Monday, May 21, 2012

May 20, 2012 Sun-gazing


Did you get to see the annular eclipse, yesterday? I was worried our first stargazing event of the "summer" was going to be cancelled out by clouds...


...but after a quick check with the solar glasses, I was reassured the clouds weren't going to be a problem.


I headed back inside, for a thirty second solar eclipse lesson with the younger children, to demonstrate what we were hoping to observe.

I had the children hold a pencil, with a small circle cut out of paper taped to the top, between themselves and a light on the ceiling (their thumbs would have worked equally well).  The light represented the sun, the paper on the pencil - the moon, with their heads standing in for the earth, and their eyes representing different viewpoints on the same side of the globe.


I had them move the pencil closer to their faces, where it appeared to block out more of the light...


...than when they held it further from their faces (as was the case with the moon, yesterday)....


 ...and depending on which of their eyes they opened or closed...



...the "moon" was either directly in front of the "sun", or slightly off to side, and not covering the whole thing (like for us in Montana).


With that bit of understanding gained, we donned our protective eye-wear, and headed outside for the show, which admittedly, was met with varying amounts of interest on the part of the children.


An hour is a very long time to sit and stare at the sun, when the weather is nice, and you have sound tubes, and neighborhood children lining up at the fence (luckily I had ordered extra glasses).  And, the view through the dark glasses is not nearly as awesome, as I'm sure the real thing would be if our eyes could take in all that sunlight, but I'm hoping it will be another summer memory that will stick with the children through the rest of their lives, and maybe a spark to ignite a lasting interest in science, later on.









This shot, with the clouds is one of my favorites.  I like the way the clouds moving across the sun gave it an eerie moon-like quality.


If you missed the solar eclipse, don't worry, there's an even rarer event coming up, as Venus makes its last transit of the sun for the 21st century on June 6th or 7th (depending on where you live on the globe).

It's great to be a homeschooler.

5 comments:

Wonder Mom said...

Thank you for posting the info about the shades! We are planning on watching Venus when she appears in front of the sun, so these will come in very handy...

(Oh, and your pictures of the eclipse are EXCELLENT!!!)

Phyllis said...

I agree with Wonder Mom, those are great photos. Alas, we could not see it as we are on the wrong coast for it.

Fairion said...

You are so lucky. We have been studying the sun and eclipses the last couple of weeks and really wanted to see the eclipse but were not in its viewing range. We will just have to live vicariously through your pictures. Thanks for sharing them.

Ticia said...

Add me to the amazed at your photo quality club.

It wasn't visible from here, sadly, and the next even kids will be with grandparents for our 10 year anniversary!

Raising a Happy Child said...

I wish I remembered to get shades. We had a good view of an eclipse, but the sun was bright.