Saturday, April 24, 2010

Our Astronomy night with the kids

Unfortunately our weather report is calling for lots of rain this evening. So with that being said we switched Astronomy Day to last night.

The kids went on the computer to this website http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/planner.cfm
 and found what phase of the moon we are in.

 to compare and look at:
  • The Circumpolar Constellations
  • Winter Constellations
  • Spring Constellations
  • Summer Constellations
  • Fall Constellations
We figured out which way to look for which constellation we might be able to see and then the kids each chose a constellation to create.

We took a piece of white paper and drew out a constellation on it. We then placed that paper over a piece of black paper and pushed pins through both papers. The kids then each had a replica of the constellation they chose. We held these up to the light and it was so cool to see the constellation of the kids made shown though the paper. The kids really enjoyed doing this.

We took our constellations outside and looked for ours in the night sky. We did not find the constellations we chose to create and I know this was due to the fact that we did have some cloud cover, a bright moon and it was early evening. What we did find was the Big Dipper or Ursa Major and a huge bright star or planet, we weren’t to sure which.

We then went inside to look it up and found that we were then able to see Venus. We found this website that list the following:


Friday, April 23
Low in the western sky at nightfall, look for the Pleiades to the upper right of bright Venus. They fit together in a 5° binocular field of view this evening through Sunday evening.

Saturday, April 24
The "star" to the upper left of the Moon this evening is Saturn.

Sunday, April 25
Saturn is above the Moon this evening.

Monday, April 26
The star left of the Moon this evening is Spica. To the right of the Moon is the constellation Corvus. Above them is Saturn. A small telescope will always show Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Tonight and tomorrow you'll find Titan four ring-lengths to Saturn's east.

Tuesday, April 27
Full Moon tonight (exact at 8:18 a.m. EDT Wednesday morning).

Wednesday, April 28
This week the Big Dipper floats upside down very high in the north after dark. Its Pointer stars, the two forming the end of the Dipper's bowl, point exactly straight down toward Polaris soon after nightfall.

Thursday, April 29
The Moon is up in the southeast after 11 or so, depending on where you live in your time zone. Look lower left of the Moon for orange Antares on the rise. By dawn on the 30th they've moved over to the southwest, as shown below, with Antares now to the Moon's left.

This has definitely peeked our interest in the night sky and I know we will be paying more attention to this as the year continues.

When we finished our fun study on the constellations we made popcorn and milk shakes and we all sat down as a family to watch a movie together.


  1. Here's a site your readers will enjoy!
    Take a virtual field trip with MEET ME AT THE CORNER, (www.meetmeatthecorner.org) Palomar Observatory for National Astronomy Day.

    Join our young host as he learns about the Observatory and the Hubble Telescope.
    This site offers links to fun websites including StarChild, NASA for Kids, Astronomy for kids and a link to The Galileoscope™ a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators. No matter where you live, with this easy-to-assemble, 50-mm (2-inch) diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor, you can see the celestial wonders that Galileo Galilei first glimpsed 400 years ago and that still delight stargazers today. These include lunar craters and mountains, four moons circling Jupiter, the phases of Venus, Saturn's rings, and countless stars invisible to the unaided eye.

  2. Thank you, thank you for the info. My son and I did go on and watch the 3 minute video and checked out the site. Love it. We will definately be adding this to sites we check in the future.
    Of course as with many things this brought up many questions on his part. we will be doing a little more research today to appease his curiosity.
    Thanks again


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