Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Outdoor Adventures: Astronomy by Erin Uda

(Image Source)

The longest night of the year was only a couple of weeks ago.  So instead of turning into bears and hibernating, you can bundle up, make some hot chocolate, and get outside to check out the stars.

Your backyard will work just fine for this activity, but if you can, take a trip to a place far from the city lights so you get the best view possible of the stars.  There is a lot of light pollution in any city, which makes it difficult to see any but the brightest stars.  If you can’t go far, try a nearby park; they’re usually a bit darker than the average street.  

(Image Source)
 It will take a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the night sky.  If you choose to have a book or printout (HERE is one for the sky in UT) in front of you, use a red light or cover your flashlight with red paper or plastic to keep your eyes adjusted to the dark.

Once you’ve acclimated to both the dark and the cold (while drinking that hot chocolate) spend time locating the major constellations in your sky. 

There are plenty of easy-to-find constellations that are visible in the winter:
There are also a few great sites for checking to see if there are any cool celestial happenings coming up:
    1. NASA's "Astronomy Picture of the Day"
    2. Earth Sky's "Tonight sky"
    3. Sky and Telescope's "This Week's Sky at a Glance"
      If you are looking for a project to do, click HERE to see a a fun craft I found via Pinterest to make during the day. You can use it to prepare your kids for their upcoming evening adventure.

      (Image Source and Idea can be found at Play at Home Mom)
      If it is simply too cold outside, or your children are too young to spot constellations in the sky, try THIS idea from PLAY AT HOME MOM! You can poke constellation patterns through one side of a giant cardboard box and then stick your Christmas tree lights through the holes to create a beautiful star cave for your little ones to play in. Don't forget to crawl in yourself and take a peek!

      Recommended Reading:

      • Turn Left at Orion, Guy Consolmagno & Dan M. Davis
      • Sky Dragons and Flaming Swords: The story of eclipses, comets, and other strange happenings in the skies, Marietta D. Moskin
      • The Man in the Moon: Sky tales from many lands, Alta Jablow

      For more stargazing books, check out Call # 523

      No comments:

      Post a Comment