Make a Star Wheel
A Star Wheel (sometimes called a planisphere) is an easy-to-use tool to help locate stars in the night sky. Because the Earth turns on its axis, the stars appear to rise in the east and set in the west just like the sun. You select the date and hour on the wheel and go outside to view the sky.
Materials: printouts of circular map and sleeve, scissors, stapler
Read the article Make a Star Wheel from Sky & Telescope. A quick overview is found below (adapted from website article):
For more resources to learn about locating stars in the night sky, download Build It Yourself Star Finder.
You can also view the night sky using the online Starry Night Chart.
You can also buy a star wheel at Sky & Telescope.
The photograph is from the online article at Sky & Telescope.
To enjoy the night sky, you need a dark area for viewing. You'll want a little light to read your Star Wheel, however a white flashlight is too bright. Red light has less impact on your night vision. You can adapt your regular flashlight with a red paper or plastic.
Materials: flash light, red paper or plastic wrap (holiday paper works), rubber band or electrical tape, or red balloon
Another approach is to cover your flashlight with a red balloon.
You can also buy a flashlight that contains a red LED light.
Star Finder Game
Turn your quest for stars into a game, try the Make a Star Finder finger fold game.
Try the Fall into a Black Hole game.
Looking for a daylight activity? Create a sun clock!
Download the Pocket Sunclock directions.
The best time to view the night sky is on a clear, moonless night. However it's also fun to enjoy the moon itself by following the phases of the moon.
Download the Observing Lunar Phases directions and activities.
It's exciting to view comets in the night sky.
Download the directions to Make Your Own Comet.
How do rockets fly? Find out with a straw, string, balloon, and tape.
Go to How Do Rockets Fly? to try the experiment.
The night sky is filled with stars. For thousand of years, people have created characters and stories from the patterns of stars in the night skies.
Download the Create-A-Constellation lesson for directions on creating your own constellation.
Night Sky Art
If you like art, try some of the following activities:
Heritage Starfest Created 2/2010. Updated 2/2011.