365 Days of Astronomy

Faces of the Moon

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Date: September 24th, 2009

Podcaster: Bob Crelin

Organisation: Crelin Creative, Bob Crelin/author http://BobCrelin.com Watch a video interview of Bob about his book from WFSB TV.

Description: In our modern times, the word “astronomical” is often used to described things that are dauntingly large, or difficult to comprehend. To the average person, this has helped to subconsciously pose astronomy as more out-of-reach than other hobbies or interests. In 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, activities around the world are being carried out to welcome everyone to the wonders of astronomy. For IYA2009, author Bob Crelin chose to introduce the phases of our Moon in a new, poetic children’s book, which hopes to inspire a reader’s first connection to astronomy- for the young, and the young at heart.

Bio: Artist, author, educator & inventor, Bob Crelin has spent most of his life exploring the creative boundaries of our modern world. His writing and design work often reflects his long-time interest in amateur astronomy. In 2004, Bob received the Astronomical League’s Walter Scott Houston Award for his education work and public outreach. Bob’s first book, There Once was a Sky Full of Stars (Sky) has become a learning resource for outreach in the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

Today's sponsor: This episode of “365 Days of Astronomy” is sponsored by the MLH & WII PROJECT.

Transcript:

Faces of the Moon

Welcome to 365 Days of Astronomy. My name is Bob Crelin. I am an amateur astronomer, artist, inventor, and writer of children’s books.

There are few things more inspiring than working with kids as an astronomy educator. Learning about the worlds beyond our own is a source of great wonder for everyone- young, or old. Witnessing other’s excitement about astronomy – especially in kids- always renews my own curiosity about the universe.

Although most people have little knowledge of things beyond our planet, they are genuinely fascinated with the subject. Most grownups can’t tell you why the Moon goes through changing phases (many don’t even notice that it does!)

For every Earthling, the Moon hangs obvious in our sky as the nearest otherworldly place. Even in a city sky polluted with man-made light, our celestial neighbor is there for any child to seek out and observe- from their own backyard, or even through their bedroom window. No telescope required. The Moon sits there in the sky as our first stepping-stone to the universe.

Armed with a little bit of knowledge, kids can discover how the changes in the Moon’s appearance give us clues about her movement in space. Observing the changing Moon forms a real-life connection, and the universe comes alive in a child’s mind.

A few years ago, I set out to write, and design an “everybody’s guide” to the Moon for the International Year of Astronomy, 2009. My goal was offer up a little bit of lunar knowledge, but to take care and keep the wonder intact that we feel when innocently pondering the Moon. It is my hope that children, from age 6 to 106, will be able to discover their own connection to the Moon, and witness our universe in motion.

Newly arrived for our year of astronomy, my book is called Faces of the Moon – a storybook, poem – a lunar lullaby, beautifully illustrated by Leslie Evans and designed just so… you’ll be able to watch the Moon wax and wane as each page turns.

For today’s podcast, I am going to give you a little taste of Faces of the Moon. I hope you enjoy it.

Do you wonder, when you see the Moon,
at dusk, or dawn, or midday noon,
just why her face is curved, or round,
or why she sometimes can’t be found?

Each month the Moon transforms her face,
which grows and shrinks at steady pace.
Her changing looks reveal her place
in orbit ’round our globe.

The book continues on to further explain how the dance of Earth and the Moon in the Sun’s light gives us the changing phases. Then comes the heart of the book, in which each of the eight primary phases are introduced.

The Moon’s first phase, we call it NEW—
when Moon’s between the Sun and you.
Her sunlit side is turned away,
and we can’t see her, night or day.

A few days pass, and Moon’s less shy;
her smile lights the twilight sky.
The more her sunlit surface shows,
the more Moon’s WAXING CRESCENT grows…

As each page turns, cutouts reveal more and more of the sunlit Moon – each designed to look just like the actual Moon phase in the sky. Then, after waning down to New, Faces of the Moon wraps with a tribute, and invitation to our Moon.

As long as we have watched the skies
this nearby world has drawn our eyes
in singer’s song and poet’s rhyme,
across our globe and throughout time.

The Moon reminds us of our place:
a spinning world in endless space.
Each month her ever-changing face
is right outside your door…

To explore the Moon further, the back section of the book offers more information, including Moon “Memo-Rhymes” for remembering facts about our lunar neighbor – for example:

The Moon’s size:
To know how large the Moon is wide:
our Earth is four Moons, side by side.

The waxing Moon:
Imagine Moon a candlestick,
each dip in wax will make her thick.

The Crescent phase:
A Crescent shape the Moon displays
between each New and Quarter phase.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast, and I thank you for listening. You can find out more about Faces of the Moon at: BobCrelin.com, or at: Charlesbridge.com

©2009 Bob Crelin

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by the New Media Working Group of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Audio post-production by Preston Gibson. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. Web design by Clockwork Active Media Systems. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. Until tomorrow…goodbye.