Sunday, February 24, 2008

Eclipse handout

Click and then print larger image. Folding instructions below or at PocketMod.

For the recent total lunar eclipse, I prepared a handout for the pedestrians. The objective was to provide information listed below, space availability was the governing factor. Not everything made it or was to be trimmed down to fit space.

The handout consisted of:
- brief description & time table of the event
- Danjon Brightness Scale to describe color and brightness vaules
- basic moon map (using NASA Lunar Landing Map)
- illustration of moon's passage through shadows (Espenak's)
- list of NYC astronomy groups
- a list of astronomy resources in NYC

I relied on freely available material, particularly Fred Espenak's work available on the NASA web site. I did model my black and white version based Fred Espenak's illustration for easier reading in dimmer lighting. In fact, I made few a drawings, one which showed the geometry of an eclipse and the "phases" (shape) of the moon as the event unfolded. Those images are forever stuck in a corrupted file on a USB stick :{ a lesson learned the hard way } and I had no time to make them up. Instead I whipped up a version similar to this one.

I realize there is much room for improvement but I like the start and like its utility. Better planning and considering both sides of the paper will improve the design and effectiveness of future handouts. I find it too easy to provide too much detail and just as hard to distill to the essential elements while keeping it engaging. Also, copy should not really be dense, pictures being a thousand words augment what I might be explaining.

I am working on a boilerplate to adapt to regular sidewalk sessions. I am even looking to standardize on a form that can be used by sidewalk astronomers for 2nd Annual International Sidewalk Astronomy Night (ISAN).

(Will follow up with my own illustrated directions.)
On a recent trip, my daughter returned with an origami book and folding paper for omiage (gift giving/souvenier). I have been hooked on paper folding since and thought of applying it to the handout. Via my Moleskine interest and paper pdas, PocketMod came to mind. I chose this attractive and convenient paper book format for 8 usable pages per side of a folded sheet. When you get the knack, this fold can be done in seconds. In the simplest of descriptions a piece of paper is:
- folded in half along each axis: length and width
- unfolded and then re-folded the length of the paper
- fold each half, making quarters across the length of the page
- with printed side up, sharpen the fold across the width
- tear the lengthwise fold, center of the sharpened width
- lay the torns sides flat
- fold the paper along the length
- flatten and square up booklet

Comes with two accessible pockets to tuck other notes away.

Lunar Landing Map

21 February 2008 Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC

A pop-up window with paper folding instructions from this page. Beneath Step #2 and to the right of Step#4, click the "Folding Guide" button.

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