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Mother and Daughter Team Write and Illustrate New Star Story

One of the illustrations from the book

One of the illustrations from the book

I have written a children’s book about the night sky. Please read on to hear about the book and how you can help bring this story to the world!

“Cassandra and the Night Sky” is about a brave girl who grows up in a land without stars. She stumbles upon the night sky, thought to be stolen by an evil king and courageously brings it back for all to enjoy.

Being an astronomy educator, I tell star stories quite often. My favorite stories aren’t the Greek and Roman stories you often hear. I get inspired by star stories from different cultures.  In one of my classes I gave the students a blank star field and asked them to make their own constellations and star stories.

It was such a hit that I decided to create my own and asked my mother, a wonderful artist, to illustrate it.  Little did I know that it would bring this mother and daughter team closer together.

At first we were thinking of self-publishing and so found Bright Sky Pressa publishing company out of Houston, TX where my mother lives and where I grew up. Bright Sky Press was so impressed with the drawings and story that they decided to partner with us in publishing it. We are raising funds to pay for our end of the publishing, editing and layout costs of the book so we can put it out to the public.

We hope that “Cassandra and the Night Sky” inspires others to make up their own star stories to tell, but most importantly, to look up at the night sky and wonder. 

Thank you for supporting this idea and being a part of bringing it to the world!

Click here to see our video and support our Kickstarter campaign!

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Transit of Mercury May 9th, 2016

scaled down size of Sun and Mercury

scaled down size of Sun and Mercury

We will be able to see Mercury pass across the face of the Sun between 4am and noon on Monday, May 9th. There are about 13 transits of Mercury every 100 years. Mercury is one of the two planets we can see transits of, the other being Venus. Whey can’t we see transits of the other planets? Mercury and Venus are inferior planets. This means they are located between the Earth and the Sun. All the rest of the objects in our solar system except for our Moon, Venus, comets and some asteroids won’t pass between us and the Sun. The picture above  is a scale model of the Sun and Mercury.

 

 

the beginning of the eclipse through the sun funnel

the beginning of the eclipse through the sun funnel

The picture to the left is the Sun safely projected by using a “Sun Funnel“. In order to see the transit you will want a telescope with a solar filter, a sun funnel or a pair of solar viewing glasses, but if you don’t have one you may be able to see it by making a very simple pinhole projector to project the sun. Let’s hope for clear skies! Happy viewing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boy Scout STEM-bo-ree

It was a “sun-filled” day 😉 at the Boy Scout Lone Star Council STEM-bo-ree Saturday.

Look at about 1 o'clock for the sunspot

Look at about 1 o’clock for the sunspot

 

 

 

We looked at the Sun and had the chance to catch a big ‘ole sunspot!

 

 

 

 

scaled down size of Sun and Mercury

scaled down size of Sun and Mercury

 

We learned about the upcoming transit of Mercury and how big Mercury would be if we shrunk the Sun down to the size you see in the photo below.

 

 

 

 

 

getting creative with pinhole projections

getting creative with pinhole projections

We made pinhole projectors to safely view the Sun. Some kids got really creative with their projections! My favorite part of the day was when they got creative and started to make patterns out of their pinhole projectors.

 

 

 

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Meridian School Science Saturday

Joseph and I had a lot of fun with the students and community from the Meridian School Science Saturday event. We brought our set up for designing and testing out proper light shielding to prevent light pollution and save our night sky and an activity called “Pocket Sized Solar System” from Project Astro. The best part of this activity is to see the wheels spinning in those minds as kids choose materials to design their own shield. Seeing them imagine then create is such a joy.

Design a Light Shield Activity

Design a Light Shield Activity

 

 

Street light before shield

Street light before shield

Street light after shield

Street light after shield

 

 

 

Here is Joseph helping kids and adults to create a scale model of the solar system that fits into about 1 meter of adding machine tape. The best part of this activity is that kids are always surprised about how much ’empty’ space is actually out there all around us. It’s also pretty great that they can take it home with them and reflect on what they experienced.

Joseph leading "Pocket Sized Solar System"

Joseph leading “Pocket Sized Solar System”

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