“Upside-down Moon-face” by Celia Berrell

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Upside-down Moon-face


Serenitatis and

Imbrium Mares

are names for the eyes

of the “Man” up there.


Asteroid impacts

made volcanoes blow,

so Moon’s molten lava

began to flow.


These large lunar seas

then cooled, hard and black,

so the full-Moon has patches

for eyes that stare back.


Cognitum and

Nubrium Mares

make his grin.

But he’s upside down

when WE look at him!


Inspired by this article:


The Origins Of The Man In The Moon

By Ker Than February 09, 2006 Science & Astronomy 

An image of the moon taken by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in July of 1969.

(Image: © NASA)

The “Man in the Moon” illusion, familiar to various cultures around the world, was created by powerful asteroid impacts that rocked the satellite billions of years ago, a new study suggests.

The study, performed by Laramie Potts and Ralph von Frese of Ohio State University, reveals that ancient lunar impacts played a much larger role in shaping the Moon’s surface than scientists had previously thought. It may also help explain the origins of two mysterious bulges on the Moon’s surface.

The new analysis reveal that shock waves from some of the Moon’s early asteroid impacts traveled through the lunar interior, triggering volcanic eruptions on the Moon’s opposite side. Molten magma spewed out from the deep interior and flooded the lunar landscape.

When the magma cooled, it created dark patches on the Moon called “lunar maria” or “lunar seas.”

During a full Moon, some of these patches combine to form what looks like a grinning human face, commonly known as the “Man in the Moon.” The man’s eyes are the Mare Imbrium and Mare Serenitatis, its nose is the Sinus Aestuum and its grinning mouth is the Mare Nubium and Mare Cognitum.

The effects of some of those traveling shock waves are still visible in the Moon’s interior today. Cross-sectional images of the insides reveal that a part of the mantle, the section between the Moon’s core and crust, still juts into its core today, 700 miles below the point of one of the impacts. The images were created from data collected by NASA’s Clementine and Lunar Prospector satellites.

Mysterious bulges

Early surveys by the Apollo missions revealed that the moon isn’t a perfect sphere. There is a bulge on the Earth-facing side, called the near side, and another bulge on the far side.

According to one hypothesis, these bulges are the result of Earth’s gravity tugging on the Moon during the early years following its cataclysmic formation, when its surface was still molten and malleable.

The current study suggests that this scenario is only partly correct. The researchers think the Moon was struck by at least two very powerful asteroid impacts in its past (in addition to countless smaller impacts that left smaller craters easily identifiable still today). One of the major impacts struck the near side, sending shock waves that traveled through the lunar interior to create the bulge on the far side; the other impact struck the far side and created the bulge on the side.

The researchers think the impacts happened about four billion years ago. At that time, roughly half a billion years after the birth of the solar system, the Moon was still geologically active and its core and mantle were still molten and malleable.

Back then, the Moon was much closer to the Earth than it is today and the gravitational interactions between the two were much stronger. The researchers think that when magma spilled out of the Moon’s interior, Earth’s gravity immediately grabbed hold and hasn’t let go since.

“This research shows that even after the collisions happened, the Earth had a profound effect on the Moon,” Potts said.

The findings were detailed in a recent issue of the journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors.




“Recycled Water” by Celia Berrell

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We’re 10cc’s of water and

although the Earth’s our base

we recently went travelling

up there – in outer space.


An astronaut had drunk us

just before his rocket ride.

And so we were the stowaways

that hid in his insides.


Meeting different molecules

we made a lot of friends.

With some we only mingled

while with others we held hands.


While staying in the astronaut

we all kept nice and warm

and floated round inside him and

explored his body’s form.


Eventually he moved us out.

So off we raced in glee.

With other friends I think we were

all classified as pee.


We found ourselves inside a box

with membrane walls all new.

Its holes were just the perfect size

for water to get through.


We said goodbye to all our friends

as they were far too fat

to wriggle through those membrane walls

and join us for a chat.


Now squeaky clean we hung around

inside some holding pen.

Until we found ourselves inside

the astronaut again!

“Brassica Bonanza” by Celia Berrell

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Brassica Bonanza

(Brassica oleracea)


The humble wild cabbage

named Brassica o

looks more like a weed

than the veggies we know.


Through breeding (like dogs)

to enhance special traits,

there’s more than one

Brassica o on our plates.


Selecting big leaves gives us

Kale, Collard Greens,

while breeding big buds

grows the cabbage we’ve seen.


Exaggerate flowers and

what have we got?

Some huge heads of Broccoli

served steaming hot.


Those cream Cauliflowers

are Brassicas too.


And so good for you!



“Snoopy Spiders” by Celia Berrell

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Snoopy Spiders


Spiders don’t have any ears.

They don’t have any ear-drums.

And so we thought they couldn’t hear

and only felt their webs strum.

But scientists who’ve scanned their brains

noticed they responded

when squeaky chairs and music strains

from far away were sounded.

Special hairs that wobble when

a soundwave moves the air

means jumping spiders hear quite well

through nerves attached to hairs.

These snoopy spiders listen-in

for buzzing enemies

like deadly wasps that sting and sing

some scary melodies!

Inspired by:



“Fussy Rainbow-Eaters” by Celia Berrell with Teacher Notes

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Fussy Rainbow-Eaters


Leaves choose mostly orange-red

then bands of blue

to violet.


Using light to make a meal

of carbohydrate’s

sweet appeal


their chloroplasts feed on the Sun.

But only parts of

light’s spectrum.


Leaves don’t use all sunshine’s beams.

It seems they rarely

eat their greens!


First published in Double Helix (October 2015)

Reproduced with permission of CSIRO





Teacher Notes

Sunshine is made up of all the colours of the rainbow. It’s warming, illuminating, and essential for life.  And plants mostly reflect the colour they don’t absorb – GREEN!

Notes by Jeanie Axton

Below is a template for an Australian Eucalyptus leaf. Print and get the students, after brainstorming, to write a shape poem around the shape of the leaf. They could all be cut out and attached to a Eucalyptus Poem Tree.



“Pet Rex” by Celia Berrel

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Pet Rex


Some animals

don’t make good pets.

And one of them

would be T rex.

A dinosaur

so tall and wide

there’s no way

he could live inside.


Tyrannosaurus rex

is large.

His head would fill-up

your garage.

Twelve metre driveways

would be great

to fit his tail

inside the gate.


With stinky breath

from eating meat

you’d want to clean

his big strong teeth.

He’s got bad manners

when he’s fed.

His tiny arms

can’t reach his head!


first published in CSIRO’s Scientriffic magazine issue #77 March 2012
with illustration by Science Writer Mike McRae

“Europa’s” Secrets by Celia Berrell

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Europa’s Secrets by Celia Berrell


There’s hope Europa has a sea

where living things could really be

because this moon of Jupiter

has lots of solid ice water.


The pictures of Europa show

a crusty surface white as snow

with many lines and ridges mixed

like ice sheets that have cracked and fixed.


As Jupiter’s great gravity

distorts Europa’s cavity

that energy and friction heats

and melts some water underneath.


We think this frozen water layer

could make a sea that’s hiding there.

So just below that crusty shell

it’s possible some microbes dwell.


Or what if it turns out to hold

some animals both weird and bold

that roam Europa’s chilly sea.

True aliens to you and me!


First published in Scientriffic (March 2011)

Reproduced with permission of CSIRO


Discovering life exists in places beyond Earth – like Jupiter’s icy moon Europa – could be a reality in our lifetime.  Thinking about it makes my imagination run wild!  What will these creatures be like?

Teacher Notes by Jeanie Axton

Heres an interesting article from the NASA website


As far as poetry goes this topic stimulates the creative imagination of us all. Ask students to brain storm possibilities and then come up with a list of describing words that could be used to match their ideas. An acrostic could be an easy form of poetry to start with on this topic and then move on to other ways of presenting ideas in poetry. Have Fun.