Space Junk, Blood Moons and Annular Eclipses

Gray and White Satellite

Satellite. Image: Pexels.com

"Space... The final frontier...
 These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
 Its continuing mission:
 To explore strange new worlds...
 To seek out new life; new civilisations...
 To boldly go where no one has gone before!" 
(opening monoLogue from the TV series 'Star Trek: The Next Generation")

May and June 2021 are busy months in space. At the beginning of May, there was news that a large piece of space junk may hit New Zealand (it didn’t!), and on 26 May a super blood moon occurred. Then on 10 June an annular solar eclipse occurred.

So what on Earth is space junk, a super blood moon and an annular eclipse?

Space Junk

Everywhere humans go, we seem to leave rubbish behind… and space is no different! In the 60 years since man first managed to blast off and orbit the Earth, and so starting the space industry, we’ve managed to leave more than 500, 000 pieces of junk behind, which are larger than a a marble, orbiting around our planet. There are bits of used rockets, broken satellite parts, and even tools that astronauts may have lost during spacewalks. One of the biggest problems is that as the number of objects orbiting Earth increases, so do the chances of a collision. Even small pieces of junk can cause problems. Hurtling around Earth at speeds of up to 28,000km per hour, small pieces of space junk have the potential to cause damage to the International Space Station or the many satellites people on Earth rely on.

How do we clean up space?

At the end of their mission, modern satellites are designed to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere or move out of the way of active satellites. However, older satellites remain in space. One idea for cleaning up these satellites is to use a net to capture them. Another method is to grab the old satellites with harpoons and reel them in. They would then send them to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

500+ Free Rocket & Space Illustrations - PixabayBut bigger things like space stations and larger spacecraft might not entirely burn up before reaching the ground. However,  operators can plan for the final destination of their old satellites to make sure that any debris falls into a remote area. This place even has a nickname—the Spacecraft Cemetery! It’s in the Pacific Ocean and is pretty much the farthest place from any human civilisation you can find.

Technology is always changing and evolving, and NZ aerospace company RocketLab is developing reusable rockets that can be retrieved and used again. It’s still a work in progress, but hopefully soon this will become the norm!

Super Blood Moon

The larger looking, red coloured moon that occurred on 26 May 2021 was caused by the rare combination of a lunar eclipse and the moon being at its closest point to earth in its orbit. The last time a Super Blood Moon occurred in Aotearoa was in 1982.

Annular Solar Eclipse

Perfect Ring of Fire - Annular Solar Eclipse | Mid-eclipse, … | FlickrA solar eclipse happens when a planet or a moon gets in the way of the Sun’s light. An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon covers the Sun’s centre, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the Moon. The annular solar eclipse that occurred on 10 June was best seen in the Northern Hemisphere (Aotearoa is in the Southern Hemisphere).

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Wahine Disaster – 53 Years Later

Wahine sinking in Wellington Harbour

Wahine sinking in Wellington Harbour. Dominion Post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1968/1647/14-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22327912

On the morning of 10 April 1968 one of New Zealand’s worst recorded storms hit Wellington. This storm produced freak winds of up to 230 km per hour around Cook Strait. The Christchurch–Wellington ferry Wahine was driven onto Barrett Reef, at the entrance to Wellington Harbour.

When the ship hit the reef, one of its propellors was knocked off and an engine was damaged. The Wahine could no longer be steered properly so it drifted into the harbour before leaning to starboard (nautical term for the right side of a ship). Because of the heavy list (another nautical term for a ship leaning dangerously in the water), only four of the eight lifeboats could be launched, and most of the inflatable life rafts flipped in the savage seas.

The Wahine finally capsized at 2.30 p.m. Most deaths occurred on the Eastbourne side of the harbour, where people were driven against sharp rocks by the waves. Of the 734 passengers and crew, 51 died that day, another died several weeks later and a 53rd victim died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck.

It remains one of New Zealand’s worst maritime disasters, after the wreck of SS Penguin in 1905.


Want to know more?

Wellington City Libraries Heritage pages have got loads of info, photos and footage from that fateful day: https://wcl.govt.nz/heritage/wahine

Other useful sites are:

Many Answers

Museums Wellington

Christchurch City Libraries


Want to read all about it?

No safe harbour / Hill, David
“Stuart and his twin sister Sandra are coming home to Wellington on the ferry. Stuart knows he’ll enjoy the trip – he’s a good sailor. But it’s April 1968 and the ship is the Wahine. As the tragic events unwind Stuart and Sandra must battle to stay alive. A vivid and compelling picture of the Wahine’s last hours.” (Catalogue)

 

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Saint Patrick’s Day 2021: Painting the Town Green!

A day of leprechauns, four-leaf clovers and painting the town green! St Patrick’s Day is coming to the Capital and Wellington City Libraries on 17th of March! Why not call into your local library and take out some amazing books about Saint Patrick’s Day and Ireland. 


image courtesy of wikimedia
What is Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural, religious and public holiday celebrated on 17 March, the anniversary of his death.It celebrates the life of  Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. On the day, people go to church services, wear green attire, attend public parades, eat Irish food and party the Irish way with music, singing and dancing, leprechauns and four-leaf clovers (or shamrocks).

image courtesy of wikimedia.org


Interesting facts:

  • Patrick was an Englishman who was captured as a boy by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He managed eventually to escape and made his way to France where he studied to become a priest. When he was made a bishop he was sent back to Ireland to spread the Christian faith among the tribes there.
  • The shamrock is now the emblem of Ireland and is used to explain the Christian belief of the Trinity or the idea that God is three in one – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  • Over half a million New Zealanders have Irish ancestors, whose stories have been passed down the generations. Read more about this history of the Irish in New Zealand on  Te Ara.

Where can I find information about Saint Patrick’s day?

  • ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about festivals and celebrations in New Zealand, which includes Saint Patrick’s Day.
  • You can also find pages dedicated to Saint Patrick’s Day at Britannica and National Geographic for Kids.
  • Visit your local library and check out the find the following books:


Books about St. Patrick’s Day (and the Saint himself):

image courtesy of syndeticsThe St. Patrick’s Day shillelagh.

“On his way from Ireland to America to escape the potato famine, young Fergus carves a shillelagh from his favorite blackthorn tree, and each St. Patrick’s Day for generations, his story is retold by one of his descendants.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe life of St Patrick.

“This series explores the lives of saints, and includes the four patron saints of the UK. Each book tells the life story of the saint in a chronological manner, introducing evidence that survives from that era. The primary source materials are used to explain how we know about the saint’s life and how we can learn from events in the past. The books can be used in the Literacy Hour as examples of biographical recount, and they support the learning strand study the lives of famous people.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsSaint Patrick and the peddler.

“When a poor Irish peddler follows the instructions given to him by Saint Patrick in a dream, his life is greatly changed. Includes background on Saint Patrick and on the origin of the story.” (Catalogue)

Books about Ireland:

image courtesy of syndeticsIreland.

“Known as the “Emerald Isle,” Ireland is an island famous for its green, grassy fields. With tips and insights from an Irish native named Seamus, readers will take a trip across the Irish countryside and explore its biggest cities. Along the way, they will see how Irish people live, learn about Ireland’s fascinating history, learn to speak Gaelic, and much more.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsIreland.

“This series offers comprehensive coverage of countries around the world. Each book offers complete coverage of one country, including sections on history, geography, wildlife, infrastructure, culture, and peoples.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsIreland.

“What’s it like to live in Ireland? This book is part of a series which takes you on a tour so you can find out about the landscape, the weather, the people and the places.” (Catalogue)

Irish Folk Tales and Stories:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe names upon the harp.

“A collection of classic Irish legends, retold for children of eight and over. It includes tales of fiercely fought battles, passionate romances, spells and curses, heroes and villains, and loyalty and betrayal.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe cloak of feathers.

“Once every hundred years, the small, forgotten, rural Irish town of Lisahee welcomes The Fairy Festival – a week of celebration where the mysterious and magical ‘sidhe’ emerge from the hill above the town and take residence alongside their human counterparts for seven days of ancient traditions and games. Filled with dancing, music, goblin markets and fae-folk, the festival has only one rule: never, ever, say ‘the f word’ – that’s ‘fairies’ – a rule twelve-year-old Brian unfortunately breaks. When mayhem ensues, it’s up to Brian and his friends to avoid the wrath of the King and Queen and help keep the town in one piece. A magical adventure filled with myth, mischief and misunderstandings, perfect for fans of modern fairy tales with a comic twist.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMagical tales of Ireland.

“Fairy tales get a modern twist in this dazzling collection of newly written and illustrated Irish stories for the 6-9 year olds. This is a sparkling collection of newly commissioned stories and illustrations from Ireland’s best-known writers and illustrators. From Roddy Doyle’s poignant story of a young girl dealing with the loss of a parent, powerfully illustrated by PJ Lynch to Paul Muldoon’s witty narrative poem about a girl with a knack for seeing things backwards, accompanied by Niamh Sharkey’s zany illustrations and Malachy Doyles’s hero, famous Seamus who scores a very unusual ghostly goal 21st century tales combine contemporary realism and magic, making this a collection unlike any other. These tales are as diverse as the authors themselves.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsBetween worlds : folktales of Britain & Ireland.

“Rich and strange, these eerie and magical folktales from across Britain and Ireland have been passed down from generation to generation, and are gathered together in a definitive new collection from storyteller Kevin Crossley-Holland. Dark and funny, lyrical and earthy, these fifty stories are part of an important and enduring historical tradition that dates back hundreds of years.” (Catalogue)

More Books from the ‘Little People Big Dreams’ Series

Little People Big Dreamswritten by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, is a collection of biographies with simple text and eye catching illustrations, about famous people, (mainly women), who pursued a dream no matter how impossible it seemed and who truly made a difference. Wellington City Libraries has various books by Sanchez in the collection and continues to grow with the edition of five new books from the series.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsPrince.

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Prince, one of the most iconic performers in music history. From a young age, Prince was obsessed with music. Even though he couldn’t read it, his talent – whether on piano, drums, guitar or vocals – turned him into an icon. Combining funk, disco, soul and almost every other genre out there, his songs are some of the best-loved all around the world. Prince knew that he didn’t have to be like anyone else to be a star – and there was no one quite like Prince. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the music legend’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsJohn Lennon.

“From the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of John Lennon, the boy from Liverpool who dreamed of peace. When John Lennon formed a band while still in school, he couldn’t have known they were about to change music forever. With their exciting new sounds, rebel attitudes and gift for songwriting, everyone went crazy for The Beatles. Today, John is remembered not just as a musical icon, but as a champion of world peace. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the legendary Beatle’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCharles Darwin.

“From the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Charles Darwin, the scientist who changed the way people see the world. Although he didn’t do very well at school, Charles Darwin was passionately curious about wildlife, humans and plants. After a journey to South America, he developed his landmark theory: that all living things are related. Today, he is regarded as one of the most brilliant scientists who ever lived, and a hero to those who dare to think differently. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the iconic naturalist’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsStevie Wonder.

“Discover the life of Stevie Wonder, the genius behind some of the world’s best-loved songs. At just 8 years old, it was clear that Steveland Judkins was going to be a star. Renamed Stevie Wonder for his astonishing talent on the piano and other instruments, he wrote and performed some of the biggest hits of the 1970s. Stevie became known for his inventiveness, his soulful voice and the social commentary in his lyrics. He is a UN Messenger of Peace and remains one of the music world’s most iconic figures. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the great musician’s life.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMegan Rapinoe.

“Discover the life of Megan Rapinoe, the world record-breaking footballer and activist. Chasing a ball in the school playground, Megan discovered her calling at a young age. Even if she didn’t always fit in at school, she was a star on the field- and her teammates thought so too. Her passion, skill and leadership took Team USA to Olympic Gold and a World Cup victory, while she continues to champion women’s and LGBTQ+ rights and representation in sport.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsCaptain Tom Moore.

“Discover the life of Captain Tom Moore, the veteran who raised over £30 million for the UK’s National Health Service during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.” (Catalogue)


Coming soon:

We have more books coming soon to the library, but you can place a reserve to ensure you receive it when it arrives:

image courtesy of syndeticsEvonne Goolagong.

“Be amazed by one of Australia’s most inspiring tennis players- Evonne Goolagong – who overcame adversity and went on to win 13 majors, 84 singles, 50 doubles and 5 mixed doubles titles throughout her illustrious career.” (Catalogue)
image courtesy of syndeticsMary Anning.

“Discover the life of Mary Anning, the first palaeontologist and daring fossil hunter.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsMalala Yousafzai.

“When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsHans Christian Andersen.

“When Hans Christian Andersen was a little boy, he treated storybooks as jewels to be treasured. He wanted to perform on stage, but was always cast as the troll. Luckily, through theatre, he found a love for writing. He wrote about both the ordinary and fantastic, never talking down to children.” (Catalogue)
Search our catalogue for more books from the Little People Big Dreams series!

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Kia ora!  Thursday 11 of February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and we love science!  From chemistry to astronomy, biology to geology, and beyond, there is something in science for everyone and on this day we celebrate the amazing roles women have played in science and encourage girls to be active in science.

If you’d like to read about famous women scientists try some of these titles:

Women in science : 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world / Ignotofsky, Rachel

This book highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world.  Read about scientists like Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, Hypatia, Barbara McClintock and many others. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more.

Ada Lovelace / Sánchez Vegara, Ma Isabel

As a child, Ada had a big imagination and a talent for mathematics. She grew up in a noble household in England, where she dedicated herself to studying. Her work with the famous inventor, Charles Babbage, on a very early kind of computer made her the world’s first computer programmer.

Jane Goodall / Romero, Libby

“Jane Goodall was a pioneer of primatology through her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees in Africa. When she embarked on her career, women were discouraged from conducting scientific research, especially when that work meant living side by side with wild animals. A self-taught scientist, Jane bravely ventured out into the bush of Tanzania to learn about the secret world of chimpanzees. Discover how, through perseverance and perceptive observation, she gained access to these elusive creatures and discovered that they are not so different from us.” (Catalogue)

Maria Montessori / Muñoz, Isabel
“Maria Montessori developed a brand-new approach to education, building on the way children naturally learn. Now, her methods, which won her three Nobel Peace Prize nominations, are practiced worldwide. This fascinating biography shows how Maria defied gender norms by earning a degree in physics and math, became one of Italy’s first women physicians, and revolutionized educational theory–experimenting and refining to discover what worked best.” (Catalogue)

Marie Curie / Demi
“Read about Marie Curie, the revolutionary scientist and winner of two Nobel Prizes who discovered two elements: radium and polonium.” (Catalogue)

Reaching for the Moon : the autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson / Johnson, Katherine G

“As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.” In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon.” (Catalogue)

Forgotten women. The scientists / Tsjeng, Zing

“Forgotten Women is a new series of books that uncover the lost herstories of influential women who have refused over hundreds of years to accept the hand they’ve been dealt and, as a result, have formed, shaped and changed the course of our futures. From leaders and scientists to artists and writers, the fascinating stories of these women that time forgot are now celebrated, putting their achievements firmly back on the map. The Scientists celebrates 48* unsung scientific heroines whose hugely important, yet broadly unacknowledged or incorrectly attributed, discoveries have transformed our understanding of the scientific world. From Mary Anning, the amateur paleontologist whose fossil findings changed scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the Earth’s history to Emmy Noether dubbed “The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of” and whose theorem is still critical to modern physics – these are the stories of some truly remarkable women.” (Publisher summary)

And if you’re ready to dabble in a little science yourself, try these out:

Programmers / Gibson, Karen Bush

“Do you like solving problems? Are you dying to automate even the simplest of processes? Do you always need to know how things work? Programming is the process of breaking down complex tasks into a set of instructions. This is what programmers do when they write code that will make your computer do what you tell it to! In Gutsy Girls Go for Science: Programmers with STEM Projects for Kids, readers ages 8 to 11 meet five female programmers who made revolutionary discoveries and inventions that changed the way people used technology!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

First science encyclopedia

Filled with fun science facts about many different subjects, from the human body and animals to facts about space and matter. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Outdoor science lab for kids : 52 family-friendly experiments for the yard, garden, playground, and park / Heinecke, Liz Lee

From playground physics to backyard bugs, this book makes it fun and easy to dig into the natural sciences and learn more about the world around you. Have fun learning about:

  • the laws of physics by constructing and using a marshmallow catapult.
  • centripetal forces by swinging a sock filled with gelatin snack and marbles.
  • earthworms by using ground mustard seed dissolved in water to make them wriggle to the surface.
  • germination by sprouting a sapling from a pinecone or tree seed.
  • surface tension and capillary action by growing baking soda stalagmites and stalactites.

The curious kid’s science book : 100+ creative hands-on activities for ages 4-8 / Citro, Asia

What happens if you water plants with juice? Where can you find bacteria in your house? Is slug slime as strong as a glue stick?

In The Curious Kid’s Science Book learn to design your own science investigations to determine the answers! Learn to ask their own scientific questions, discover value in failed experiments, and — most importantly — have a blast with science. The 100+ hands-on activities in the book use household items to playfully teach important science, technology, engineering, and math skills. (Catalogue)

Kitchen science lab for kids : 52 family friendly experiments from around the house / Heinecke, Liz Lee

Conduct physics, chemistry, and biology experiments with tools and ingredients found in any kitchen These 52 labs created by mom and scientist Liz Lee Heinecke introduce fundamental scientific principles in a fun and accessible format.

Have fun:

  • exploring physics marshmallow slingshots serve as a lesson on the transformation of energy and an egg-throwing experiment demonstrates the law of motion.
  • learning about microbiology by growing your own microbe zoo on a homemade petri plate.
  • learning about rocket science by making and launching bottle rockets, using water and a bike pump.

These are just a few titles you can borrow from the library to guide you in exploring science.  Remember, have fun, be curious and ask lots of questions!