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Lunar exercise using clay and what else??

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#1 rolandlinda3

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 09:58 PM

A friend of ours from Florida (Ted) is working with girl scouts on astronomy observing. He uses simple 4 inch tiles (the rough side) and gives each person a little play dough. He shows them a map of the moon, picks a crater, makes a rough version on the piece of tile that includes an inner peak and a couple mountains around the rim, then runs a flash light from one side to the other to show what happens. They get all excited, do the same thing, then go observe the real thing. It is a great exercise, which he also showed me in five minutes.

We are going to do the same thing in a conference in NJ but also make them sketch what they see when they actually observe the moon (with either a 4 inch refractor or an 8 inch SCT).

Has anyone done anything similar to his exercise and tried using any other material...wet sand, dough, or anything else.....and what were the pluses and minuses??

Second exercise:

We are thinking of using a picture of a galaxy then having them try to recreate it using cotton (combination of cotton balls and those ball pulled apart to make strands. It is all to give them a taste of going further in their seeing of an object than just a guick glance. Anyone ever tried something like this or used any other material?

#2 Erix

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 10:41 PM

Hi Roland,

Rich introduced something like that to use a few years ago. Here's the link if you'd like to look over what he did.

Some benefits of it could be:
1. Really studying the objects you're creating, heights, depths, central peaks, crater walls, subtle unevenness of the terrain, etc.

2. Practice calculating central peaks on the crater's you create? Or taking even a step further and actually trying to get the estimated scale right on the whole sculpture.

3. Take to star parties for the public to explain the terminator and how it affects the views over a short period of time.

And here's my attempt at using the clay after Rich's tutorial.
link to clay crater . I always meant to have another go at it, only at the eyepiece, but never did. Someday, it would be pretty fun to do so.

Anyway, hope that helps with your project.

#3 kraterkid

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 02:58 AM

Roland and Erika,

Consider this wild coincidence: I hadn't given much thought to creating a clay sculptural sketch (the last one I did was several years ago) until last week when I suddenly got the bug to go get some modeling clay and have another go at it. I was out doing the observation and when I finished with the sculpture, I was amazed when I visited the Sketching Forum to find that Roland had written a post asking about this technique! :shocked:

You can find my post about the modeling clay sculpture of Archimedes and environs created the night Roland made this post in the Lunar Observing Forum.

Erika, those are excellent points summing up the value of creating these sculptures. Besides that, it is one of the most interesting and stimulating things I've ever done at the eyepiece of a telescope.

#4 Shannon s

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 09:13 AM

Uh-oh, I see a new forum thread coming. The "sculpting" section.

#5 rolandlinda3

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 10:02 PM

Excellent. Convinced me. We are doing it but a little simpler for our group of kids/parents. Thanks for the links.

How about the galaxy formation with cotton or the like...anyone tried it??

#6 kraterkid

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:17 PM

Yes I did that too Roland, works great and kids really love it! I did a "guess the media" type series of posts and the receipiant won the coveted qupee doll.

#7 rolandlinda3

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 07:56 PM

Rich, other than just pulling the cotton apart for the galaxy stuff, did you try to stiffen or anchor the cotton in any way.....or did you try to put any color in the mix?

#8 kraterkid

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:02 PM

Roland, all I did was staple a piece of black craft felt cloth to a 8" x 10" x 1/16" rectangle of pressboard, you can pick up both at a crafts store. The cool thing about the black felt was that you could completely pull your cotton ball apart and then slowly and methodically build up your nebulae or galaxies by simply pressing the strands into the fabric of the felt. Works great to form comets as well. I suppose you could glue it, it's just that it's a bit messy when trying to do a presentation.

#9 rolandlinda3

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 04:38 PM

Great idea that works...that's what we will do.






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