I had my first day working for SETPOINT Wales yesterday in their mobile planetarium, the Stardome. I went to Crickhowell High School and had a great (if tiring day) giving a space talk and showing, what felt like hundreds of children, the constellations.
The reason I like talking about space is that I like to put across the idea that we are on a round, spinning planet which is orbiting our star, the Sun. I spoke about the solar system and the Milky Way and also a little on black holes. These were Year 9 children which means they were 13/14 years old. I thik on the whole they enjoyed it, and certainly there were a few kids here and there who I could tell were very into it all. So that was nice.
Today I spotted on digg.com/space that there is a great image taken of our little spinning rock, from another neighbouring one. This is just the kind of thing that I really like, because this picture, taken by the Mars Global Surveyor in 2003, shows the Earth and Moon as well as Jupiter and its moons. Both of these planets would be very much visible from Mars. In fact the Earth must appear quite bright in the Martian sky, much as Venus does here. Click for a larger version – which is well worth doing.
So that you can orient yourself, this diagram shows the angle from which the image was taken and below it is a map showing the area of the Earth which was visible at the time of the photo, you can see that the fuzzy blobs visible were in fact the Americas.