Deirdre Kelleghan

About Deirdre Kelleghan

Deirdre Kelleghan is an Astronomer, Artist and Educator. She invents designs and enacts creative workshops to help children understand our solar system through drawing . Her activities take place in schools, libraries, science centres and observatories in Ireland and abroad. In practice her work is always engaged in the NOW. A recurring feature of connecting with her audiences is being actively attentive to astronomy or space events that are ongoing in real time. ICT ,eLearning and blended learning play a key role in many of her programs. Her Action Sun workshop opened Building the Scientific Mind 2013 Colloquium at Bosscha Observatory West Java Indonesia. This was a UNESCO / The Learning Development Institute event. In 2011 Deirdre was awarded the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education. The workshop was Deadly Moons the awarding body was the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is co author of Sketching the Moon an Astronomical Artists Guide. Deirdre is a contributing artist / writer for BBC Sky at Night Magazine . Deirdre has recently been invited to write for The Vatican Observatory Foundation. Deirdre Science / Art Workshops for children support • The primary school curriculum • eLearning • ICT in Education • Astronomy • Astronomy software • Enquiry Based Learning • Drawing skills • Observation She has her own blog: http://www.deirdrekelleghan.net. You can follow her on Twitter, and Facebook

Eratosthenes Drawing Drama plus an Experiment opportunity for schools all over the planet
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On that cold evening back in 2007 Eratosthenes looked powerful in its position emerging into the suns warm rays. Rupes Recta was also inviting and Plato almost called me again. Even drenched in sunlight Plato’s steel grey floor carried those unmistakable flame shaped shadows. Eratosthenes is a truly dramatic crater, a sweeping mountain chain whips away from it in a visual series, of broken, deep shadows. Montes Appeninus is cut and chopped first by Mons Wolf, and then by Mons Ampere. Next in line, Christian Huygens name is lent to Mons Huygens named in honour of the discoverer of Saturn’s largest moon Titan . This high mountain (164,000ft) is a billion miles away from those primal methane or ethane seas discovered by the Cassini Huygens mission on one of its routine flybys. Mons Bradley and Mons Hadley cradle the Apollo 15 lunar landing area from 1971. A mission that put wheels on the moon for the first time. This wonderfully … Continue reading

Grand Finale – Painting inspired by the Cassini Mission to Saturn
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Also in Exploring the Solar System Exploring the Solar System: The Mass of the Sun Marvellous Mars Drawing Workshop at Dunsink Observatory Dublin Astronomical Sketching – Education in action Stars Wonderful Stars at Wexford Town Library Ireland Get ready the Perseids are coming Space the final Frontier – World Space Week 2016 On the richness of the lunar surface Dark Sky Magic at Ballycroy National Park Mayo Ireland Grand Finale – Painting inspired by the Cassini Mission to Saturn View the entire series … Continue reading

Bringing Mars to Earth – Educational Outreach
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  Mars is an extraordinary planet , its textures and exquisite beauty have been brought to Earth by the images of HiRise on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter . Curiosity gives us a ground eye view as it drove through Gale crater and on to Mount Sharp. From Earth by eye Mars is but a tiny pink dot , in small telescopes it becomes a slightly larger pink dot . It is not easy to see detail on Mars for most people. My best views were in the South refractor at Dunsink Observatory and through a friend’s 16 inch Schmidt Cassegrain.The polar caps stood out in the 16 inch while the 11.75 inch objective at Dunsink showed a hint of dark areas on the predominantly rusty pink planet body. Of course Martian dust storms and the quality of our sky has a lot to do with seeing any detail at all. Pointing out Mars in the sky for public groups and children’s … Continue reading

Lunar Drawing – Fracastorius, to Madler along the terminator
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May 21st 2007 21:00UT – 22:45 UT Lunation 5.16 Days 200mm Reflector / Williams Optics Binoviewer 20mm eyepieces 2X Barlow/120 X Image not rotated 300gm Paper/Soft Pastels/Conte Crayons/Blending stick / etching tool   Many astronomers are less than fond of the moon because its reflected light takes away from their deep sky observations and imaging. Both the moonless and the moon full renditions of the sky are relished by me for different reasons. The deep dark sky for comets and messier objects, our moon for its outstanding contrast and intricate detail. My attention is captured by the interaction of sunlight with the rugged landscape. It is often difficult to choose what feature of the moon to draw when your field of view sometimes offers several exquisite potentials. The theatre of the moon is almost impossible to ignore.   Back in May 2007 I had a loan of a pair of binoviewers this sketch was the result of trying them for … Continue reading

Dark Sky Magic at Ballycroy National Park Mayo Ireland
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“The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.” – Carl Sagan There is something deeply magical about a truly dark night sky. Objects that you would strain to see or not see at all in suburbia populate every eye movement. Peripheral vision fine tunes to a state of high alert with ease. Observing rewards even before dark adaption. My visit to Ballycroy National Park in Co Mayo reminded me of so many holidays in the west of Ireland long ago when our children were young. After a day of extreme foggy conditions across the whole country I was not expecting to see any stars at all. Shortly after my talk we went outside to check up on things. Even with some small lights on in the visitors centre the sky was mind-blowing. Ballycroy National Park I had been introduced to Georgia MacMillan from the Mayo Dark Skies team by … Continue reading

When is a week not a week ? When its Science Week 2016 of course !
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Science Week 2016 was the 21st iteration of this infectious annual event . My involvement has been ongoing since 2007. A multitude of varied engagements are supported and promoted by Science Foundation Ireland. The aim is to stimulate interest in a broad range of sciences. Science Week makes the often complex world of science totally digestible to every person who embraces it. The programs are targeted towards school children and their teachers plus the public at large. Science Week touches almost everyone in this country via TV, Radio, Social media, publications and apps. Nationwide road shows, workshops and talks go directly to schools,libraries and other centres. The magic and wonder of many sciences shared with tremendous enthusiasm and smiles by a host of participants. This year my offerings were two drawing workshops Deadly Moons and Marvellous Mars plus a special Constellation session for local cub scouts. The workshops were attended by 800 children in 10 venues over 11 days in … Continue reading

On the richness of the lunar surface
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March 25th 2007 20:45UT – 22:08 UT Lunation 6.71 Days 200mm/8mm/ 150 X Seeing 1 300gm Daler Rowney paper/Soft Pastels/Conte Crayons/Quilling Needle There is an exquisite richness in the play of light on the lunar surface.  The deepest blacks and brightest whites develop as the sun pours or withdraws its light  during the moons journey around the Earth. Shadows both deep and subtle entice curiosity about their origins against a continually changing vista. While observing some years ago I wandered into the visually rich lunar landscape near  the Hyginus rille . This area was close to the terminator near the South West region of Mare Serenitiatis. The lunar terrain had a lot of linear features and subtle shadows mixed in with some well defined craters like Manilius (South-West part of Mare Serenitatis) Agrippa and Godin, (East of Mare Tranquillitatis region) Also in my field of view that evening was the  not so clear Boscovich which looked broken and messed up … Continue reading

Space the final Frontier – World Space Week 2016
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“Space: the final frontier. ” The opening line of the famous quote from Star Trek, the missions aim ” to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before. ” During Spaceweek 2016 I had the opportunity to take 360 children and their teachers on an exploration of moons in our solar system and the very topical planet Mars . Through listening and drawing they experienced a small awakening to the robotic images which are unveiling the beauty of other worlds, increasing our understanding with every single pixel. My workshop Deadly Moons now includes the stunning New Horizons image of Charon Pluto’s largest moon. The children loved the Star Wars names on its craters . They enjoyed linking Charon’s features to familiar books and movies. The workshop also showcases the incredable images of Saturn’s moons taken by the Cassini Spacecraft. In order to make my workshop Marvellous Mars extra interesting for the groups I made a model of Mars … Continue reading

Get off the Sofa – Stellarium a beginners guide to the software with videos and instruction
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Virginia creepers are turning red, evening light drops noticeably, a chilled breeze tosses  leafs around the garden . Thoughts of winter constellations and log fires warm my heart as we lean towards autumn.  Magnificent Orion is slowly making a return  with its extremely detailed nebula, a sketching target of mine.  Once several years ago I saw it in a very dark sky , the detail was outstanding even in my 8 inch dob. I observed what looked like cracks  in the molecular cloud, it was so totally mesmerizing  however my view was  soon eliminated by fog creeping up and over me .  A drawing  to look forward to attempting  as M42 is truly special. We look from our gardens at a place where stars are born . Observing M42 we also look back in time about 1,500 light years.  The future and the past combined , a wonderful sight, a complex drawing. My hopes are for a comet in outburst … Continue reading

Reiner, R Gamma, Lohrmann, Hevelius,Cavalerius – A lunar sketch
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Reiner , Reiner Gamma March 31st 2007 21:30UT – 22:54UT 200mm/8mmTVP eyepiece / 2 X Barlow / Mag 300X Focal Length 1,200mm 300gsm Daler Rowney paper, Soft Pastels, Conte Crayons, Scraper tool. Seeing 2 Lunation 12.84 days/ Illumination 97.2% Image Rotated 180 degrees Every time I seek to do a sketch of the lunar surface, there has to be a visual trigger to set me off. On this particular night I was offered one of the clearest steadiest views I have had for a long time. Reiner Gamma, that little bright kite shape on the lunar surface  inspired me to draw. For my sketches I use pastel thickly, sometimes several applications one on top of the other. This is deliberate as I can then use certain instruments to almost carve out shapes and liner features. The seeing was good so I was able to use a 2 X Barlow to increase the magnification and my chances for observing detail. Using … Continue reading

Deadly Moons
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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin My workshop Deadly Moons has been presented on hundreds of occasions by myself to thousands of Irish school children. Its title has its roots in the expression ‘that’s deadly’ an Irish street speak way of saying something is ‘Amazing’. The bones of Deadly Moons are built from a range of robotic space images coupled with some of my lunar sketches. From time to time I update the presentation to include images from Cassini,(MRO) Mars Reconnaissance Obiter and of course New Horizons. I realised early on in my outreach efforts that most children and in fact most adults were totally unaware that other moons existed. In general people are not able to recognise moon phases or point out any features on our moon. Considering our moon is in the sky for the entirety of all our lives,this is another issue that needs … Continue reading

Get ready the Perseids are coming
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About 30 years ago we had a holiday in a remote location in the West of Ireland. The house was high on a grassy ridge on Bolus Head looking over St Finian’s Bay in Co Kerry. From this vantage point the 350 million year old Skellig Rocks rose like stegosaurus plates from the Atlantic Ocean. They were 16 kilometres out to sea but their jagged presence dominated the view to the South. It was early August and when darkness fell the predictable blinking of a distant lighthouse was the only manmade object discernible at sea level in the blackness. One moonless evening, the sky was crystal clear, the summer triangle was dramatically intersected by our galaxy’s river of stars, so much more touchable than the suburban view. I lay on the sun dried grass looking for Perseids, one, two, three, four, five, six, plus several in the corner of my eye within a few minutes. Time to take action, I … Continue reading