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Children Throw Their All into Creating a Dynamic Picture of the Sun
5 June 2012

To celebrate Ireland’s National Drawing Day on 19 May, Deirdre Kelleghan, creator of the award winning Universe Awareness (UNAWE) activity Deadly Moons, used her artistic talents to give an educational workshop about the Sun at Kilkenny Castle, Ireland. In Action Sun, Deirdre recruited the help of young children to create a wonderfully textured picture of the Sun by throwing paint-covered crepe paper at a large plastic sheet.

“The act of throwing the crepe paper is perfect for creating the dynamic solar atmospheres and it’s also fun for the children," says Deirdre.

While many children contributed to the final picture, two boys worked hard on the project throughout the day: Max Gronowski and Daragh Lynch, both aged 12. While they worked, the boys asked Deirdre many questions, such as “Where did the Sun come from?”, “What will happen to the Sun in the future?” and “How big is the Sun?”.

Action Sun had initiated a constructive dialogue with two very tenacious boys,” says Deirdre. “Some parents came to help for a while and Matthew Shortall, aged 9, joined us for the last hour. He helped to make our photosphere denser, which was a very big task given the 5-metre wide solar disc!”

The workshop also involved real observational data, with Max using Deirdre’s sketches of the Sun’s current activity, based on information from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory website (since it was cloudy in Ireland), to position the sunspots on the artwork.

The children’s Sun creation will hang at Dunsink Observatory during Solarfest on 23 June*. “Sticky hands and paint-splattered T-shirts told the story of almost four hours of creative work,” concludes Deirdre.

For more information about Deirdre’s outreach events, please visit her website.


* Please note that spaces at Solarfest are limited to 60 seats. If you are interested in attending, please send an e-mail to



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