Posts Tagged ‘planets’

A full day

July 4, 2012

Yesterday we left the house early-ish: after a school day would have started, but not by much.  We went for a long walk and scooter-ride, 90 minutes around to the next village.  There we stopped for morning tea before getting on a bus into Wellington to spend the rest of the day.

We went to Carter Observatory, to Fainjin’s delight.  He is very interested in the solar system since studying space at school and at Boys’ Brigade last term.  He bounced around the museum exhibits, while Pearl & I followed at a more sedate pace.  There were some school holiday activities there too, so they fished for “knowledge” about Matariki and made paper baskets to carry their knowledge home in.

Being at the observatory always reminds me of Susan, and of the Science Fair Stimey organised in her honour.  We saw a planetarium show about weather systems on different planets (and some moons), which was fascinating.  Fainjin confided later that he thought we were “going to die” because the film took us so close to the sun, but I held him in my lap for most of the show and he eventually peeked out from between his fingers and enjoyed most of it.

I wish I could remember whether it was on Neptune or Uranus that it rains diamonds.  Susan would know.  That sounded much cooler than seasonal cryovolcanic eruptions (although I have to say those are pretty amazing too!).  Pearl pouted because they didn’t mention Pluto then Fainjin started arguing with her that Pluto’s too small to be a planet and I had to hush them even though I was impressed by their level of debate because we were in a theatre.

Soon enough it was time to catch a series of busses home again.  The kids were happy but exhausted – as was I!  I put together a scrappy dinner of whatever-I-could-think-of that they might eat.  They went to bed fairly promptly and were soon asleep (only to be woken later by the earthquake).

This morning Fainjin told me all about the things he had learned and kept asking to go back to the observatory.  I’m sure we will.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


May 22, 2012

Fainjin is learning about space at both school and Boys’ Brigade, and he is very taken with it.  This has led to interesting breakfast-time exercises such as naming all the planets in decreasing distance from the sun, speculating how close you could get to the sun without being burnt up, and saying how many moons each planet has.  Needless to say, these are questions the children put to me, in full confidence that I will have all the answers at my fingertips.  (Oh my, I do miss Susan, who did!!!).  Still, it’s a good thing to start the day thinking about where we can find the answers.

Fainjin is eager to share his new knowledge, too.  He finds it fascinating that it is the sun that makes the moon shine – and it is pretty amazing, when you think about it.  But this morning’s factoid gave me pause.  “The craters on the moon are made by astronauts crashing into it!”

I have had a cartoon image in my head all day since: little spacemen in their white suits and opaque visors, spinning helplessly through space until they hurtle into the moon, raising little clouds of dust and leaving pockmarks on the face of our satellite.


“Do you perhaps mean asteroids?” I ventured, and sure enough that was it.  “Yes!  And they look like falling rocks!”

The moon wasn’t up tonight when we went out, but we found the Southern Cross and Orion’s Belt, and he was a happy little man.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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