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Nine Ways To Get Your Child Into Astronomy Before Summer Ends – Sky & Telescope

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There’s nonetheless time earlier than college (and early bedtimes) begin up once more — benefit from balmy evenings to spark an curiosity in astronomy.

Youngsters are naturally curious concerning the world, so getting your youngsters into astronomy might be a simple promote when you go about it proper. Begin with one thing enjoyable to hook their curiosity, like a late-night stargazing journey or a recreation. Listed below are 9 methods to make astronomy your little one’s number-one curiosity this summer season.

Stargazing Journey

Shooting Great Nightscapes

Babak A. Tafreshi

What child doesn’t love staying up previous their bedtime to go on an journey? Deliver loads of blankets and snacks, and discover a scenic spot outdoors your city or metropolis. Whereas any clear night time is usually a good night time for this exercise, selecting one with a particular astronomical occasion will make it extra memorable and maybe pique extra curiosity.

This summer season, search for vibrant Jupiter after sundown. Antares, the star that marks the guts of Scorpius, the Scorpion, shines only a couple levels away from it in August. The waxing gibbous Moon will intervene with the height of the Perseid meteor bathe (night time of August 12–13) this yr, however you possibly can search for meteors within the week earlier than or after that date. For those who can’t discover time round a type of, try the weekly Sky at a Glance for what’s occurring while you do exit.

Glow-in-the-dark Paint or Stickers

You too can convey the celebs inside by creating constellations in your little one’s ceiling. For those who’re not artistically inclined, purchase a constellation package (examine Etsy if in case you have hassle discovering one). In case your little one is sufficiently old, it is a enjoyable exercise to do collectively — and you may sprinkle in some information as you’re employed, like the truth that on a transparent night time you possibly can see as much as 2.5 million light-years into the sky (a mind-boggling distance, even for adults). Constellation ceilings are nice even for teenagers who’re too younger to assist set up them. They’re enjoyable to take a look at and might instill a way of curiosity concerning the night time sky.


Carl Sagan

Astronomer Carl Sagan, as seen in a publicity for the Cosmos collection.

Attempt harnessing display time to spice up your little one’s curiosity within the sky. There are a number of video games obtainable from NASA along with YouTube movies, streaming space documentaries, and even tv exhibits that may educate and encourage your little one to discover the wonders of the universe. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan are each identified for his or her enthusiastic and interesting narratives; display some Sagan astronomy movies to see which of them the children would possibly take pleasure in (or take an opportunity and decide one at random!).

Star Charts or Apps

One method to make the sky extra participating is to make use of a star chart or app. A few of us are sufficiently old to be a fan of the tangible object we are able to maintain and transfer, however children would possibly want a digital model. If you wish to go old-fashioned, decide up one among Sky & Telescope’s Planispheres. Or go digital with Stellarium, a completely purposeful planetarium program that’s free to obtain. The Star Walk 2 app is at the moment priced at $2.99. With an incredible, easy-to-use interface on cell units, it gives further content material for many who wish to go extra in-depth.

Binoculars and Telescopes for Youngsters

There’s a little bit of a studying curve to utilizing a telescope, so discover one designed for teenagers to stop frustration. When selecting your little one’s first telescope, go for a less expensive model that also performs properly. Some choices include Go To regulate, which can assist newcomers as they be taught the place to level the telescope and establish what they wish to see. Sky & Telescope’s August 2014 issue additionally has nice recommendation for youthful youngsters utilizing telescopes.


The Canon household of image-stabilized binoculars

Even higher for somebody simply beginning to be taught the night time sky is a pair of binoculars — with their extensive area of view, binoculars can allow exploration in ways in which high-powered telescopes can’t. They usually’re inexpensive too! Most youngsters should be coached the primary time they decide up a pair of binoculars, however that teaching will be executed in sunlight hours with massive, straightforward targets. Take your little one out in the course of the day and allow them to have a look at quite a lot of objects.

Make sure you discuss to them concerning the risks of trying instantly on the Solar, although! Trying on the Solar by unfiltered binoculars will trigger irreversible harm to their eyes.

Planetarium Visits

Along with providing an inside place to chill off in the course of the scorching months, a planetarium presents a panoramic view of the universe. With completely different guided excursions of the Moon, stars, Solar, and different elements of the universe, planetariums please the senses whereas additionally delivering information that can wow your child. If in case you have a toddler who’s proof against leisurely skywatching, this may be the exercise you want to get them hooked.

Board or Web Video games

Sneaking studying into enjoyable actions is a positive wager with children. There are many astronomy-themed board video games on the market, corresponding to Patrick Moore’s Astronomy Game. You too can redirect display time to the video games discovered on NASA’s Space Place website. Their actions assist children discover the earth, the solar, the photo voltaic system, comets, black holes, climate programs, and extra. For older youngsters who’ve developed an curiosity already, assist them take a look at their information with these astronomy quizzes.


For those who’re taking a street journey, placed on a podcast. Sky & Telescope publishes a monthly podcast that highlights upcoming celestial occasions. Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk mixes astronomy with physics and popular culture in entertaining hourish-long classes. Podcasts could make an excellent addition to studying, they usually make an incredible different to films since they don’t require gazing a display. There are even podcasts you possibly can obtain to take with you in your subsequent stargazing outing. In case your little one has a brief consideration span, strive StarDate, a each day astronomy-themed bulletin broadcast by McDonald Observatory, which runs for under 2 minutes.

Astronomy Camp or Star Celebration

In case your child is already primed for an curiosity in astronomy, take into account sending them to a summer season camp to immerse them within the wonders of the universe for every week or extra. Most of those camps are for teenagers ages 9 and older, and there are some the place you possibly can be part of your children for a summer season household journey. For those who like tenting, star events may also make an incredible household outing — try our Events Calendar to search out one thing in your space.

Select one among these concepts based mostly on what you already know about your little one’s most well-liked actions, and do not forget that the extra you share your sense of surprise and curiosity relatively than approaching this as one thing they need to be taught, the extra open they’re prone to be.

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