Posts tagged: astronomy

Watch the Perseid Meteors Tonight

By , August 14, 2010 2:53 pm


By Brocken Inaglory – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Last night I woke my two oldest children up at 2:30AM.  I led my confused and sleepy babies out onto the golf course behind our house armed with a flashlight and a blanket.  I spread out the blanket on the cool, damp grass of the fairway, we all laid on it facing northeast … and hoped that the sprinklers would not go off! Lol!

The children were astonished by what they saw – shooting stars, lots of them!  We also saw the Milky Way and several satellites marching in line across the night sky.

Our fabulous unplugged (and free!) show was the annual Perseid Meteor Shower.  The peak was the nights of August 12 and 13th, but you might still be able to see a pretty good display through the 22nd (especially if you are lucky enough to live in a low ambient light area like we do).  Just look to the northeast after midnight.

PS.  Most visible in the Northern Hemisphere, sorry!


EarthSky’s Meteor Shower Guide

Excellent Perseid Meteor Shower Expected

How-To: Photographing the Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid Photo Gallery

For another of our astronomy adventures, you might like to read: The Moon Unplugged? Not For Me!! (Part 1) and Mom Unplugged vs. Evil Sleepy Poser Mom – Lunar Dilemma Part 2.

Sky – Constellation Star Charts (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , July 6, 2008 9:02 pm

For this week’s Unplugged Project, sky, I was inspired by my Uncle’s very detailed star charts. He used to create charts of the constellations using thick black paper, a white pencil, and a pin to put holes where the stars were. The bigger the pinhole, the brighter the star. When you hold his charts up to the light, they are a very accurate representation of the night sky. I tried to photograph one of his charts here, but they are much easier to appreciate in person:

We gathered together astronomy books, construction paper (although dark blue was the closest we had to black), colored pencils, a ruler, and pins:

First we studied the books to find constellations that we liked. My oldest chose Leo since that is her “sign.” My 3 year-old nephew made up his own constellation, as you shall see.

Then we cut some dark blue construction paper in half. We transferred the dots to the paper as best we could by eye (if you have a simple constellation book with large drawings such as H.A. Rey’s excellent classic: The Stars: A New Way to See Them , it might be easier to trace them on tracing paper and then transfer them over to the construction paper).

The younger astronomers just drew a bunch of dots or “stars” randomly on their paper, as my 2 year-old is doing here:

They then drew lines between the stars, connecting the dots, to show the constellation forms as they do in books:

The really fun part was poking holes through each star (dot) with a pin so the light would shine through. We were not as accurate as my Uncle and did not worry about star intensities!

My 3 year-old nephew decided that his constellation was a sea horse and I can really see that! Here are the finished star charts:

And when held up to a window or light, they look like this:


If you joined us for sky this week, please put your link in Mr. Linky and leave a comment so we can find you. If you didn’t, you can read about how to join here.


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:


I hope to see you then!

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