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The Little Wonders Book of Star Gazing

This is an online copy of the Little Wonders Book of Star Gazing

I had published this short and handy book many years ago and now I am making its contents available to you online for free. There is a lot of nice information about how to enjoy the night sky. Find a galaxy, nebula and the constellations. Free star chart and moon chart you can print up.

Copyright 1993© Little Wonders and Kalif Publishing. All Rights Reserved.



Book of Stargazing


You can hop through the different pages from the table of contents below or you can simple read through it one page at a time. At the bottom of each page is a link to the next page.


Table of Contents



The Night Sky

Until Recent times it was generally thought that the sky was some type of sphere or dome and the stars were either attached to it or were holes in it. We now have a better understanding of the heavens and we know that the stars are actually suns very simi8lar to ourt own sun and that they are of many different sizes and colors. We also know that some are much larger than our sun and some are smaller. Some are blue giants and some are red dwarfs.

To the naked eye it is estimated that a person can see approximately two thousand stars on a clear night. The vast majority of these stars are part of a light band that crsses the sky called the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way can be seen on a clear night at different times of every night of the year. A small telescope or binoculars will revela the Milky Way to be composed even further of an innumberable number of stars not visible to the naked eye.

Stars are loosely grouped together into patterns called constellations and there are 88 generally accepted constellations and the 48 we can see from North Americal are the same as they were catalogued by an ancient Greek called Ptolemy who lived almost two thousand years ago. These constellations were named after mythological heroes and animals such as Orion the mighty hunter and Taurus the great bull.

You are probably familiar with some of the constellations like the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. You may even be able to identify them. But did you know that they are also called Ursa Major (The Big Bear) and Ursa Minor (The Little Bear)?

There is an interesting myth about these two bears in the sky.

There was a beautiful Arcadian nymph called Callisto. The Goddess Juno, jealous of her beauty, punished her by turning her into a bear and condemning her to roam the forests forever. The son of Callisto, Arcas, was hunting in the forest and he discovered the bear and decided to kill it. He did not know it was his mother. When the great god Jupiter realized this was going to happen he prevented it by turning Arcas into a bear and by placing both bears into the sky to roam forever.

Other than stars there are many more interesting objects to observe in the sky. Several of the planets are easily found throughout the year. Jupiter and Saturn often shine very brightly, and Venus is often brighter than any other celestial object except for the moon. With the aid of our star maps you will be able to find the Andromeda Galaxy which can be seen with the naked eye on clear dark nights. You will also find a nebula which is a huge cloud of gas in space and a globular star cluster wich is a group of thousands of stars close together.

Meteor Showers occur on the same dates throughout the year from the same areas of the sky and you can learn when and how to watch for them. Of course, you will learn about our closest neighbor is space, the moon. With the aid of a small telescope you can identify its major seas and craters and explore the infinite variety of features on its surface.

The night sky holds an incredibly rich variety of interesting objects and phenomenon for you to observe and enjoy. Within a small amount of time you can easily become familiar with many of them. So let's prepare ourselves for the little wonder that is star gazing.

NextContinue on to the Star Gazing Tips and Hints

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Make a telescope kit

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Build-It Yourself! -- It?s so easy, now even an eight-year-old can build an 18" long, 3X refractor telescope in less than an hour. -- Includes objective lens, eye lens, glare stops, kraftboard tubes, instructions and an Edmund Star and Planet Locator. Finished product is powerful enough to show moon craters, Jupiter?s moons and many stars not visible to the naked eye. -- For ages 8 and up. --



Astronomy for Kids

Janice VanCleave's Astronomy for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work (Science for Every Kid Series)

Why do planets spin? How hot is the Sun? What keeps the Moon in orbit around the Earth? What are Saturn's rings made of? What's a black hole in space? Now you can discover the answers to these and other fascinating questions about basic astronomy. In Astronomy for Every Kid you'll learn about the constellations using a shoe box planetarium. You'll chart the movement of the stars with nothing but a string, a marker, and a nail. And you'll use a toy magnet to simulate the Earth's protective force field. Each of the 101 experiments is broken down into its purpose, a list of materials, step-by-step instructions, expected results, and an easy to understand explanation. Every activity has been pretested and can be performed safely and inexpensively in the classroom or at home. Also available in this series from Janice VanCleave: Biology for Every Kid Chemistry for Every Kid Dinosaurs for Every Kid Earth Science for Every Kid Geography for Every Kid Geometry for Every Kid The Human Body for Every Kid Math for Every Kid Physics for Every Kid


The Night Sky

A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations--and How You Can Find Them in the Sky

Children eight and up will enjoy this conversational but information-packed introduction to astronomy and stargazing, which includes the achievements of the great scientists, the history of space exploration, the story of our solar system, the myths behind the constellations, and how to navigate the night sky. Whimsical color illustrations on every page and handy definitions and sidebars help engage younger readers and develop their interest. The special star wheel helps locate stars and planets from any location at any time of year. This is the third in Black Dog & Leventhal's successful series including The Story of the Orchestra and A Child's Introduction to Poetry.




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