Looking to the Stars

June 30 is Meteor Watch Day. Outer space is filled with mysteries and wonders that exceed what we experience here on Earth. During these summer nights, we encourage all would-be astronomers to go outside and observe the night sky with their very own observatory.

Observatories are very large buildings that house very large telescopes. These allow astronomers to look deep into space to see other planets, stars, and galaxies in great detail. Although there may be some local opportunities to witness the wonders of space—whether it’s at a night-time viewing area, or using the telescope from your local high school—it’s a much safer option in this COVID-19-era to create an observatory in your own backyard.

There are many different plans online to build a mini-observatory the size of a doghouse; however, this method requires some carpentry skills. We suggest the simple use of either a telescope, a camera with telescopic lens, or a pair of good binoculars. All you’ll need to do is go outside when it’s really dark, turn off any lights you have, point your chosen device into the air and look through the eyepiece. Here are some things to look at:

  • The moon
  • Planets
  • Stars
  • Constellations
  • The International Space Station
  • Satellites
  • Meteors

Extend your virtual observatory even further by looking through the Hubble Telescope. Celebrating 30 years of space observation, young astronomers can witness some of its iconic images taken over the years. Check these out here.

Alternatively, young astronomers can use their own telescopes, cameras or binoculars to map the night sky with help from our constellation map. Download the free poster here.

And finally, in celebration of Meteor Watch Day, why not experience a meteor shower of your own. Use this helpful calendar to locate when and where the next meteor shower can be seen. And don't forget, you have unlimited access to our complete catalog of free worksheets, including science, from our FREE CONTENT page.

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