Stargazing with Your Kids – Find Amazing Constellations!
Are you excited to start your quality time with your kids and your loved ones? Stargazing with them is one of the most memorable times that you could spend with them because you’re not just enjoying, but you are also educating them on basic astronomy principles at the same time leaving a mark on their mind and hearts for eternity. It is also one way of telling them immortal stories that they could commemorate every time they gaze above on a night.
Not all stars are visible in the night sky, especially in the cities. It helps that all the constellations (a group of visible stars that form patterns) you are looking for can be easily be found in a place away from the contrasting lights of the city. It’s best to look at a hiking field, camping field, over the night beach skies, or maybe right at your backyards.
There are 88 different constellations, 40 are ancient, and 48 are newly added or discovered. You cannot see all constellations in one place. The sky maps divide up into northern hemispheres and southern hemispheres. Seasons of the year could also affect the visibility of stars from your placement on earth.
Hey! This star hunter is also one of the easiest to spot constellations in the night sky. When you are on your way home, or maybe you are just peeking out from your window. You must have seen three bright stars vividly forming in a row. If you are living in the northern part of the world, you will find them to the south. If you are living near the equator, they will be overhead. Now, if you are living in the southern part of the world, you will spot them in the north.
You have already spotted the three bright stars. But do you know that there are dozens of stories behind those stars?
First, let’s begin by extending your left arm wide and cover the three stars with your palm. You will see that bright orange star above your little finger. That is Betelgeuse, the brightest of all the stars in the constellation. Just below your thumb, you’ll see another bright blue star. This is the second brightest star in the constellation and it is named Rigel. Now, you can take away your palm and try to connect the dots. If you see those patches of stars above, that represents Orion’s head, and the bow of lights to the right represents his arch.
One of the Greek stories told of Orion as the great hunter, but he was banished to the sky because he was bragging about slaying many kinds of animals. Another one tells of him as a god who fell in love with a goddess, but he was tricked to shot by the goddess’ brother.
Ursa Major (The Great Bear)
Yes!, this is the largest constellation in the northern night sky and the third-largest in the night sky. Ursa Major means “great bear’ or “she-bear.” Do you know the story of the great bear? Well, in Greek mythology, a beautiful nymph vowed chastity to the goddess Artemis. But one day, Zeus fell in love with Callisto, and they both bore a child, and they named him Arcas. Artemis banished Callisto after hearing of her broken vow. Hera was furious about Zeus’ betrayal and she transformed Callisto into a bear.
Callisto roamed the forest for 15 years. She spent her years hiding and running away from hunters. One day, Arcas was trudging the forest when he saw she-bear. He immediately grabbed his spear as he was very frightened.
Zeus saw this scene from mount Olympus and intervened. He sent a storm to carry Callisto and Arcas into heaven, where he turned Arcas into the constellation Ursa Minor or the lesser bear. You can now find Ursa Major in the northern sky. Just draw a line from the North Star towards the Ursa Major.
Ursa Minor (The little bear)
This is also called “the little bear”, is represented by a “small ladle” in the night sky. You can find it in the northern hemisphere also. The North Star forms the tail tip of the little bear.
Pegasus, the Winged Horse
You can easily spot this awesome constellation. The first is to find the “Great Square”. The easiest map is to draw a line from the North Star through the Caph Star of Cassiopeia. The great square falls right in front of the North Star. Pegasus is a very big constellation that everyone can see both in the northern and southern hemispheres. It is made up of almost 20 stars, but the brightest of all is the Enis, which make up the nose of the horse.
Draco the Dragon
Draco, the dragon, can be located from the North Star. This sky gem formation sits between the North Star and the Ursa Major as a long series of spectacles of stars.
Once upon a time, in Greek and Roman mythology, Zeus was at war with his father, Cronus. It has been prophesized that Cronus will be overthrown by one of his sons, so each time his wife Rhea bore a child, he would swallow it. One time, Rhea tricked him into swallowing a stone, and baby Zeus managed to escape by turning himself into a serpent and his nurses into bears. This story is immortalized by the Draco, Ursa Major (“greater she-bear), and the Ursa Minor (“lesser bear).