Tag Archive for: solar

Yellow Giant Exhibition

Yellow Giant is an exhibition by Helen Schell.  Inspired by the Sun and Space, Helen uses optical illusions to express phenomena of space.

In creating the artwork for this exhibition, Helen has worked with solar physicists, Dr Gert Botha, Dr Stephane Regnier from Northumbria University, and Dr Helen Mason from Cambridge University.

The exhibition is open from 10 September – 3 October 2015,

Gallery Opening times Wed – Sat,  12-5pm.

The exhibition is being held at Vane Gallery, First Floor Commercial House, 39 Pilgrim St, Newcastle

Events for adults and families.

Saturday 12 September 2-4pm
Beyond Yellow

Presentations and discussions with Dr Gert Botha and Dr Stephane Regnier (Northumbria University Solar Group), Helen Schell, Richard Talbot (Head of Fine Art, Newcastle University), Dr Helen Mason (Sun|trek, Cambridge University) and Dr Carol Davenport (Think Physics, Northumbria University)

Saturday, 3 October 2-4pm
Our Dynamic Sun

Solar physics for families: presentation with Dr Helen Mason and family workshop with Helen Schell


These events are free, but please book a place by contacting the gallery at
info@vane.org.uk or telephone 0191 261 8281




Thermal Selfies

Today Think Physics was visiting The Hermitage Academy STEM fair.  It was lovely to chat with the people of Chester-le-Street and beyond.

We took with us our thermal camera and plasma ball, both of which we use as part of the ‘Explore your Universe’ workshops (which are available for booking!).  Our theme was ‘seeing things differently’ and we were offering ‘Thermal Selfies’.  Now, technically, they were infrared photographs – but we decided to go with the catchy title.

We looked at the different types of information that we could get by using different wavelengths of light: visible, infrared and UV.  With the IR camera we could measure the temperature of body parts and see who had cold noses.  We could also look at how effective coats and jackets were at keeping people warm, by looking at how much IR was radiated by them.

The IR camera allows us to demonstrate why astronomers use telescopes to observe different wavelengths of light by using a black bin bag to simulate interstellar dust.  In visible light, we couldn’t see through it, but in IR we could see the children hiding very easily.  A handy gadget for our next game of hide and seek!


Hiding behind a black plastic bag? Not in infrared!

We also looked at how the sun appears in different wavelengths, comparing the slightly boring visible light pictures with the more interesting UV pictures.

Visible light images of the sun. NASA

Visible light images of the sun. NASA

UV images of the sun. NASA

UV images of the sun. NASA

Thank you very much to Ms Rose at the Hermitage Academy for inviting us along to the STEM fair.  We had a great time taking thermal selfies and talking physics.  As promised, we have put together a gallery of the pictures.  If there’s one of you, can you spot it?