Azorean Sky activity

Last October, RAEGE-Az in partnership with Expolab and OASA, took to the elementary school of the island of Santa Maria to all 1st cycle and pre-school students.

This activity was in the format of a photographic exhibition whose objective was to allude to light pollution and its impact portrayed in the images. This exhibition was a challenge to all Azoreans, proposed by the Santana Astronomical Observatory (OASA), to take pictures of the night sky.

After looking at all the pictures and understanding the negative impacts of light pollution from science to living beings, we decided to move on to the practical part of the activity. The students drew their "constellation" to later be projected inside a box using a flashlight. Inside the box it is dark, and the students can see their creations, but, in order to understand in a didactic way the impacts of light pollution, a strong flashlight was lit inside the box, which made it impossible for the students to see their projected "constellation", the same that happens in areas with a lot of light, it becomes difficult to observe the sky.

Light pollution has a very negative impact on science when we use equipment such as optical telescopes. The presence of too much light at night makes it impossible to see the celestial bodies and to study space using optical techniques.

Besides the impact on the study of the Universe, we also talked with the students about the impact on living beings such as the juvenile Cory's shearwaters that, usually in October, come out of their nests for the first time and, instead of flying towards the sea, are attracted by the lights on Earth, get confused and dazzled and end up being injured or often killed.

It was with the aim of alerting the youngest to this type of problem that we accepted the OASA challenge and took the "Azorean Sky" to all elementary school students. On November 25th we were invited to participate in the Santa Maria High School Science Fair where we took the exhibit and ended up reaching several classes in high schools as well.