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Showing kids the eclipse on 20th March - suggestions


jnb
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I've been asked to put together something to show the kids at a local school some science in general and astronomy in particular. It might be worth putting together something to tie in with the eclipse on 20th March so I'm looking for suggestions of what we can do.

It's a primary school (ages 5 - 11) so deep detail isn't required. I've got access to four scopes so far, web cams, digital cameras and no end of network kit. So far I was thinking of standard Baader filters on all scopes and using web cams to relay an image to a PC. I can also relay that image live to a web feed and show it on any of the PC's or screens around the school. So we can use the scopes to show them how telescopes work, how solar filters make it safe, no kid ever even sees someone look straight through a scope. Which is all well and good if the sun puts in an appearance, the question is what do we do if it's cloudy and generally what else can we add to this?

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I've been asked to put together something to show the kids at a local school some science in general and astronomy in particular. It might be worth putting together something to tie in with the eclipse on 20th March so I'm looking for suggestions of what we can do.

It's a primary school (ages 5 - 11) so deep detail isn't required. I've got access to four scopes so far, web cams, digital cameras and no end of network kit. So far I was thinking of standard Baader filters on all scopes and using web cams to relay an image to a PC. I can also relay that image live to a web feed and show it on any of the PC's or screens around the school. So we can use the scopes to show them how telescopes work, how solar filters make it safe, no kid ever even sees someone look straight through a scope. Which is all well and good if the sun puts in an appearance, the question is what do we do if it's cloudy and generally what else can we add to this?

If it is cloudy there are usually several live feeds from various observatories/broadcasters.

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Eclipse maximum is about 9:30am. The whole process is quite slow so rather than show them the whole thing in real time, which would be slow and tedious I may try playing with recording and playing selected segments back before cutting to a live feed.

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Despite the early start for organisers, its a brilliant idea. The timing for the kids is perfect as they won't start watching the eclipse as it starts, then have a long wait before things really get interesting! Children this age need constant engagement.

I would recommend however being prepared for every eventuality (i.e. cloud/rain) and set up a screen indoors with internet access to one of the many live webcasts that will undoubtedly be available. Also, don't rule out eyepiece projection, pinhole projection and the use of hand held objects to see how shadow's are cast during the partial eclipse. Also, maybe a viewing area under a tree to see how the branch shadows look?

On the safety side of things, as always encourage them NOT to look at the sun but don't forget that some kids wont resist. Even if you don't want to encourage it, its always good to have eclipse viewing shades at hand.

Matt

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We're trying to get something together too.

Unfortunately, the solar specs are prohibitively expensive for a class of 30+.

I'm considering getting a sheet of solar film and cutting it into small strips and mounting it in the middle of A4 card.

I've started experimenting with solar projection using cardboard boxes.

Other than that I have a single white light solar filter, but that won't go far!

The live feeds will be a great back up. :)

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Unfortunately, the solar specs are prohibitively expensive for a class of 30+.

I think if you buy in bulk you get a discount from many online retailers. I would class 30+ as a bulk order. 

In any case, good luck telling 30+ kids to keep their solar glasses on and controlling them. 

I bought 2 pairs from FLO. 

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