Why do we have days and nights? Why do the seasons spring, summer, autumn, and winter last for as long as they do? The common answer to these questions (and many more) is the motion of the Sun and Moon relative to the Earth.
The Constellation Project aimed to establish a South American network of schools committed to the long-term organisation of astronomical outreach activities amongst their pupils and local communities. The project involved twenty schools in six countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru), directly reaching at least 100 teachers and 6,000 pupils. Thanks to the long-term sustainability of the project, even more pupils will benefit through events organised independently by the schools.
The Constellation Project activities are available for download below. They allow students (with a basic level of mathematical understanding) to discover fundamental aspects of our solar system by actually carrying out famous experiments themselves!
Have you ever wondered how big the Earth is? How far it is to the very centre of our planet? These may seem to be very complicated problems, that require complicated instruments and methods, but they’re not! You only need a few minutes, some simple material, and friends from another school to get an accurate answer!
The Sun is a fairly typical star, similar to the thousands you can see in the night sky! The temperature across most of the surface of the Sun is incredibly high. But there are some small regions that are colder, called sunspots. Their number increases and decreases with time, over an 11 year cycle, and we can use them to directly estimate the rotational period of the Sun.
Given the large number of exoplanets constantly being discovered, one cannot help but wonder what these worlds are like. Each solar system can be very different from the next, but there are key properties that scientists look for when deciding if one is capable of hosting life on one of its planets. Can you design a solar system that is capable of supporting life?!
A list of public-access articles, reviews, and press releases related to my work.
INAF (Italian): http://www.media.inaf.it/2016/09/08/pulsar-magnetar-1e1613/
MPG (English and German): https://www.mpg.de/7819841/MPA_JB_2014_yates?c=8255356
Image credit: GROND Deep Field
6th December 2015
R. Yates (MPE) & D. A. Kann (TLS)