Black holes and dinosaurs

posted: 2332 days ago, on Friday, 2011 Sep 02 at 11:50
tags: astronomy, outreach, Stellenbosch.

This morning's chat to the grade 2's at Stellenbosch Laerskool was a bunch of fun. Some 80 7-year-olds packed the school library shortly after school started, and the show was on the road.

With a blow-up Earth globe and a set of balloons I could show-and-tell some relative sizes in the solar system ("here's the Earth, THIS little balloon is the Moon, and its all the way OVER THERE! in the principal's office; and the Sun is like a rugby-field-sized soccer ball on the OTHER side of town!").

The slide show got about as far as KAT/Carnarvon before there were just too many questions - mostly about black holes. "How big is space?" "What is a black hole?" "What happens if you go into a black hole?" [You get ripped apart] "What happens, then, if you send a rocket into a black hole?" [It gets ripped apart] "What happens if you send a space man into a black hole?" [He gets ripped apart; everything gets ripped apart]. "Even Jesus?" [Yes, even Jesus] "Did that asteroid you mentioned kill the dinosaurs?" [No, it was another asteroid, about 65 million years ago] "And the volcanos!" [OMFG Yes indeed! How'd you know about the Deccan traps, kid?] "What happens if you put a dinosaur into a black hole" [It gets ripped apart particularly horribly] "Cool!"

Then some six minutes of the charming "Allegro-Galactico" - it works quite well to turn the music down a bit and narrate over the visuals.

More enthusiastic questions (again with the black holes), and then it was time for the cute group-thank-you, chanted in the way only a bunch of school kids can, and off home in the rain.

Oh, and a thoughtful bottle of "Laerskool Stellenbosch shiraz", nogal!

nothing more to see. please move along.