Thursday, January 29, 2009

International Year of Astronomy

400 years ago Galileo used a simple telescope to study the skies. This year has been named the International Year of Astronomy. I heard about it on a radio program a few weeks ago and hope to become more aware of the skies and teach my children a little about them as well. I'm only familiar with a few constellations, I remember my mom pointing some out to me, the 7 sisters in particular. I don't look up to the sky very often around here, there are so many clouds and trees that I often forget to look up and gaze in wonder at the universe above. But I didn't the other night as I was running. It was cold, the sky was clear, and I was so excited to find that Ridge was still awake when I got back so I could show him Orion's belt.

It helped that we had Fancy Nancy See Stars checked out from the library. I showed him the simple drawing from the book and then we found it easily in the sky above our house. The following night Laine and Cannon saw it too and they all seemed to have some excited wonder about them as we figured it out, even noticing the other stars that make up more of Orion's body.

The IYA2009 group is trying to make Galileoscopes availiable to order so that children can put together their own telescope and explore the skies with the same tool as Galileo. He discovered that Saturn had rings! I had no idea until listening to this broadcast, that a simple person, like myself, could view the rings of Saturn.

At the same time I heard about this I checked out a book from the library, recommended by Library Queue, called Every Soul a Star. It is a young adult fiction novel, about three kids whose lives intersect because they are all gathered at a campground to witness a total solar eclipse. I put down the book and didn't feel small because I had thought more about the universe, I felt that everything works out, in the grand scheme of things, and it is so vast and grand, everything will be okay.

The book is full of facinating facts and it made me eager to see the next total solar eclipse viewable to the United States in 2017. This website is already counting down the days to the eclipse, still 3,000+ away. Happy skywatching.


Rebecca's Portraits and Murals said...

how orion-ic that you would post this today! Last night as we were driving home I was noticing how bright and gorgeous the stars were..I was telling Ryan how I used to be quite an avid stargazer as a child but so on and so on happened and here I am, realizing that years have gone by and I haven't take time to "find the stars" Thanks for the post, what a great way to get started again :)

Satoko said...

Sky is such a great topic to explore with your little one! Allen and I just went to a library to pick up constellation books for Seiju.
I think it is bit too early...but Allen disagrees with me.
Check out books by H.A. Rey. "Find the Constellations" and "the Stars"
H.A Rey is the author of the Curious George series. Keep us posted how the study goes!

Allen Berg said...

National Dark Sky Week is April 20-26.

I hope it clears up for you in Seattle. Back in my bus driving days, I kept track of the weather and found that the sky in Seattle is more often clear before dawn than after sunset. For a month straight in June, the clouds came up with the sun.

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