Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Stargazing

With the Summer Solstice quickly approaching (June 21st, 2011 at 1:16PM EDT is the starting time) I thought it would be helpful to include some great resources to teach kids about the night sky. Summer to me means warm days and beautiful night time skies.

First up we have Sky Maps which is a great resource. Each month you can download an evening sky map guide to the night sky. In addition to the map and sky calendar it also gives you descriptive details about the items that you can see with a pair of binoculars, a telescope or just using your eyes.

Next we have Deborah Byrd of Earth Sky with a nightly update as to what can be seen in the sky.

Some things to keep in mind for star gazing:
1) Light pollution is bad. You want to be in an area that does not have lots of lights, whether that is your back yard or a ride in the country.
2) Do not get too far away from a bathroom. Kids will inevitably need to go potty as soon as you get set up.
3) Take a couple of blankets to lay on.
4) Take snacks and drinks.
5) Binoculars and telescopes are nice to have but not completely necessary. If you do not already own them, do not purchase them until you know whether the family is even interested in stargazing.
6) A laser pointer is a nice item to have to show the kids exactly where a star is but be sure you know the regulations/laws in your city before you use one for stargazing.

A great project to bring your stargazing inside is quick, easy and inexpensive.


Empty Milk Carton
Constellation Book
Dark Room

Look through the Constellation book and let your child pick out their favorite constellation. Run a copy, shrinking it down to fit on the bottom of your milk carton. Tape the copy to the bottom of the carton and use a pin to poke through the paper and the milk carton. Once you have completed the pattern, remove the copy. Go into a dark room and shine the flashlight up through the bottom of the milk carton and and you will see your constellation reflected on the ceiling.

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