Educational competition about the Sun offers attractive prizes
The European Solar Telescope (EST) project in cooperation with the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS) and the Astronomical Institute SAS organises an international educational competition for primary and secondary schools entitled "The Sun at a Glance". Students from all over Europe can explore various topics and phenomena related to our star and help experts compile a special encyclopaedia about the Sun called EST Solarpedia. The main prizes of the competition are a trip to Tenerife combined with a visit to the Teide Observatory and a top solar telescope for the school. Registration for the competition is open until October 30, 2021.
"The Sun at a Glance competition is intended for primary and secondary school students and eight-year-old grammar school students aged 14 to 16, who will form four-member teams under the guidance of their teachers. Their task is to create an engaging infographic about the Sun in the English language,” explains Peter Gömöry, co-organiser of the competition from the Astronomical Institute SAS.
The competition offers a unique opportunity to combine knowledge from physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, art, computer science, English and even history. The design technique is optional, but it must be original - it must not copy similar images that are already known in the field of design or science. To facilitate the selection, the organisers offer a list of possible topics for processing on the competition page. Those interested will also find samples of various infographics for inspiration on the website.
The entries will be assessed by an international jury composed of leading scientists in the field of solar physics, scientific communicators and design experts. Each participant will receive a certificate signed by the President of the European Association for Solar Telescopes. The submitted infographics will also become part of the upcoming open online encyclopaedia about the Sun called EST Solarpedia intended for teachers and the general public. The two most creative teams will travel to the island of Tenerife. The team ranked third will receive an advanced solar telescope.
The trip to the Canary Islands will take place in accordance with the pandemic measures in April 2022. During the tour, the winners will visit the Observatorio del Teide, where, among other astronomical facilities, there are also two large solar telescopes GREGOR and a vacuum tower telescope.
"These telescopes represent the highlight of current technology used for solar research. The diameter of the main mirror of the GREGOR telescope is 1.5 m, making it the third largest solar telescope in the world,” emphasises the astronomer, adding that visitors will also be able to see detection equipment, spectrographs and narrowband sensors of the highest quality. If the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow travel, the tours will be replaced by an advanced solar telescope equipped with an H-alpha spectral line filter. Thanks to this, students will be able to observe the layers of the solar atmosphere called the chromosphere.
"This area is not observable with the naked eye when watching the Sun. With the help of such a telescope, students will also be able to observe solar filaments and protuberances. Good weather is usually enough to observe them. During periods of increased solar activity, solar eruptions can also be observed very well in the H-alpha spectral line. These are the most energetic phenomena in the solar system, and their observation is always a great experience even for professionals,” stressed Peter Gömöry.
The condition for participation in the competition is the registration of the team leader - the teacher. Registration is possible by the end of October at https://est-east.eu/registration. Teams can submit their work to the competition until December 20, 2021. The winners will be announced on January 28, 2022.
More information about the competition can be found at: https://est-east.eu/contest.
Edited by Katarína Gáliková