Did you know that 2009 has been the International Year of Astronomy? Let’s wrap up the event with some astronomy-related activities.
1. Explore Meteor Showers:
Did you look for the Leonid meteor shower last month?
(Awesome copyright-free images of space-related objects available at Nasa Images.)
Meteor showers happen frequently throughout the year. Although looking for meteor showers requires getting up in the night and standing patiently in the cold and dark, the streaks of light flashing across the sky are well worth it. This month the Geminid Meteor Shower will center on December 14, 2009, radiating from the star Castor. Look for local information about the shower, because in some areas it may start around 9:00 p.m.
2. Build a Telescope:
If you’d like a good look at objects in the night sky, check out The Galileoscope™: An IYA2009 Cornerstone Project. This a kit to build a telescope, developed specifically for the International Year of Astronomy. The price a reasonable $20, but don’t expect it to arrive until 2010. (Note: I have no affiliation with this product).
You might also want to try the International Year of Astronomy Discovery Guides. The first one is all about telescopes. You do have to register to download.
3. The Solar System
The recent changes in the definition of the planets of the solar system, with Pluto no longer considered to be a true planet, is a great example of how science works. As we gather more information, our ideas change.
Here’s a fun video that explains “Why Isn’t Pluto A Planet Any More?”
Where to find more information and things to do:
Space Activity Links
NASA’s Planets and the Solar System has such hands on activities such as build a moon habitat and asteroid potatoes (they do look like potatoes!).
The Solar System at KidsAstronomy.com
Constellations for Kids at Astronomy for Kids Online
Exploring Space Without a Spacesuit at Leaping from the Box
Pick up a great book:
(For information about my affiliation with Amazon, see the Disclosure page.)