Crochet, knitting, astronomy & life in general.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sunspots and Falcons

On Monday, my friend (whom I shall call N) and I gave an astronomy tour to a small group of grade 5 and 6 students from a local elementary school. We started off with a planetarium show, which, amid cries of "Let's fly to Saturn!" and "Oooh! Can you zoom in on that again?", I tried to keep within 45 minutes. Needless to say, our planetarium super rocks.

We then went up to our observatory, where we were able to see the sun through our 8-inch telescope with a solar filter. We actually got to see sunspots, which was pretty impressive... It looked something like this (courtesy SpaceWeather.com):



After all the kiddies had thanked us and left, N and I decided that since we were already on the roof, we may as well hang out on the building's balcony for a while. The balcony looks like this:



As we turned the corner, we both stopped dead in our tracks. Right in front of us, sitting on the edge of the railing, was a really big bird, which I'm pretty sure was a peregrine falcon. We managed to sneak towards it, hiding behind the short columns on the balcony until we were within a few meters of it. At that point, it decided it'd had enough of us and casually jumped off the ledge to fly away. N managed to get some decent pictures with his iPhone:





(Who knows why that last picture looks so strange? I guess we'll say it's impressionist and call it a day.)