Thursday, 6 March 2014

The moon and lots of muddy fun

Last night we went to the George Abell Observatory at the Open University campus in Milton Keynes.

We were split into small groups for the activities.  We started with powerful binoculars outside the observatory.  There was a crescent moon, and if we managed to hold our binoculars steady we could see the craters very clearly.  Fred enjoyed this, and chatted with the other boys in our group.  Betsy got a bit bored.

Then we went into the observatory.  It had clouded over, so the astronomer had a computer programme on his laptop and showed us different constellations.  He said that on clear nights you can see the Andromeda galaxy as a 'smudge' in the sky.  That smudge contains millions of stars!  We'll look out for that one night.  

The clouds cleared enough for us to look through the big powerful telescope.  It was amazing!  The astronomer focused it on a smooth crater on the moon.  It had been created by a big impact from a space rock.  Lava flowed out from the impact site, and the resulting lava lake cooled to make a smooth crater.

We missed the last two activities as Meg and Betsy wanted to go home.  Fred didn't mind leaving early, and said he'd like to come back another time.  I'm so pleased that he enjoyed it, I had been in two minds about going.  Sometimes I see an outing and get excited about it,and all the kids don't want to be there!  I find it hard to decide if it's me who wants to go, or if I think the kids might like it.  

Another day in the woods today, this time on the Ashridge Estate.  We always go to the same bit, but today our friend Angela guided us to a very old tree.  We met at the usual place, and followed her past Ashridge House and some small pretty hamlets.  We parked on the side of the road, and headed into the woods.

It was muddy!

 We walked along the muddy track for a 20 minutes or so, until we reached the spot we were looking for.  And there was the big, 400 year old pollarded beech tree.  It's a beauty.

We spent a lovely few hours there.  We had lunch under the tree, and hot chocolate and conversation.

We found a star-shaped tree stump.

Betsy and Heather made a home for Betsy's little cuddly mouse.

 Fred and Toby sawed a rotting log with a stick.

 Everyone climbed fallen trees.

 Angela and Meg went knocking on fairy doors, seeing if anyone was home.  

 Angela found some Artist's fungus.  I've not heard of it before.  You can draw on it with a stick.  Meg was amazed and delighted!

 There was a leaf fight!

 And it was wonderful when the spring sun came out and warmed us up a little.

Then back down the muddy track to the cars.  It was a great day.

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