Understandably, you can’t come to the Observatory right now, but we remain committed to bringing the night sky to you. We have a whole suite of remote learning opportunities coming online shortly, and the first of these is our Daily Astro Challenge in partnership with ESERO Ireland.
The Daily Astro Challenges are a selection of short videos designed to progressively familiarise you with the night sky. We’ll take what you learn in early videos and build on it to give you a deeper and deeper understanding of the night sky.
The night sky slowly changes over the course of the year, but with the exception of the planets and the Moon, these changes are quite slow, so even if you missed a video it should still prove useful for some time after it’s released. We hope you’ll take part in these challenges and we’d love to hear reports of your successes or any queries you may have. Just respond to the videos on our social media pages or email us at email@example.com.
The log of challenges to date is available below. Check back from 12.30 pm each weekday for the newest challenges.
Many thanks to our parent institute and funding partners. Their ongoing support make remote learning initiatives such as this possible.
Activities that explore the night sky in a creative way can be found on esero.ie, in particular we recommend:
For young children (Infants to Second Class): Man in the Moon, What does the Moon look like?, Falling Stars, Lots and Lot of Stars, What Can You See? (Looking at Constellations)
DAILY ASTRO CHALLENGES:
Scroll to the bottom for earlier challenges
Challenge 51. (27/05/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge is not one for the naked eye. Those of you with telescopes might have some luck though. Still, it’s fun to know where minor bodies are sitting in our night sky, so today, Caoimhin is talking about asteroids and dwarf planets
Challenge 50. (26/05/20)
We’re introducing #DarkSkyTuesday to our #DailyAstroChallenge to keep building awareness of the issue of light pollution and how it affects our view of the night sky. In today’s video, Caoimhin takes a look at Leo and how it looks different with and without light pollution.
Challenge 49. (25/05/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland is a fun one for showing how different the objects we see with the naked eye are from what we can detect with a telescope. Two stars for the price of one!
Challenge 48. (22/05/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge is more about what you CAN’T see. You don’t even have to go outside for this one. You just need to use your imagination to get an understanding of what makes the Moon visible and the role the Sun plays. It’s tricky but fun. Check it out!
Challenge 47. (21/05/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland is a REALLY cool one because the easiest planet to see is gonna be right next to the hardest one to see! The bright and beautiful Venus is gonna help you find the more elusive Mercury. Find out how with Caoimhin.
Challenge 46. (20/05/20)
With today’s #DailyAstroChallenge we show how sometimes the Moon can actually be a bit of a problem for astronomers, and how the phases of the Moon can affect the objects we’re able to see. As always, these challenges are brought to you by ESERO Ireland
With today’s #DailyAstroChallenge we get a better understanding of how planets seem to move somewhat erratically from our perspective even though we know they orbit the Sun in an ellipse. Why does this happen? Caoimhin is here to tell you.
Challenge 44. (18/05/20)
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the International Space Station! Blink and you might miss it. Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland tells you exactly where to look to see this cool human-made object in the night sky tonight!
Challenge 43. (15/05/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge is by far the most difficult to date. You can see the planet Mercury with the naked eye, but it’s tricky. Tonight it will be visible, but very low in a bright sky. Do give it a go though and let us know how you get on!
Challenge 42. (14/05/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Irealnd focuses on Saturn. Saturn is one of the more difficult planets to see, but its certainly one of the most rewarding, especially if you’re going to venture into astronomy with a telescope. Check out the ringed planet in this video.
Challenge 41. (13/05/20)
Continuing with this weeks theme of Planets, today’s #DailyAstroChallenge is looking at Jupiter. This is one of the most rewarding objects for amateur astronomers to check out because you can sometimes make out its moons with a decent pair of binoculars!
Challenge 40. (12/05/20)
Yesterday we kicked off a week of #DailyAstroChallenges focusing on the planets. Yesterday we saw the bright, beautiful Venus, but today we’re focusing on the Red Planet – God Of War, Mars. One for early risers, but we promise it’s worth it With ESERO Ireland
Challenge 39. (11/05/20)
We’re getting ready to say goodbye to Venus for a little while, so for today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland, we’re going to pay special attention to this beautiful and bright planet. Check it out tonight!
Challenge 38. (08/05/20)
With today’s #DailyAstroChallenge we’re going to look at the lesser know constellation Ophiucus. This constellation is full of really cool deep sky objects such as globular clusters. An excellent target if you have a telescope. Thanks as always to ESERO Ireland for supporting us in making these videos.
Challenge 37. (07/05/20)
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s SUPERMOON. But what makes a Moon “Super”? Well in today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland, Caoimhin dives right into answering this question with a fun explainer. We hope you get to see it tonight!
Challenge 36. (06/05/20)
You may have heard the story some time back about a zoo that dressed a dog up as a lion? 🦁 Well, it turns out turning a hound into a lion is a trick that astronomers have played too! Find out how as our #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland continues with a history lesson 🤔
Challenge 36. (05/05/20)
For today’s #DailyAstroChallenge we’re going to explain why astronomers are so annoyed by Twilight (Not the book! Although…). It’s a good example of how astronomical terms and colloquial terms can mean different things. Get out and enjoy the sky!
Challenge 35. (04/05/20)
With today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland, we’re exploring a fun activity that you can take part in all year round using the Sun and your shadow! Remember: NEVER stare directly at the Sun!
Find the video on Facebook.
Challenge 34. (30/04/20)
For tonight’s #DailyAstroChallenge with @Esero_ie , we’re going to explore how the different phases of the Moon make for different viewing experiences. Tonight’s half Moon will make for excellent views of the craters and mountains
Challenge 33. (29/04/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland is one of the most fun :) You’ve heard of Zodiac signs, but where do they come from? Well now that you’re familiar with multiple constellations we can show you!
Challenge 32. (28/04/20)
We’ve been running our #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland for over a month now, and in that time the sky has changed noticeably. Tonight, a constellation you probably haven’t seen yet will start to become much more apparent. Let’s check out Libra!
Challenge 31. (27/04/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland is an excellent reminder of just how much the night sky can change in a short period of time. By the end of this week, our old friend Sirius will more or less have left us, but there’s still an awful lot more to see overhead!
Challenge 30. (24/04/20)
Our Final #DailyAstroChallenge for Dark Sky Week shows just how much more detailed this famous asterim gets when you’re in a properly dark sky. Brough to you as always with ESERO Ireland
Challenge 29. (23/04/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge uses the constellation Virgo to show you just how dramatic the difference between a dark sky and a light polluted sky can be. Which Virgo you see will depend on the light pollution in your area. Let us know how you get on with today’s challenge. Thanks as always to ESERO Ireland for their support
Challenge 28. (22/04/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge really drives home the importance of #DarkSkyWeek as we take a look at Cancer, a constellation that’s practically impossible to see in areas with heavy light pollution. Thanks as always to ESERO Irealnd for making these videos possible:
Challenge 27. (21/04/20)
With today’s #DailyAstroChallenge for #DarkSkyWeek we’re going to see how light pollution affects our ability to see stars using the constellation Gemini as our frame of reference. These daily challenges are made possible with support from ESERO Ireland
Challenge 26. (20/04/20)
It’s Dark Sky Week and with today’s #DailyAstroChallenge it’s your chance to do some citizen science with Globe At Night.To help you participate, we’ve made a handy refresher of how to find Leo. You can then go to https://globeatnight.org to take part in the survey. Good luck!
Challenge 25. (17/04/20)
Find a raven! Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge features yet ANOTHER animal in the menagerie of constellations as well as some fun tongue twisters with Spica’s Spanker. As always these challenges are brought to you with ESERO Ireland
Challenge 24. (16/04/20)
With today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland we’re gonna help you find an absolutely ENORMOUS snake in the night sky. 🐍 Check in with Caoimhin for tips on how to find it.
Challenge 23. (15/04/20)
With all that’s going on in the world right now you’ve probably learned that the word Corona means “Crown”. Well there’s a constellation by that name in the East tonight and Caoimhin is going to help you find it in today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland
Challenge 22. (14/04/20)
You may have heard of the legendary Medusa? A monster whose face could turn you to stone just by looking at it. Well we’re going to encourage you to go looking for that face in the sky! You should be ok if you don’t look directly at it… As always the #DailyAstroChallengeis brought to you with the support of ESERO Ireland.
Find the video on Twitter or Facebook.
Challenge 21. (13/04/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge, with ESERO Ireland, is one of the most challenging to date, but we’re confident you’re up to it. We’re gonna help you find a big dog and a little dog in our Southern Sky. Let us know how you get on!
Challenge 20. (10/04/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland will teach you how to complete the Summer Triangle AND you’ll find two bonus constellations to boot! We’ve got a fox, an eagle and a swan in one small corner of the sky. It’s like a zoo up there! 🦊🦅
Challenge 19. (09/04/20)
With tonight’s #DailyAstroChallenge we’re going to be looking for a HUGE swan in the Northern Sky. The constellation Cygnus is just waiting to be found. Listen to Caoimhin for tips on how to find it. Thanks as always to ESERO Ireland.
Challenge 18. (08/04/20)
Did you know there’s a musical instrument hiding in the Northern Sky? Well Caoimhin is going to help you use the bright star Vega to find it. Check out today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland, and let us know how you get on!
Challenge 17. (07/04/20)
While you’re out appreciating the Supermoon tonight, be sure to take the time to try today’s Daily Astro Challenge. We’re going to be using The Plough to find Bootes (The shepherd) Thanks as always to ESERO Ireland for making these videos possible.
Challenge 16. (06/04/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge is one of our easier ones. We’re going to give the Moon a bit more attention than you may be used to. Step outside and appreciate our nearest celestial neighbour. Thanks as always to ESERO Ireland for making these videos possible.
Challenge 15. (03/04/20)
Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge with ESERO Ireland will show you how to locate two huge constellations, Leo and Virgo, as well as giving you a sneak peak at some of the deep sky objects that we can’t quite make out with the naked eye.
Challenge 14. (02/04/20)
You’ll have to get up early for the next Daily Astro Challenge. It’s worth the effort though because you’ll be rewarded with a view of THREE planets! How cool is that? Thanks as always to ESERO Ireland for making these videos possible.
Challenge 13. (01/04/20)
Find Cassiopeia – With today’s challenge Caoimhin will show you how to use the Plough to find a new constellation – Cassiopeia. This “W” shaped set of stars is meant to represent a vain queen. See how in today’s video! Thanks as always to ESERO Ireland for making these videos possible.
Challenge 12. (31/03/20)
Find The Hunting Dogs – Did you know Ireland got to name our very own Exoplanet? Well with today’s #DailyAstroChallenge we’ll help you learn to identify the region of space it occupies! As always these videos are made possible by ESERO Ireland. Good luck with your challenge!
Challenge 11. (30/03/20)
Find Ursa Major – With today’s Daily Astro Challenge Caoimhin will show you how to build on the Plough to find the constellation Ursa major, or the Big Bear. Make sure you’ve seen the earlier videos for help. As always these videos are made possible by ESERO Ireland.
Find Taurus – Time to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and put your newfound astronomy skills to the test. Today’s challenge is one of the trickier ones, but if you’re having trouble just review the earlier episodes to get your bearings.
Challenge 9. (26/03/20)
Find Capella and Auriga – Today’s #DailyAstroChallenge sees us using Orion to find Capella and the Constellation Auriga. This cool constellation makes the shape of a pentagon so it’s pretty easy to find with a little practice. As always these videos are made possible by our partnership with ESERO Ireland
Challenge 8. (25/03/20)
Find Gemini – With today’s #DailyAstroChallenge we’re going to use one constellation to find another so watch those older videos! Today’s target is the constellation Gemini.
Challenge 7. (24/03/20)
Find The Pleiades – Today we’ll use the constellation Orion to help us locate a beautiful and very distinctive star cluster known as The Pleiades. This is an excellent target for those of you with your own telescopes, but it’s still really fun to be able to locate this one with the naked eye.
Challenge 6. (23/03/20)
Find The North Star – You’re already familiar with The Big Dipper by now, and this is your chance to put it to some practical use. In this video Caoimhin shows us how to use the Big Dipper to find North. A truly useful skill if you ever find yourself lost at night.
Challenge 5. (21/03/20)
Find the Daytime Moon – In this challenge Caoimhin shows us that sometimes astronomy can happen during the day! (This session will not apply after the date of release as the Moon will have changed phase. Don’t worry though, we’ll revisit this topic at a later date.)
Challenge 4. (20/03/20)
Find The Big Dipper – This is probably the most readily identifiable object in the night sky, but luckily it’s also one of the most useful. The knowledge from this video will form the foundation of many upcoming videos, so make sure try your hardest with this one!
Challenge 3. (19/03/20)
Find Venus – In this challenge, Caoimhin from the Observatory’s SciComm Team will show us how to find our first planet! Many of us will have seen Venus in the night sky and just assumed it was a bright star but, with Caoimhin’s help, you’ll soon be able to tell the difference between this beautiful, bright, planet and the sea of stars surrounding it.
Challenge 2. (18/03/20)
Find Orion – In this challenge, Rob introduces us to Orion. Many of us are familiar with elements of Orion, the belt of three stars in a line is very distinctive, but in this video Rob will show you how to expand your knowledge to include the wider constellation.
Challenge 1. (18/03/20)
Find South – In this challenge, Rob from the Observatory’s SciComm Team introduces the Daily Astro Challenge and teaches you how to find South. A basic but vital skill in amateur astronomy.