Questions for a rainy day

For the last few weeks we have had nothing but cloud and rain. The last few days have seen it raining cats and dogs which is not good when you have to cycle to work and then spend all day with wet feet. It also means that observing has been out of the question, although I did catch a brief glimpse of some stars on the way home tonight. Only briefly though. Hopefully, November will provide better weather.

This week is half term (school holidays) and yesterday I got to be the astronomer in an 'ask an astronomer' session. I find it daunting to be an 'expert' in front of a room full of people, but it is a lot of fun. I've noticed that it is usually better if a kid asks the first question though, as this encourages the other kids to ask questions too. Strangely, questions from ten year olds tend to be a lot harder than the questions from adults because the kids know more about space and haven't learnt that it isn't cool to think about stuff.

Yesterday the kids were on fire; they had an impressive amount of knowledge and asked some fantastic questions. Amongst them were "How do we know that the Sun is 8.3 light minutes away?", "How do you measure the speed of a solar prominence?", "What is the smallest star?" and "What happens at the centre of a black hole?". For the last question I told the young lad that nobody is quite sure, but if he thought about it for a few years he might be able to figure it out. It would be great if he did.

I really hope those kids keep their enthusiasm in the world around them as they get older and never stop asking questions. I am trying to savour the warm fuzzy feeling.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 25th Oct 2005 (22:01 UTC) | Permalink
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