Or should it be No-Sun-Day?!

The aim of this event on Saturday 20th April was to celebrate and learn about our nearest star, the Sun, and we had a variety of sun-related hands-on activities planned, including experiments with UV-sensitive beads, making a sundial, and projecting the sun’s image using a Galileoscope.  However, despite Ghana’s position just 5 degrees north of the equator and it being one of the hottest times of the year, and despite glorious sunshine in the morning and early afternoon, by the time the event started at 4pm, the sky was well and truly clouded over!  Typical!  So, plan B came into play.


The children drew the sun (nice yellow/orange circle) and talked about what they knew about it (it’s big, it’s hot, it’s made of gas, it’s a star, it gives us light and heat etc.)  Then we learned more about the sun, about the different types of radiation it emits including UV that can be harmful to humans even though we can’t see it.  Demonstrated that this other radiation can be seen by other detectors although invisible to human eyes using a digital camera and an IR remote control (thanks to NASE) – this went down a storm!!  Also talked about NASA’s STEREO mission and again demonstrated how useful it is to be able to see in “stereo” by getting the children to try to touch the ends of 2 pencils together with one eye closed (try it yourself!)


We then watched some great video clips from SDO and STEREO showing the sun in all its seething boiling bubbling dynamic glory with solar flares and CMEs a-plenty.  After this we let the children draw the sun again, and were pleased to see that this time the pictures were (mostly!) quite different!


Finally back to the Planetarium for a couple more of NASA’s e-clips for children talking about the sun and STEREO, followed by a great Planetarium show about the lifecycle of the Sun.  No telescope viewing due to the continued cloud.


So, no Sun to be seen in the sky, but plenty of suns at the Ghana Planetarium! Around 40 people attended the event.


    You need to be logged in to leave a comment

    About Me

    I am the weekend events coordinator (voluntary position) at the Planetarium Science Centre, Accra, Ghana. We have 2 types of weekend events - meetings of the Astronomical Society of Ghana, and public events, which may include hands-on activities for children, planetarium show or telescope viewing. I am currently studying astronomy online, and also go into schools presenting science and astronomy sessions.


    Location:Accra, Greater Accra