The EUCLID space telescope mission
This curriculum linked resource, for primary children and their teachers, is based on the exciting real-life launch of the Euclid space telescope. Through simple models and practical activities, the children are introduced to the work of space scientists seeking to discover more about our universe.
The resource comprises practical activities including:
- modelling the expansion of the Universe by inflating a balloon and measuring the distance between various points on the balloon’s surface; studying real images from space to try to detect features in the appearance of distant stars and galaxies.
- learning that distant galaxies can act as magnifying lenses and the Euclid telescope and other space telescopes use curved mirrors to capture the light from these distant stars and galaxies; using a variety of objects such as lenses, liquids and clear glass pebbles, to investigate the magnification and distortion of images.
- an introduction to the process of polishing telescope mirrors; children model the process and investigate four polishing materials before recommending one they think is the most suitable.
- in the first of two activities, based on Euclid’s solar panel and sunshield, the children use colour-changing UV sensitive beads to test the effectiveness of a variety of materials in blocking UV radiation; in the second activity, they test the heat insulation properties of several materials.
- using the example of constellations to plot star positions using a 2-D grid and coordinates; the children are then challenged to draw their own constellations on graph paper and describe the position of its stars using coordinates.
- employing practical skills to make a constellation viewer and the opportunity to research and design their own constellations.
Each activity is supported by teacher notes and background information, resources list, curriculum links and pupils’ activity sheets, key STEM vocabulary, suggestions for additional or extension activities and useful website links. There are PowerPoint presentations and videos to enrich the lessons. The activities may be used individually or as part of an extended project and may be used by STEM ambassadors, science clubs or for home school projects.
Euclid is a new space telescope launched by the European Space Agency in 2023. Euclid will be sent several times further from Earth than the Moon, where it will follow the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Its main mirror will image about a third of the sky and will create a survey of the deep Universe over the course of six years, covering all of the sky that is not obscured by our Solar System or our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Euclid will observe the brightness, colours, shapes, and patterns in the sky, of more than a billion distant galaxies.
On board Euclid will be two instruments: one is among the largest digital cameras that have ever gone into Space; this camera will take exceptionally sharp and precise images of objects that are too small and too faint to be studied from ground-based telescopes. A second camera will capture light over a range of wavelengths that are slightly longer than visible light and that get blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere.
Polishing mirrors video
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Please be aware that resources have been published on the website in the form that they were originally supplied. This means that procedures reflect general practice and standards applicable at the time resources were produced and cannot be assumed to be acceptable today. Website users are fully responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is in accordance with current regulations related to health and safety and that an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out.