delegates was very close to the surface and burst out in actions of jollity. I was surrounded by professionals from many disciplines delightfully flinging paper and glue with no inhibitions. Questions were also flying at me about filaments and other solar structures. There was learning and listening magically absorbed while all the time we worked toward finishing our sun in real time. This was easy learning, it was cross cultural and for some it was language less. My sun builders were from 5 to 75 in age, they were bolted together by passion and enjoyment.
When finally our sun was created, I invited everyone to sign their names to the canvas. A few drops of warm Java rain prompted the crowd to carry the sun back into the dome. It remained on display for the rest of the week under the seven ton Carl Zeiss telescope WOW!
During the colloquium a gentle breeze mingled with the call to prayer and often fanned the passion in the room with seamless ease. Inside the observatory pools of beauty were daily being squeezed and teased out of Economics, Philosophy, Trash Anthropology, Maths, Cosmology, Music, Emotions and Football.
Bosscha Observatory was built ninety years ago and has many similarities to Dunsink Observatory in Dublin. I felt very at home there and for the first time felt even more at home amongst this gathering than I had ever felt at conferences or festivals that were solely astronomical in content.
One of the major differences at this observatory compared to Dunsink was the size of the dome and the main telescope. Bosscha’s dome was twenty two meters in diameter, the telescope named “Zeiss” weighted in at seven tons and was eleven meters long. The dome at Dunsink is 9 feet in diameter and the telescope is 18 feet long. The day after Action Sun I had a personal introduction to “Zeiss” from Dhani Herdiwijaya. WOW!!
The floor was mechanised to lift up observers so that objects could be viewed at whatever elevation was required. Massive chains on each side of the floor pulled it up under power generated by ninety year old controls. Everything works perfectly and the observatory handles 60,000 members of the public in its outreach programme annually.
This awesome telescope is double refractor made by Carl Zeiss. The main telescope lenses are 60 cms in diameter. The telescope was specifically designed for double star observing and can observe stars that are much weaker, approximately 100000 times fainter than the stars that can be seen by the naked eye. Focal length is a whopping 1080 cms or 35 .4 feet, the dome of the building has a weight of fifty six tons and is made of two mm thick steel.
One of the joys of being six degrees below the equator for me was seeing Crux for the first time and also seeing Scorpius in its entirety also for the first time. This happened one night when just a small section of the sky was clear over the hotel. Java was still having its rainy season so there were no clear sky nights to observe from this iconic instrument.
You might enjoy my photographs Action Sun,the telescope and the Colloquium in the slide show below.
A short video showing Action Sun on display under the 7 ton Carl Zeiss Telescope at Bosscha Observatory West Java Indonesia
Moon over South China Sea - Reflections on Building the Scientific Mind 2013 at Bosscha Observatory West Java Indonesia Text, Images & Video Plus What's Up for June 2013
Baby Banana tree at Bosscha Observatory
Building the Scientific Mind 2013
Science and Technology in the Service of Harmony and Beauty
Bossacha Observatory, Lembang, West Java, Indonesia May 27th to June 1st 2013
A Learning Development Institute, UNESCO, Institute Teknologi Bandung , Bossacha Observatory Fundacion Culture de Paz and UNAWE event.
Moon over South China Sea – Blog 1
Altitude 41,037 ft , Speed 545 mph, Outside temperature – 71 degrees, 06:14 local time, one hour too touchdown in Singapore. Over my right shoulder framed in the super jumbo’s oval window I noticed the full moon setting over the South China Sea. This beautiful vision triggered an immediate reaction to record it in some way. I took data from the flight path graphics screen, searched desperately in my bag for a pencil but only found a biro for sketching. The crispy clear moon offered the illusion that it was suspended for a time on the wing of the plane. A double moon halo with a rich tangerine inner circle and a pale silver blue outer circle enriched the view even further. I became transfixed with the complexity of the observation before me. The moonlight made a strong glint on the wing. The light dissipated along the blue slate leading edge as we sliced through the freezing outside atmosphere. Diffraction spikes, then developed over the wing in the moonlight. I think they were made by the window; they looked like spokes of carefully assembled, tight lined gas spectra.
For a long while the moon seemed to stay on the wing. I decided that moon drawing from a moving aircraft was a luxury I would like to have more of. The light playing from moon to wing and window was visually powerful, a painting hatched there and then. I took notes of colour tone and positions of everything for a later work as hot towels were once again handed out by the elegant flight attendants on Singapore Airlines.
A bird strike at Heathrow left all my subsequent flight connections very tight. I had 12 minutes or so in Changi before my Bandung flight at Terminal 2. The Sky Train and a wobbly run to gate 32 F did my sore foot no good at all, however I was very pleased when I was onboard the Silk Air flight on the last leg of my 8,000 mile journey ( or so I thought ) to my hotel in Lembang, West Java.
Bossacha Observatory had sent a car, a two hour journey ensued, the distance was only 20 kilometres .For most of that journey my eyes were wide open and so was my mouth as I was shocked at much of what I saw. The extreme opulence of finely designed gated houses, side by side with extreme poverty was difficult to understand. The condition of the roads, the pavements, and infrastructure left me aghast It seemed there were no road rules or standards. Everywhere there were food stalls on wheels and most of them were over open drains beside piles of uncollected rubbish which added to the chaotic view. What seemed like 500 million motorcycles competed with flash cars, angkots (local taxis) and trucks held together with gaffer tape for every available piece of road. Entire families were on these motorcycles. Babies being fed on motorcycles, children asleep on motorcycles, everyone moving at speed in between the other vehicles with inches to spare. My only conclusion was that the government did not give a care for these people in any way shape or form.
I witnessed large dogs, domestic cats and rabbits for sale in cages on the side of the road outside very grandiose houses. Where have I come to? What was I thinking of? Were the thoughts in my head as my lovely driver tried to persuade me to go shopping for water before we reached my destination. After a rather dizzy U turn in this manic road system we were suddenly taking another route with involved a kind of toll road, well actually a toll lane to be more precise.
A pole as narrow as the car was lifted by a tiny old woman to bring us into a beautiful peaceful country road with banana trees, jungle and local houses all along the way. This was a very different world to the mayhem of Bandung.
The hotel was guarded and secured, very beautiful planting and facilities. I found great peace and clarity by its Koi pond and restful thinking in the sunrays.
God is Great
[said two times]
La ilaha illa Allah
There is no god except the One God
For the pre-dawn (fajr) prayer, the following phrase is inserted after the fifth part above, towards the end:
As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm
Prayer is better than sleep
(said two times)
This was my wake up call at 4 am each morning, it had me on my balcony alert and listening to the jungle sounds competing with chanting voices from somewhere in the pre dawn darkness. As the sun’s rays climbed over the valley, the view of Tankuban Perahu,a recently active volcano to my right and a stunning gorge below filled every light receiving cell in my eyes, with awesomeness. The steep terraces were flanked by exotic trees full of yellow and purple flowers. Very tiny jet black birds darted everywhere, too fast to see their shapes, butterflies of many colours fluttered in the greenery below my perch.
I had no problem with the Muadhan’s early call, it reminded me that I was a visitor to a unique place on the planet. This country needed my effort to accept and understand its culture. ( see my short video below to hear some of it, he called from 4am - 5am daily)
My first thoughts about Java were illuminated in a broader context by a most excellent talk during the colloquium. Dr James Lees (University of the Western Cape) gave to us a presentation he regularly gives to his students. He used clips from the popular show X Factor to develop in our minds thoughts of being judgmental, feelings of empathy, and a gamut of other human emotions which were soon all present and tangible in the room. James’s presentation was a global lesson. Dr Lees works with young people suffering from HIV. He teaches people how to live and how to die with strength and harmony while dealing with this disease which finds little emphatic engagement amongst the world’s nations.
His work brings understanding to forgotten people who do not have time to enjoy beautiful moons dangling on the wings of airplanes.’ Walk in my shoes ‘ the slogan on the posters he distributed to everyone, a strong message. Extending the aspiration of that slogan slightly, the right to education is not for all the world’s children but it should be. In Bossacha observatory we were there to discuss Building the Scientific Mind with input from people of many differing disciplines. How many minds are lost to education, creative and scientific development by Hunger, HIV, War, Corruption, Ignorance, Prejudice, and Neglect? How can this planet strive to ensure that all its children now and in the future will be embraced by an education and have the freedom to indulge not just in scientific and creative expression but in life itself?
My experiences at Building the Scientific Mind 2013 can only be articulated through several blogs as it was so rich and varied in form and learning.
More on this soon and Action Sun at Bossacha Observatory
A selection of slide images for this first write up on the Colloquium
Early Morning call to prayer in Lembang West Java , the white thing in my video is the column on my balcony and the flashing red light is on a mast just in front of the volcano.
What's Up for June 2013 from Jane Houston Jones
Easter Saturday North Limb proms and filaments Solar Sketch - Comet PanStarrs from Bray - What's Up for April 2013
I was looking at the Sun Now page on the Solar Dynamics Observatory site. Sometimes that page shows wonderful energetic explosions on the solar limb but it may be too cloudy for observing.
Sometimes the solar action can be enticing enough to set up the PST (Personal Solar Telescope) and sketch when the weather permits.
March 30th Easter Saturday was one such day. When I looked through my telescope there was a long twisting filament. Interesting north limb prominences challenged my eye as they altered their shapes over time.
When observing the sun you do not see the movement right in front of your eye. The sun is 149,600,000 km away from Earth and it takes eight minutes for its light to get to us. The observation of movement is perceived over 15 to 20 minutes and can lead to very useful sequences of drawings. In one way it’s like real time natural stop motion animation. Because my solar telescope is small the enormous solar disc (Diameter 1.39 million km) appears to be less than the 40mm diameter of the telescope. The filaments, active regions, sunspots and prominences are very tiny to the eye. A sunspot or prominence can be many times the size of the Earth but only millimetres to the eye. When I draw I look really really closely at the shapes, and textures of these features.
I pay great attention to the negative spaces, the black spaces between the multiple strands of plasma gas that are launched into space by the suns continuous activity.
Before I draw I observed the action for a while before deciding on an approach. It is difficult to draw filaments as they appear to the eye on the solar disc. Filaments can be very dark against the bright sun or very grey almost like stringy cobwebs. Filaments are eruptions of electrified plasma gas; they seem dark as they are cooler than the sun that created them. When a filament continues its action over the edge of the solar disc it is called a prominence. More structural detail within these features can be seen against the blackness of space. When a filament is seen to swing its action from the solar disc around the limb is it known as a filaprom.
For this drawing I used an etching method for the filaments, the combination of etching and drawing seems to give the desired effect for the moment.
Sketch details: Bray Co Wicklow
Easter Saturday North Limb proms and filaments on the solar disc.
Duration of sketching time 13:00 UT - 13:55 UT Telescope: PST 40mm - 8 mm eyepiece using Pastels, on black paper.
On the same evening I was lucky to get a glimpse of Comet C 2011 L4 PanSTARRS from Bray
Click here for details
Warning: NEVER look directly at the sun through binoculars, a telescope or with your unaided eye
permanent blindness can result from the shortest look. Only ever look at the Sun in a situation supervised by someone who knows what they're doing.
What's Up for April 2013 from Jane Houston Jones
Br Guy Consolmagno SJ Vatican Astronomer visits Bray Co Wicklow - COSMOS 2013 Irelands leading Star Party April 12th - 14th
Turn Left at Orion signed for the school library
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 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, 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, Guy delivered six different talks in five days to varying audiences everyone of them a polished gem in communicating the science and wonder of astronomy.
More information on the Vatican and Br Guy Consolmagno click here.
COSMOS 2013 April 12th - 14th Details here
Slide show from Br Guy Consolmagno's visit to Bray below
- School visit images by Bernard Kelleghan
COSMOS 2013 see ye there !
Sketch East limb proms 93,000,000 miles away from Bray Co Wicklow January 12th 2012 10:50 UT - 11:20UT PST 40 / 8mm TVP eyepiece /50 X Pastel and Conte on black paper Seeing good Sketch is 9 inches X 4 inches on A4
Deirdre Kelleghan – Ireland Feb 18th 2013
The objects from my childhood that are still in my learning zone today are black paper and chalk. I was bored as a child in primary school, the only thing I really enjoyed was drawing. Simple drawings with white and coloured chalk in a small black papered book. The drawings were separated by tissue paper with strong indented patterns.
Today drawing complex images of the sun and the moon is one of the most poignant joys of my life. I use black paper and pastels. Pastels are sophisticated chalk and I have a thing about black paper, which is never quite black enough for me. I use my blackest black pastel to make it so. I draw to learn and understand, it is something I have done all my life, to draw is to know.
I am an old fashioned Astronomical Sketcher; it was big before astro photography. My drawings are like photographs and are very accurate. I know this because I can put a photograph of a solar image or lunar image taken at the same time beside my work and my drawing is accurate to a high degree. I take the sun and moon from the sky via my telescopes with my eyes and chalk and put them on black paper. This activity is soul filling and I love it. I teach astronomy through the medium of drawing and artistic activities and am never bored.
Get the moon in your head - What's up for September 2012 - International Observe the moon night 2012
Almost Full Moon Lunation 12.75 days Sketch
Get the Moon in your head
‘At conjunction the moon occupies a position between the sun and the earth; it is then illuminated by the sun’s rays on the side which is turned away from the earth. The other hemisphere, which faces the earth, is covered with darkness; hence the moon does not illuminate the surface of the earth at all. Next departing gradually from the sun, the moon comes to be lighted partly upon the side it turns toward us, and its whitish horns, still very thin, illuminate the earth with a faint light. The sun’s illumination of the moon increasing now as the moon approaches first quarter, a reflection of that light to the earth also increases. Soon the splendour on the moon extends to a semicircle, and our nights grow brighter; at length the entire visible face of the moon is irradiated by the suns resplendent rays, and at full moon the whole surface of the earth shines in a flood of moon light. Now the moon, waning, sends us her beams more weakly, and the earth is less strongly lighted; at length the moon returns to conjunction with the sun, and black night covers the earth.’
Extract from Sidereus Nuncius (The Starry Messenger) 1610 by Galileo Galilei translation by Stillman Drake from the book Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo.
Now there ye have it, direct and clear from the master Galileo. Read it slowly, imagine it, and animate it in your mind. Observe it for yourself, spend time with the moon soon you will understand its movements.
Galileo was a great man for sharing the moon through his telescope. He shared with other scientists, princes, students, the pope, and artists. He was compelled to share it as it was such a magnificent sight even in his small telescope. He wrote Starry Messenger to share his drawings and observations of the moon, far and wide.
The way Galileo writes about the moon pulls you in to be part of his exploration. He thereby transports his readers to share his thoughts as he figures out the lunar surface, phases and features of the moon observed over 400 years ago. Today you can still find freshness pouring from his enquiring mind in his descriptive writing.
Sharing the moon with the public is an affliction borne with large smiles by many astronomers all over this planet. It’s amazing that there are so many people today that have never had an up close and personal view of the moon in a telescope. International observe the moon night invites astronomers to show the moon to people on September 22nd. This is a global event, with an increasing bubble of participants.
If you have binoculars or a telescope consider joining in and showing the moon to your neighbours. Register here its easy.
Check the map for other IFAS clubs sharing the moon on the night
The moon is a constant in our existence; our eyes are drawn by it to look up from all over the planet. Galileo made sense of the moon for us, at great risk to his freedom. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin lifted the entire planet by landing on it for the first time back in 1969. On September 22nd you can easily pick out the Sea of Tranquillity with your eyes. Wink at the moon is an action request from Neil Armstrong’s family, to honour his memory. It’s also a really cool simple public outreach exercise.
Weather permitting I will be on the promenade near Bray head with St Cronan’s Stargazers and our telescopes from 19:00 hrs till 20:30 approx September 22nd.
What's up for September 2012 from Jane Houston Jones
Deirdre Kelleghan is amateur astronomer,