Sun, Moon, Light – MAGIC!

Sun, moon and light - sunlight on grasses

The Summer Solstice

Sunlight. Where would we be without it? It enables us to see (find out about exciting research in this area that our Curiosity Champion Tassos is doing!), plants to grow and controls our seasons. Quite simply, without it, we couldn’t even exist! It’s no wonder then, that so much of our way of life is shaped by the sun.

Before science helped us to understand what the sun and moon were, and how they work, humans have been guessing at the role of these magical objects in the sky. Our calendar, our sleeping and waking, what we eat and even when we are most likely to have babies are all dictated by the sun.

The Summer Solstice is a centuries-old celebration of the longest day of the year, the day when the sun’s light reaches earth for longer than any other. With so much light around, and the odd eclipse here and there, it is also a great time of year to explore what light really is!

Spotting the solar eclipse

Annular eclipse of the sun

A partial solar eclipse is where the moon passes between the earth and the sun. Done safely, It’s a stunning thing to see, and if you’re lucky, you can sometimes see the exact moment where the moon is right in front of the sun. This is called an annular eclipse.

There was a partial eclipse earlier in June. Don’t worry if you missed it (it was very cloudy in the UK on the day), we found a stunning slideshow courtesy of BBC Science Focus Magazine of some of the best views of it from around the world!

Invisibility – magic or science?

Making things invisible might seem like magic but a lot of the time it’s just a good ol’ optical illusion. Think about animals camouflaging themselves or those ‘Where’s Wally?’ puzzles? The idea is to trick the eye so you think you can’t see something. And you can try it at home! Here’s a video from our pals at one of my absolute favourite places ‘We the Curious‘ that shows you how!.

More Light Science

Explore rainbows, how light travels – and how we can manipulate it to help us solve problems with our Light Box, now available for 4-6 year olds!

(Main photo by Kent Pilcher. The photo of the solar eclipse is by Marek Okon.)

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