With daylight savings ending at the beginning of this month it gets darker earlier in the evenings which is great for stargazing. There have been a couple nights which were not too cold and we were able to get out for a little bit and have a look at the stars.
The formation that everyone seems to know is the “Big Dipper” which is one of the easiest star groupings to find in the night sky. It is part of the Ursa Major constellation – the Great Bear, and above it the little dipper or Ursa Minor which has the North Star at the tip of its handle. But there are many others to discover.
We found Orion with the bright stars red Betelgeuse and blue Rigel, and the hazy star beneath the belt which is the Orion Nebula, where new stars are born.
There are stories about all these constellations that people made up down through time. Sometimes it can be hard to see the stars if you live where there is a lot of light pollution, but in more remote areas, the sky becomes alive and one can imagine why people looking up at them would have created stories.
Here is a list of constellations to find and begin learning about:
Auriga, the Charioteer
Canis Major, the Big Dog
Canis Minor, the Little Dog
Cassiopeia, the Queen in Her Chair
Cygnus, the Swan
Leo, the Lion
Orion, the Hunter
Perseus, the Hero
Taurus, the Bull
Ursa Major, the Great Bear
Ursa Minor, the Little Bear
Here is a printable guide to finding the constellations in the sky: How to Make a Star Wheel.
And here is an interesting book all about stars if you want to learn more: The Friendly Stars.
Nature Journal: Choose a constellation to find in the sky and then draw in your nature journal. Find some books at your library about constellations, and read about the stories behind its name. Write a summary in your journal.
Land Art: For fun, make some stars out of sticks: Stick Stars