Today at Crayons

Its Earth Day Every Day In Space!

20 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

This month at Crayons has been Space Month and up until now we've been looking up and out into Space.   Today at Crayons we discovered some of the cool data that NASA  collects by looking back down at Earth.   

At the Earth Observatory Site NASA provides images of Natural Hazards, be it volcanic clouds or hurricanes and with the Global Maps section there are colourful graphics detailing up to date info on areas of important scientific study such as vegetation, rainfall and sea surface temperatures.

The site also offers an Image of the Day and our favourite is the one of Hervey Bay in Queensland.

2014 A Big Year For Earth Science and has all the planned events young Earth Science Boffins may like to check out.
Huricane Gonzalo from Space, Image from NASA

Do Aliens Have X-Ray Vision?

19 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are pondering what type of vision aliens could possibly have and we are guided in this exercise by a passage from the book 'The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.     In the chapter, The Theory Of Everything, they state that it is perhaps no accident that the wavelengths of light we are able to see with the naked eye are those which the Sun radiates most strongly and, consequently, our eyes evolved to detect the light most available to them.     The authors then go on to hypothesise that in all probability "if we ever run into beings form other planets" then they will have the ability to see the wavelengths their own Sun emits most strongly.

Therefore it is reasonable to assume that, if an Alien has evolved on a planet which has predominantly X Ray wavelengths radiated by their Sun, then yes, depending on atmospheric gas or light blocking dust, the aliens will have XRay vison.      Hello Superman :-)

Our Sunday Fun today is aliens, superheroes and Star Wars!

For little ones there are aliens to colour in or perhaps make craft aliens - googly eyes, antennas and multiple legs seem to features all fictional aliens have in common and these can be made with pipe cleaners, craft pompoms, cotton balls and glue.   They could then perhaps be bluetacked to the wall amongst the astronauts, spaceships and rockets from the Sunday Fun of the 4 October.



If there is some fun cooking today it would be fair to say that the more smartie or choc chip eyes the better for any alien themed cupcakes or cookies being made.  Our Fun Cooking Collection has space ship cookie cutters for those wanting to have afternoon tea in somewhere near the Horsehead Nebula.


This beautiful image of the Horsehead Nebula is from NASA.


Older children may like to contemplate how their favourite super hero got those super powers or perhaps, using their own imaginations, create their own superheroes with super powers to meet the needs of atmospheres and landscapes in a galaxy far far away.

Speaking of which!  Apart from Marvin the Martian our favourite aliens are from Star Wars and for older children with creative minds they may like to explore the dynamics of Star Destroyers or Jedi Interceptors.   Or how Chewbacca adapted to life on the Millenium Falcon :-)






Recycle Your Old Computer!

18 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons the funny site Don’t Just Throw Your Old Computers has tickled our funny bone.   At a pinch we could find an association between Space and recycling computers but one does not come to mind off hand.

Recycling old or outdated items is easy when you drop them off and they are ultimately remade into something else.    Finding a use for recycled items, in house, is also easy when you allow serendipity and necessity to guide your innovation.    

Children are very good at this, as any cubby or spontaneous dollhouse will display and finding another use for a discarded item, such as a holey sock as a puppet or a box as a car or boat, is easy to do when there are grand adventures waiting to be imagined.

At Crayons we are pleased to offer the Makedo range of recycling kits which are designed to help children reuse household containers to build a variety of fun toys and places to play.   There can be a lot of satisfaction in discovering that pretty much everything can have a second life and continue to be useful - with a little creative imagination :-)



There are some other cool ideas at the site igreenspot too!

It's Friday On Earth

17 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we note it is Friday, all day, and on Earth we can say that for 24 hours.    But if we were on Mars, and Martians had a Friday, it would last for 58 earth days and some 15 hours.   Then again, if we were on Jupiter it would be Saturday already because Jupiter's 'day' is just under 10 earth hours long.

The longest 'day' can be found on Venus where a day lasts 116 Earth days.   That means we would not have tomorrow, Saturday, until 11 February 2015.    Wow.     Purely based on day length, and certainly not atmospheric conditions,  Venus is the place to go for holidays and fun, but not the place for exams or waiting in line!


Venus, as 'photographed' for NASA by the Magellan spacecraft.

Happy Friday!

Take A Tour Of The Space Station!

16 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are happily checking out the 360 Tour of the International Space Station available on the educational Interactive Reference Guide provided by NASA as part of the Education Channel.

P.s The HD ISS Views from NASA TV are beautiful this morning!



15 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we have been tuning in to NASA TV.   There are four channels to choose from, including an Education channel, and while the interviews, docos and programs are interesting our favourite channel has to be "HD ISS Views" the live view of Earth from the International Space Station.    The views of Earth can be exceptionally beautiful.

When the ISS is passing over night time on Earth the view may be limited and for a few minutes of composite footage of the lights of Earth at night from the ISS then SpaceRip has What the Astronaut's Camera Sees at Night.    This footage has a commentary to help identify the continents and nations as well as dancing auroras, electrical storms and city lights displaying an amazing show.

On NASA TV the view of Earth's daytime has no sound unless the view coincides with an activity or commentary.   So, if you're inclined, enjoy the daytime views with a full screen, find some music that suits and be an Astronaut for a while :-)


This image from the ISS is of the Bahamas.

If Earth Had A Postcode

14 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we've been pondering what postcode Earth could be allocated in this corner of the Universe.   Its a fun idea that can really get imaginations rolling.   Depending on your attitude this could be an exercise in whimsey or a detailed consideration of all the elements in play, with a little analytical thought thrown in for good measure.

Would it necessarily be numerical?   If it was, how many boxes would need to be on the front of the envelope?  The Universe is a big place!


Image : Intergallactic postmen assessing whether an item is too big for free delivery.  

(Thank you, in many ways, Forbidden Planet :-)

Is Pluto A Planet?

13 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are happy to have discovered that Pluto may be reinstated as a Planet!    The article Back By Popular Demand reports that discussions are underway by the gurus of the Astronomical world as to whether the demotion of Pluto to "dwarf planet" status should be reversed and for Pluto to once again be included as the furthermost Planet in our Solar System.

Semantics or not, at Crayons we still think of Pluto as a Planet, no matter what the gurus say.   We tend to favour the opinion of Professor Dimitar Sasselov who argues that "a planet should be defined as the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants". 


The above image, from Universe Today, accompanies an article Why Pluto Is No Longer A Planet which explains the rationale behind the decision.

Hopefully, when the International Astronomical Union next vote upon Pluto's status it will be in the early morning or afternoon and the reported rush to get to lunch - or depart - will not bias their decision.
Those with the interest and a little time may like to check out a variety of images of Pluto - including some laugh out loud visual commentary on Pluto's demotion.
Go Pluto!

Grab A Toilet Roll, Space Cadets!

12 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are measuring the distances of the Planets in toilet paper, so grab a roll and head outside for some Sunday Fun!      Everyone knows that the Planets are incredible distances from the Sun but by actually checking it out, using a scale model, it is surprising how far apart the Planets really are.    

A little effort before hand can make this much more fun so why not take the time and make little cardboard circles that can either be coloured in, or named, to represent the Planets (if you will be heading outdoors for this activity paste them onto paddle pop sticks - making them easy to push into the ground).    The cardboard circles can then be used to identify each Planet as you head out from the Sun - a ball, the larger the better, makes a great Sun! 

Grab a new roll of toilet paper, head outdoors to the yard or park and, using the scale table below, measure out the distances from the Sun by counting out the sheets of toilet paper as detailed.    The toilet paper does tear easily so a little roll of sticky tape may be of use on this expedition.



This excellent Scale and activity comes from Woorranna Park PS in Victoria :-)

If you are unable to do this activity today, or you are down to your last roll of loo paper, here are Solar System colouring in activities, and inspiration, for children of all ages.

It is always so much fun to do stuff, like pretend to travel the Universe, and still be home in time for tea!

First TV Broadcasts From Space

11 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we note that it is the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 7 in 1968.   The launch of Apollo 7 for an Earth - orbit test was an important occasion because it confirmed the Space worthiness of the redesigned Command module.    But Apollo 7 is perhaps best remembered because it was during this flight that the first live television broadcast was made, providing footage of the crew and the Earth's surface - all from a four and a half pound camera that had cost half a million dollars, a huge sum at the time.   This footage was broadcast on `4 October 1968 and not only did the crew all have head colds, there had been difficulties with a variety of experiments and new equipment and, consequently, they were not at all keen to do the broadcasts - happily, in the end, they agreed.



This somewhat wobbly, black and white footage reminds us of the very early Dr Who and Star Trek episodes but of course this is the real thing :-)

Young Astronauts in your family may enjoy discovering Space with an activity from our Space Collection.   We also have Star Wars LEGO too!

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