There’s nothing quite like sleeping out under the open sky and searching for constellations, watching shooting stars, and contemplating the vastness of the Universe. The stars don’t seem quite as bright to me and my children now that we live in the city, but thankfully there’s Google Sky – an online tool that lets you navigate the heavens even in broad daylight.
This week’s Bonus Challenge sends Mae Merriweather and her team on a search for a certain star and a specific constellation. And while the challenge itself might breeze by fairly quickly, we hope that students discover a rich online resource that will let them get “lost in space” for hours. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of Google Sky:
- Find the planets in tonight’s sky – Just type the name of each planet in the search box and Google Sky will show you where it can be found. You can also click the Solar System icon and select the thumbnail images of each planet for more information.
- Browse images from the Hubble Telescope – Click the Hubble Showcase icon to view spectacular photos of pinwheel galaxies, dust clouds, and colorful nebulae sent back from the Hubble mission.
- Learn the different constellations – Click the Constellations icon to learn more about famous star clusters and the individual stars that comprise them. Can you make up a few constellations of your own?
- Explore Mars and the Moon – Click the Google Moon or Google Mars links to venture across the surfaces of two of our nearest neighbors. Can you find any footprints on the moon?
Are we missing anything? What are some things you and your crew have discovered using Google Sky? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck, and happy stargazing!
Team Brain Chase