Lets Make Something banner

Home

Home

Youtube graphic
I have a youtube channel with over 800 Project Videos!




Will
Hi, Thanks for visiting my website. My name is Will and if you have questions
or would like to
contribute projects or ideas you can contact me Will

Go to the Table of Contents for this booklet

Book of Stargazing

 

 

The Stars and Constellations

Because of the rotation of the earth the stars will move across the sky during the course of the evening. The only star that does not move is the north star. This is because the north star is aligned directly with the axis of the earth. The north star is not very bright but you can find it easily if you first find the big dipper. The big dipper is probablyl the easiest constellation to find. Look to the north and see if you can find it. When you have found it you can use it to find the north star and the little dipper. The two end stars in the bowl point directly toward the north star.

Remember that because of tthe rotation o fthe earth the big dipper may be turned in a different orientation than that shown in the following drawing.

 

The dippers

Having found the big dipper and the north star you should be able to make out the other stars that make up the little dipper. And on the other side of the little dipper you can see a W shaped constellation that is called Cassiopeia the queen of Ethiopia. There are five constellations in the general area of the north star that make up a group called the circumpolar constellations. The remaining two are called Cepheus the king of Ethiopia and Draco the Dragon. The star map below will help you to find them.

Using The Star Chart

For ease of use you should carefully cut out the circular star chart and clue it to a piece of cardboard. Face north and with your chart held in front of your rotate the chart so that the current calendar month is directly up. This is the way the circum polar stars are aligned at approximately 9 pm (10 pm Daylight savings time). If the hour is earlier rotate the chart clockwise the distance of one of the smaller lines - one line for each hour. If the time is later rotate the star chart counter clockwise one line for each hour.

Star Chart

 

The Constellations:

Some of the constellations are easier to identify than others. You should first try to find the easy ones and then use them to help you find the harder ones that are nearby. Be patient. With a little bit of time and practice you will be able to identify all the constellations and if you have found two or three in one evening then you have done very well. In the springtime a good first constellation to start with is Leo. In the summer begin with Hercules. In autumn Pegasus is a good place to start and in winter Orion is an easily found constellation.

The Milky Way

The Milky Way is visible at almost any hour throughout the year. There are dashed lines on the star map below to show you how it stretches itself across the sky. To see it you must be sure that your eyes are well adapted to the dark and there is very little light pollution. It will appear to be a faint white band almost like a whisp of cloud.

The Planets

If you find a bright star in the sky that is not on the star map you may have found a planet! Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn all can be very bright and easily seen at different times of the year. If all the stars twinkle and shimmer but the star you have found doess not twinkle then it is most like a planet. Planets do not twinkle like stars do. Because the planets change their positions among the stars throughout the course of the year you should consult a website, almanac, or magazine about astronomy in order to find their exact locations for any given evening.

The star map below shows the major constellations that are visible n the whole sky. You use this map in the same way as the previous map. Below the map is a list of the major constellations and the names of some of the brighter stars.

The constellations chart

 

 

NextContinue on to Telescopes and Binoculars


Astronomy and telescope related books & products

Star Wheel

Night Sky Star Wheel

 

 

 

 

Make a telescope kit

Refractor Telescope Kit

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.

Looking for some Great Astronomy stuff like telescopes, lenses and science projects? Edmund Scientifics has it all.