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a guide to the ·

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Copyright 1982 by Learning Technologies, Inc.


Classical Greek mythology is as rich and varied

as the culture that engendered it. In addition to the
abbreviated versions of the stories in this Guide, you
will want to explore the vast amount of literature_
available on the Greek constellations and the many
myths associated with each of them. For more details
on the stories found here, consult Percy M. Proctor's
excellent book, .!E!!. Myths Stories from Exposition
Press, Inc., Hicksville, N.Y.


Daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopei.
She is seen stretched out at full length and
chained by her ankles and wrists to a rocky
island where she is being offered as a sacrifice
to Cetus, the Sea Monster.

Aquarius was the constellation in which the
sun was located during ~he rainy season of
the year. Therefore it seemed appropriate
to represent Aquarius as a giant holding a
huge upturned urn or jar from which an unending
stream of water was pouring. All the rivers
owed their waters to this downpour and floods
occurred when, from t~e to t~e. the water
cascaded down from the urn faster than it could
be emptied into the .seas.·

Aqu·ila, the Eagle

The eagle was Jupiter's favorite bird and
was given many difficult tasks to do. The
most difficult task was when he had to fly
back to Mount Olympus burdened by the weight of
a young man, Ganymede. whom he bad been sent to
find. Ganymede would become the new cupbearer of
the Gods. .

Aries the Ram

Aries is a small constellation. It requires a
vivid 1lDagmat1oD to find the t.hree main stars
that form the ram. It is, however, one of the
most famous of the zodiac constellations. Long
ago, before there were calanders to keep track
of the progress of the year, watchers of the sky
learned to rely on the stars to track the passage
of time. Prom 2100 Be to 100 AD. it was the stars
of Aries that announced the spring equinox.
In the pictures which show what Auriga is
supposed to represent, no chariot is ever I

- found, but grasped in his right hand are

the reins which a chariot driver would be
holding. Auriga is also shown holding a
goat over his left shoulder and two little
kids in his left hand. This picture tells a
mtxed-up story about a charioteer and ~ goat-
herd. The rising of Capella, the bright
star in Auriga was a welcome sign for shepherds,
for it foretold the coming of the rainy season
upon which they relied for renewed growth of
pasture land. On the other hand, the rising of
Capella was a most unwelcome sign for sailors
for it Signaled the beginning of the stormy
season. The kids were regarded as mad stars
by sailors' wives, who feared for the wellbeing
of their men at sea during the stormy season.

Bootes and his two hunting dogs, Canes and
Venatici, were put in the heavens to keep watch
over the Big Bear and make .certain that it kept
ever in its proper place, ~ndlessly circling the .. ~
J •
North Star.

Cancer, the Crab

Legend tells us that Juno sent Cancer to annoy
Hercules as he fought his desperate battle with
the many-headed Hydra, the water snake. Hercules
was the son of one of the many mortal women whom
Jupiter married. each time arousing the jealous
anger of his goddess wife Juno. Juno took a
special dislike to Hercules and tried to make his
life miserable. Hercules easily crushed the crab
with his foot, but Juno who realized the creature
had done its best in trying to serve her, rewarded
it by placing it as a constellation in the sky.

Canis Major, the Big Dog

Canis Major is the largest of the hunting dogs
that had been Orion's faithful companions on earth
and was placed at his feet in the sky so that he
could continue to have his help as he chased Taurus
the Bull across the heavens.
V i:t I II ~ IVIII I U I , Lilt:: L- I L II ~ &J U ~

The second and smaller of the two hunting dogs

placed in the sky eo keep Orion company. Canis
Minor is less fierce--more like a house pet.

Capricornus, the Sea Goat

Capricornus appears in the sky at the t:lme of
the winter solstice when the sun stopped dropping
and began to cltmb higher and higher in the sky
day by day. The figure of a goae, the antmal
most famous for his cltmbing ability, was chosen
to represent the constellation in which ehe sun
was found at this t~e. The goat of the heavens is
half goat and half f ish, thus a creature not only
able to cl~h, hut also at home in the rains and
floods of the w1neer season.

Cassiopeia, the Queen

Cassiopeia was a heautiful woman who was fond of
boasting about her beauty. The maiclens who attended
King Neptune in his unde~ter kingdom learned ehae
she made a boast that she was tar more beautiful' than
any of them. Tbey demanded Neptune punish her.
Neptune sent a monster sea serpent, Cetus, to
.. -
terrify all who lived along the coast of the
country ruled by King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia.
The Serpent snatched women and Children whom he found
on the shore. Troubled by this problem in his kingdom,
King Cepheus went to an oracle to find out how he could
rid his kingdom of this horrible monster. The oracle's
answer was that only if he sacrificed his daughter,
Andromeda, to the serpent would the maidens feel
they had been avenged f or the way Cassiopeia had
insulted them and ask Neptune to recall ehe serpent.
Cassiopeia vas placed in the heavens to be punished
rather than honored. She swings every half night
around the ~orth Star. She is upside in the chair
in which she 18 seated, hang:Lng on for dear life in
a posieion .ose humil1ating for a queen of old who
was so proud of her beauty.

Cepheus, the King

Cepheus is a raeher faint and inconspicuous
constellation. This is fitting as King Cepbeus
u always played second fiddle to his wife,.Queen
Cassiopeia. who ruled tbe roost.
Ce·tus, the Sea Monster
Cetus is the sea monster that Neptune sent
to devour Andromeda and thus punish Queen
Cassiopeia. Cetus had the forked tail of
a dolphin, paws of an an~l, head of a
greyhound with short tusks and long, scaly
neck. Cetus was said to be 40 feet in
length, with ribs six feet long.

Corona Borealis, Northern Crown

As a wedding~gift to his bride, Bacchus pre-
sented Ariadne with a golden crown set with
seven glittering diamonds. Not long after
.their m.arriage, Ariadne died and Bacchus,
in his grief' at tHe loss, resolved to throw
away the crown which she had worn so happily
because it reminded h~ of his lost love. n
Up into the sky he tossed it, and higher
and higher it rose until his friends among
the gods caught it and hung it high in the
sky where its seven diamonds formed the Northern

Corvus, the' Crow

Legend tells us that the crow once bad s1lver-
white feathers aud a beautiful singing voice.
One morn.1D& the god Apollo sent the crow to fetch
a cup of water. Having spied some half ripened
f1gs, the crow lingered at the spring waiting
for them to ripen. He had quite a feast, but
soon realized he was due for a scolding from
Apollo for his tardiness. The crow lied to Apollo
about h1s whereabouts but Apollo could easily tell
the crow was lying. He angrily punished him by
changing the color of his feathers to black and
condemning him to be known in the future for his
croak instead of·~is song.
u This represents the cup that Corvus the Crow
was sent to fill at a Spring and bring back
to Apollo.

Cygnus, the Swan

Cygnus was the best friend of Phaeton, son
of Apollo. Phaeton was struck by lightening
bolts after wlldly driving Apollo's chariot
across the skies and fell into the river
Ericlanus. In those days, it was believed
that the soul of a dead person must roam the
world forever as a ghost unless his body was
properly buried. Cygnus dove into the river
over and over again in search of Phaeton's
body. Jupiter was so moved by the love and
devotion that Cygnus showed for Phaeton
that he turned Cygnus into a swan so he
could dive more easily. Finally after Cygnus
gave up in despair of ever finding the body
of Phaeton, Jupiter placed him in the heavens
as a swan.

Delphinus, the Dolphin
Apollo placed this constellation in the
sky to honor a dolphin that saved the life of
Arion, a famous musician. Arion was returning
home by boat to Corinth with a great sum
of money after a successful concert tour
in Italy. The ship's crew, knowing of this
money. siezed Arion and were about to throw
h~ overboard when be begged to play one
last song on his harp. So beautiful was
his last song that Apollo, the god of music,
summoned a dolphin to rescue Ar:IDn. The,
dolphin carried Arion safely to Corinth
where he summoned the police to set a trap
f or the incoming sailors. Arion had a
small statue of the dolphin made and
placed a shrine in a temple. Later t Apollo
took it and placed it among the stars so
1 t would be an eternal memorial to a brave
and friendly fish.

Draco, the Dragon *
Draco is the dragon set by Juno to guard the golden
apples which she had given Jupiter as her wedding
present to htm. The dragon was a monster whose
fiery breath was poisonous and whose enchanted
hide no arrow could pierce. Ever watchful, he
coiled around the tree on which the golden apples
hung and would allow no one to come close except
Atlas, the giant who held the world on his shoulders.
To get the apples away from the dragon was one of
the twelve labors Hercules had to accomplish. He
went to Atlas for help and Atlas agreed to get the
apples if Hercules would take over the task of holding
up the world in the meant~e. Atlas enjoyed his
freedom so much, he ran away with the apples and
left Hercules supporting the earth. Hercules was
clever, however, and he asked Atlas to relieve htm
lang enough to place a pad on his shoulder. Atlas
fell for the trick and Hercules ran off with the golden
To punish the dragon for its failure, Juno placed
it as one of the circumpolar constellations where,
in the northern heaven, it would never set and would
always remain on guard.

*5000 years ago, the fourth magnitude star Thuban close

to the end of Draco's tail was the Pole Star around which
the entire northern heavens would then have seemed to
revolve just as now they appear to revolve around the
North Star. This change in the Pole Star has occurred be-
cause the earth is wobbling in the same way that a slowing-down
top wobbles. So the earth's axis does not continue to point
toward the same spot in the nor~hern sky, but slowly traces
out a circle among the stars there. Only after thousands of
years does it become apparent that a new North Star has taken
the place of the one toward which the earth's axis had been

Equuleus, the Colt

Equuleua i8 said to have been a horse which figured in a con-
test waged ,by Neptune, god of the seas, and Pallas Athene,
goddess of wisdom, to decide who would become patron
of that ancient Greek City which was named Athens
to honor Athene, the winner of the contest. Under
the terms of the contest, Neptune and Athene were
each to make a gift to the city, and a jury of
twelve gods waa to decide who bad the more useful

gift. ~eptune struck a rock with his trident
and a horse appeared.. Athene caused an olive
~ree to sprou~ out of ~he rocky top of the
u hill. The jury of gods had the power to look
far into the future and realize what the
cultivation of ~hat ~ree would mean to the
future prosperity of Greece and declared
Athene the winner.

Eridanus, the River

Eridanus or the river of the heavens can be
traced from where it starts close to
Rigel at the foot of Orion and then
drops down in a series of bends and loops
to where it disappears below the southern
horizon. It stretches more than 60 degrees
in its long course and is outlined by a
host of faint stars.

Allover the world, this curving liDe of

stars was considered a river, often named
after the country's main river: the Nile
in Egypt, the Euphrates in Babylonia, the
Po in Italy.
u The Po river figures in the most familiar
old story. The Po was the river in which
the body of Phaeton plunged after he was
struck down by Jupiter's thunderbolt, ending
his foolish drive across the sky in Apollo's
chariot. .

Apollo was so saddened by the fate of his

son that he placed the river in the sky
as a constellation to be an eternal memorial
to his courageous but headstrong son.

Gemini, the Twins
Castor and Pollux were twin brothers who
were so devoted to each other as to be
inseparable. Pollux was ~ortal like his
father Jupiter, but Castor was mortal like
his mother Leda. When Castor died in battle,
Pollux begged Jupiter to take away his
~ortality so he too could die. Jupiter
was so ~pressed by this demonstration of
love that he arranged for Pollux to spend
half of each day with Cas tor in Hades, and
Castor could spend the other half with Pollux
on Mount Olympus among the Gods. Eventually
Jupiter honored the twins by changing them into
stars and placing them in the heavens to be
a memorial to brotherly love at its finest.

Hercules, the Kneeler

Hercules was the son of Jupiter and a mortal
woman, whom Jupiter had married as he had several
others. This made Juno his goddess wife so
jealous that she decided to punish someone.
To vent her anger she decided to make Hercules'
life difficult and miserable. 1While he was"
still a baby she sent two huge snakes to
kill h~, but Hercules strangled both of 1'1
them. "

When he had grown to manhood. Juno caused him

. to become insane for a brief period durtng
which he murdered his family. To atone for
that dreadful deed, he was bound out as a slaye
and was to earn his freedom only by successfully
completing 12 heroic tasks, the labors of Hercules.
They were:
-killing the Nemean lion
-battling Hydra the water snake
-capturing the wild boar of Arcadia
-capturing a deer with horns of gold and
hoofs of brass
-shooting a flock of man-eating birds with
beaks of brass and feathers like arrows
-cleaning out 3000 cattle stables with
years of accumulated f 11th
-capturing the Cretan bull that snorted fire
-kUling the man-eating horses of King Poinedes
-siezing the jeweled belt of the Queen of the
-capturing of a herd of oxen guarded by a
giant with 3 heads, 6 hands and 3 bodies
-bringing back Cerebus; the fierce 3 headed
dog that guarded Pluto's kingdom
-getting the golden apples of Hesperides
Hydra, the Water Snake
u Hydra is one of the longest constellations,
stretching out for 100 degrees across a full
quarter of the sky. Halfway down its long,

snaky coils are the two small constellations

of Corvus the crow and Crater the cup. Hydra
is the water snake which the Crow tried to
blame for delaying him so long in bringil\g
back the cup of water (Crater) to Apollo.

Leo, the Lion '.

The majestic head and mane of Leo, the Lion

are formed by the curving line of stars known
as the Sickle. Leo's main star, Regulus, is
the faintest of the so-called first magnitude
stars. It was always a star of great importance
to ancient astronomers, howeVer, who considered
it to be the ruler over all other stars. Its
duty was to keep them all in order and in their
proper places in the sky.
Leo was the constellation in front of whose stars
u the sun was found in midsummer. To the ancient
peoples, the explanation of why the sun b~came
so overpowering in swmmer must have been that
the stars of Leo were adding greatly t'o the
heat of the sun. It was nacural, therefore, to
compare these stars· to the most powerful animal
known, the Lion, King of Beasts.

Lepus, the Hare

Lepus is located at the foot of Orion, the
Hunter. Orion, who was so busy chasing taurus
the bull, allowed the bare to remain unnoticed
as long as he stayed absolutely quiet.
Another thought is that the hax:e stayed below
Orion in hopes that he would remain unnoticed
by Sirius, the Big Dog who was swiftly pur-
suing h:lm.
Llora, tne ~cales 282

Uf the 12 zodiac constellations Libra is the

only one that does not represent something
alive. An early astronomer assigned the task
of reforming the calander decided to honor
Julius Caesar by combining the claw stars
of the Scorpion to form the figure of Caesar
holding a pair of old-fashioned balance scales.
The constellation was meant to be an eternal
memorial in the heavens to the infinite wisdom
and justice of Caesar. After Caesar's death,
however, his figure was dropped out of the
constellation picture and only the scales were
2000 years ago at the t~e of the calander reform,
the stars used to form Libra were in the stars
in front of which the sun was found at the time
of the autumnal equinox, when days Bnd nights
are equal or balanced.

Lyra, the ~yre

"the lyre \laS one of the first stringed instruments
used in Greece. Mercury made the first lyre and
presented it to "Apollo, who in turn gave it to
his son Orpheus. Orpheus learned to play such sweet
music on it that birds came to listen, wild beasts
were tamed and sea monsters charmed by the music's
spell. n
Orpheus married Eurydice, but shortly after their
wedding she was bitten and killed by a poisenous
snake. Orpheus was so Brieved that he was determined
to go down where Pluto ruled the underworld and use
the magic of his music to soften Pluto's heart, rescue
Eurydice and bring her back to ear~h.
He was able to overcome all the dangers on route
to Hades. When he reached Pluto his music brought
the underworld kings under its spell. Pluto gave
Orpheus per.miss1on to take Eurydi~e back to earth
provided Orpheus went ahead of her and never turned
back to see 1£ she was following until they were
almost at the end of their walk. Orpheus suddenly
realized that he could no longer hear Eurydice's
footsteps. Fearing someth:l.ng bad happened to her,
he turned back to look and a great stone dropped
down to block the path ancl hid Eurydice forever from
his sight. For years Orpheus roamed the woods, playing
only sad tunes. Many a maiden f ell in love with h:1m
but he remained true to Eurydice I s memory.
Finally a Iroup of maidens angered by his lack of
attentiveness k:Lllecl Orpheus and tossed his lyre
into the river. Jupiter sent a wlture to bring
back the lyre and placed it in the heavens as a
constellation. The wlture is represented by the
bright blue star Vega, whose name means falling bird.
Ophuichus, Serpent Holder
Ophuichus was said to represent a famous Greek
physician, Aesculapius, who discovered how ~o
u bring the dead back to life. He used a mys~erious
herb which he had learned about while attemp~ing
to kill a snake one day. Once slain a second
snake appeared who thrust bits of the mysterious
herb into the mouth of its dead mate and the mate
came back to life. Aesculapius studied the herb
and found it growing in his garden.
So successful was Aesculapius's use of the herb,
~ha~ Pluto, ruler of ~he underworld, complained
to Jupiter that he had no dead souls. His business
was ruined. Jupiter. fearing that Aesculapius gave
~orta11ty, like the gods, to every man, sent a
deadly lightening bolt that killed the doctor.
But in tribute to his grea~ skills as a physician.
Jupiter placed Aesculapius among the stars together
With the snake.

Orion, the Hunter

Greek legend tells us that Diana, goddess
of both the moon and hunting, fell in love with,
Orion the bravest h~ter of ancient t~es~ She
began to neglect her duty of driving the moon
u chariot across the sky at night to 'light it up,
in order that she might go down to earth to
hunt with Orion.
When her brother Apollo heard of this neglect,
he decided to do away. with Orion. He shone his
golden rays so bl1ndingly on Orion one day while
he was swimming that he appeared only as a faint
dot in the waves. He then challenged Diana to
hit the tiny target with her bow and arrow. Diana,
not knowing what the target was, shot so accurately
that her arrow hit Orion and k1l1ecl h:lm. When she
found his body on the shore that evening she realized
what had happened •. After trying in vain to bring
Orion back to life, she put his body in her moon
chariot and drove high across the sky where it
was darkest. She put the body of her beloved Orion
in the sky and suddenly the sky became bright with
stars that outlined. his body, jeweled belt and
glittering sword. At his foot to keep him company,
she placed his two favorite hunt·ing dogs and marked
each with a brilliant star. Procyon in the Little
Dog and Sirius 1n the Big Dog.


Pegasu·s, the Winged Horse
The most famous of the myths about Pegasus
identifies it as the winged horse which
carried Perseus through· the sky as he
returned the head of the Medusa. Neptune,
who had loved Medusa when she was young
and pretty, created Pegasus from white
beach sand, rainbow-colored foam of breaking
waves and drops of blood fram the severed
head of Medusa. So perhaps the reason why
Pegasus 18 shown with half a body may be
to represent the newly created horse just
rising out of the sea with half its body
still hidden beneath the waves.
Pegasus was also the favorite steed of
Jupiter, who sent all his thunderbolts
v1a Pegasus. Jupiter presented Pegasus to
the Muses on Mt. Helicon. One day, as he
pranced about there, a casual kick of one
hoof caused the famous spring of H1ppocrene
to gush forth on the mountain top. Its
waters had the magic power of inspiring
whoever drank them to gain the gift of
writing poetry.
- n
Perseus; the Champion
Perseus was known for t~o corageous ·acts. His first
was bringing back the head of the Medusa, who had
snakes f or her hair and was so ugly that anyone who
looked at her turned to stone. Armed with a highly
polished shield from Minerva, winged sandals fram
Mercury, and a magic pouch and helmut from the nymphs
of the North, Perseus set off to slay the Medusa.
His helmut allowed h:lm bo become invisible, the polished
shield acted as a mirror 80 he could back in and watch
the Medusa's reflection. He struck a killing blow,
scooped up the head and tucked it in the pouch, careful
not to look at it.
As he flew off, he met the winged horse Pegasus which
Neptune ha~ created. Perseus mounted the horse and was
swiftly born across the sky. As he flew he noticed a
crowd of people gathered on the beach below h~. As
he guided Pegasus down be saw a maiden, Andromeda, chained
to a rock and a terrible sea monster about to engulf her.
Perseus dropped down like a shooting star, shouted for
Andromeda to cover her face and raised the flap of his
pouch just enough so the monster could see the Medusa's head.
The sea monster was instantly turned into stone. Perseus
freed Andromeda and the people on the beach cheered.
Pices, the Fishes
Venus and her son Cupid are said to have
changed themselves into _fishes to escape
Typhon, a firebreath1ng dragon. Typhon
u could only live in flames and fire but not
in water. Venus and Cupid tied themselves
together with a long cord in order not to
become separated.

Piscis Australis, the Southern Fisr.

This constellation contains one first magnitude
star called Fomalhaut, which means "mouth of
the fish. 1I This bright star marks the mouth of
the Southern Fish which is opened wide to catch
the torrent of water pouring down from the upturned
urn of Aquarius, the Water Carrier. located above
Piscis Australis.

Sagitta, the Arrow

Legend tells us that Jupiter punished Prometheus
for twice stealing the gift of fire from Mount
Olympus by cha1ning .h~ to~a. rock high, in the
,-. Caucasasus Mountains. Every day he sent a wlture ~
to eat at the liver of the chained victum. Each
u night the liver grew-again so the dreadful torture
never ceased. Finally Prometheus was rescued from -
his agony by Hercules, who killed the vulture with
his bow and arrow and freed· Prometheus from his·
chains. According to myth. Sag it ea is tha t arrow
shot from Hercules bow.

Sagittarius, the Ar.cher

Long ago a stranae race of creatures, the centaurs,
half man and half horae, lived on Mount Pelion :1n
Greece. They had the power and speed of a horse
with the braiDs of a man. They were savage
creatures. known for their evil ways.

One Centaur, Chiron, became known for his goodness

and wisd.om. Be became a famous teacher to whom
kings sent their sons to be educated. Chiroo was
immortal, but due to a painful wound he received
he begged Jupiter to allow htm to die rather than
to live in agony. Jupiter granted his request.

- Before Chiroo died, he designed all the constellations

u to aid the navigators". He desilned Sagittarius to
honor himself since be was known as a great archer.
Scorpius, the Scorpion
Juno, wife of Jupiter, grew tired of hearing
Orion boast that no animal coulcl ever harm
him •. She clec1cled she would show him how vain
he was by baving him k1l1ecl in a most humiliating
way by a tiny, insignificant animal. She selected
a scorpion.

The scorpion lay in ambush close to a trail that

Orion liked to use on his daily bunting trips,
stuns him in the heel and caused his death.
When Diana, the loddess of the moon, learned
of her lover's death, sbe begged Jupiter to
place him aa a constellation in the heavens.
Juno demanded that Jupiter must also honor the
Scorpion in the same way. So Jupiter placed
them far apart in the sky-Orion in the winter
sky and the Scorpion in the summer sky.

Taurus, the Bull

. .
Jupiter, disguised as a snow white bull, came
down from Mount Olympus one day .to where Europa, n
a beaut1ful maiden, was playmB in the meadow.
The bull va. 80 Bentle tbat Europa climbed on
its back. Then off sped Jupiter to the seashore,
where he plunged into the waves and swam with
his captive Europa.across to the island of
Crete. There Jupiter revealed hmself as the
king of the gods and won Europa as his bride.

Triangulum, the Triangle

Th1a constellation represents the triangle-shaped
island of Sicily tn Italy and was placed tn the
heavens by Jupiter at the request of Ceres, goddess
of agriculture. Sicily vas a land held in high
esteem by Ceres because of the high quality of
the crops raised there. .
Ursu Major, the Big Bear
Jupiter is said to have come down from Mount Olympus
on many occasions to marry a beautiful earth maiden.
'-- This enraged his goddess wife Juno. One such maiden
u was Callistro. Juno decided to punish ber by taking
away her beauty. She turned Call1stro into a mangy bear.
Callistro had a son, Areas. WhUe Callistro roamed as
a bear, Arcas grew to be a young man and a famous hunter.
One day he trailed a bear through the woods and was about
to shoot an arrow when Jupiter intervened. His prey was
Callistro. his mother. Jupiter turned Areas into a bear.
He grasped both bears by their short, stumpy tails and
heaved them high up into the heavens where they landed
near the North Pole. So heavy were the bears that the
strain on their taUs caused them to be stretched out
into the unusual lengths found in their heavenly con-
As Juno saw the two bears shining brightly in the sky.
she realized that callistro was again beautiful. She
went to Neptune, ruler of the seas, and asked him to
drive the stars of the Big Bear away from his waters
every ttme they dropped down near the sea, never letting
them bathe in the waves.

Ursu Minor, the Little Bear·

u The little bear is better known as the Little
Dipper, one of the Little Dipper's starR is Polaris·,
the North Star. It has been the,guide star for those
who sail their ships across the Northern Hemisphere
and for those who travel across the land.

Virgo, the Virgin

The best-known myth about Virgo identifies her as Ceres,
goddess of growing things, to whom farmers offered their

Ceres had a daughter, Proserpine, who was kidnapped by

Pluto, ruler of the underworld. Ceres declared that /
nothiDg was to grow on earth until Proserpine was returned.
Jupiter ordered. Pluto to return Proserpine to earth but
Pluto said it was not possible because Proserpine had eaten
while below in the underworld. Faced with the problem of
what to do because she had eaten the seeds, and pulled one
way by Ceres and the other by Pluto, Jupiter worked out
a compromise by which Proserpine would spend siX months
with her mother and six months with Pluto. So it is that
u when Proserpine cames to spend 6 months with her mother,
Ceres shines brightly over the f.ields and: they bring forth
crops. But when Proserpine returns to Hades, Ceres is sad
and lonely and allows the world to become cold and dreary.
/ °1°

Copyright 1982 by:
59 Walden Street
(617) 547·7724
For use with the American Indian Constellation Cylinder
Campfire· of the North

(So'tsoh) Navaho
This is the North Star or home
star. It never moves and acts
as the traveler's guide or
lodestar. Look for it if you
are lost; it will help you find
your way~ All the o~her stars
will revolve around 'it.

u Black God
Black God and his Pleiades
xa sceszina (Navaho) o
Black God is the Creator of
fire and light. When Black God
entered the Hogan of creation,
Pleiades was lodged at his ankle.
In the Hogan itself he stamped i
his foot vigorously which made
the Pleiadobound to his knee. J
He stamped his foot again and
caused the Pleiad to locate at
his hip. .oOn the third tap he
brought the Pleiad to his right
shoulder and on the fourth to his
left temple where "it would stay"
declared the Black God. His feat of
locating the Pleiad where he wanted it
confirmed to the creator group that the
-u Black God alone was in charge of and had
the power of producing constellations for
beautifying the dark upper or sky.
Cold Man of the North

First Man

First Woman


These two constellations are located on either side of
the North Star or home fire. They never leave this area
of the sky and no other constellation approaches to inter- ~
fere with their routine. This arrangement of constellations
established a law that ha~ persisted to this day. This
law stipulates that only one couple may live by one
home fire. (Navaho)
u Lizard
Xa'asboii (Navaho)

~o particular legends
about these constellations
exist" to our knowledge
but literature mentions
~he fact that First
Woman made many more
constellations for the
sky un"til nearly every
animal, bird and insect
bad star counterparts
in the sky. -

K'aalogii (Navaho)
First Big One

Xavaho (in Scorpio)

This constellation seems
~o be part of Scorpio. Its
human form suggests an
application to First Man

Man With Feet Ajc.-

This constellation is
part of Corvus.

No folklore was found

on either of these
two Navaho constellation .
(i'ni) Navaho

The Navaho legends hold that the Thunderbird constellation

carried all the clouds in his tail and rain under his wings.
Thus when the Thunderbird constellation is shining brightly
in the sky, spring or the rainy season has arrived.



The Bear constellation that- is tangent to the Thunderbird is

also tied into the legend of changing seasons. When the bear
is bright in the sky and the feather of Thunderbird is just
touching the nose of the Bear, Spring has arrived. The
u Bear has essentially come out of Winter hibernation.
Great- Bear
.• Loca'ted on the
Milky Way Path.

One Iroquois legend

tells us that the Great
Bear was pursued by three
Indian braves. The
chase began at the
beginning of time when
the first Indian shot and
struck the Bear in the side
with his bow and arrow~
The wound wasn't serious, however, and the Bear kep~ on
running. He has been running across the sky ever since.
The bear's path changes from season to season. In the
autumn it begins low in the Northwest. During this
season the arrow wound of the Bear opens slightly and
a little blood trickles down upon the land. It covers
the leaves of the trees and dyes them red and that is
why-we have autumn.

Rabbit Tracks
Gahatei (Navaho)
This is the constellation that
governs all hunting. During
the spring· and early summer ~
when the open end of the o 0
tracks point upward, no one o
may hunt game animals. In
the late fall, when the open
end tips toward earth, the hunting
season begins.
Laws governing hunting were very
strict as the Navaho depended on
game for their food. No hunting
was allowed during an animal's
mating season.
Horned Rattler

Horned Rattler (Navaho)
Hydra who resembles a
sea serpent was said to
be given charge of the
underground water channels.

u ·Spider God

1\ _____

~ Spider God sits in his star web
during the summer time, watching
over the earth. To visit the land
he climbs down the Milky Way.

(Dahsani) Navaho

The Porcupine was given charge

of the growth of all trees on
the mountains.

Dog 'Star


Legend tells us that

all depart~d souls on
their sky journey to the
"land of souls" must pa.ss
two barking dogs. These dogs'
stars are Sirius located in the
dog constellation and Autares located
in the First Big One on your American Indian
Constellation Cylinder. If the departed soul fed the first
dog but had nothing for the second dog, it would be left trapped
in the sky forever between the dogs.
Long Sash

.Slim One
Long Sash (Tewa)
Slim One (Navaho)
Ace ecozi (Orion)
Long sash lead hi~ people
westward to a new land away
from their enemies who were
attacking vilages, stealing
animals and killing families.
Once settled in this new land,
however, the people began to
quarrel and exchange blows
among themselves. Long Sash
declared "you are hurting
yourselves worse than your
enemies hurt you. If you are to
come to a place of your own there
can be no violence among you. You
u must decide whether you follow me or
take another trail."
- ........._--

Place of Decision·
the· Twins


North and east of Longsash are

2 bright stars. This is where
Langsash's people sat to decide
which path of life to follow and
thus it is called the place of
u decision. People looked to these
stars for guidance whenever they
came to a turning pOint in their

(Canopus) Matii Bizo'

The coyote constellation
is located in the southern
skies. Navaho legend tells
us that the coyote was a
trickster, a bumbler constantly
disturbing the orderly arrange-
ment that was intended for the
sky. In assisting First Man , ,
and First Woman in placing 'J
constellations in the sky,
coyote was said to have mixed
up Castor and Pollux, the twins. This angered First Woman
so much that she forbade the coyote to place any other stars
in the sky other than his own. The coyote placed his own
star (Canopus) directly~over. Coyote Mountain. It is sai4
to shine brightly in the southern sky during mating season.

Hopi legends tell us that the Creator called on all his
creatures to gather tiny sparkling stones to place in
the sky for light. He told each creature to take as many
of the sparkling rocks as they could carry and draw a
picture of themselves in the sky. Most of the animals,
however, were too small to carry enough stones to complete
their picture, so the Creator gave Coyote a large bag of
stones so that he could help the smaller creatures. But
Coyote grew impatient. He took the stones and flung them
into the sky, which is why some of the star figures are
unfinished and why the stars don't all form clear patterns.
It was only then that Coyote realized that he had forgotten
his own picture and there were no rocks left. So Coyote
howled, and still forever a coyote howls at the sky because
his picture is not there.
v Milky Way Trail
Navaho: Yikaisdahi
Navaho legend holds that the Milky
Way provides a pathway for the spirits
traveling between heaven and earth,
each little star being one footprint.
The Milky Way path was placed in the
sky by the Coyote. After all the stars \
had been chiseled many small pieces of
quartz and quartz dust remained on the
blanket where First Man and Woman had
been working. Coyote is said to have
grasped the blanket by ,two corners and
swung it in the air spraying the stone
fragments and star dust in an arc in the
sky that reached from horizon to horizon
forming the Milky Way.

Algonquin: Pathway of Souls

\ I

l-/ The Algonquin legend tells us that the

Milky Way is the path that our souls
take when we die. Sometimes referred to
as the Pathway of Souls, it is an imperish-
able mark upon the sky which arches across
the heavens. We do not know where the path
~leads nor·do we know what sights they may
behold. Each bright star, however, is
a campfire blazing in the sky where they
have paused in their journey to look
down on us, their people, as we huddle
for warmth around our home fire'.

Other Names 'for the Milky Way:

Fox tribe: ••••••• "A river of stars"
Yokut: ••• '•.•• '•••• "dust from a race be-
tween antelope and deer'
Cherokee: .•••.•••• "corn meal 'dripping
from a dog's mouth"
Ciowa .•••..•.•••• "backbone of the sky"
Hidohsa & Patwin: .• "scattered ashes"
Eskimo: ..•.••••.•• "track made by
Raven's snow shoes"
Skidee Pawnee: .••. "glue holding the
sky together"
Learning Technologies, Inc. would like to express special thanks to
the astronomers of the Astronomy Education Program at the Lawrence
Hall of Science. University of California at Berkeley for their
suggestions on the STARLAB American Indian Constellation Cylinder.

Other American Indian sky stories can be found on pages 52-56 of

this manual and in the following references:

Budd, Lillian, Full Moons, Indian Legends of the Seasons, Rand McNally
and Co., 1'9'7r." - -
Clark, Ella E., Indian Legends of !h! Pacific Northwest, University of
California Press. 1953.
Clark, Ella E., Indian Legends ~rom the Northern Rockies, University of
Oklahoma Press, 1966.
Haile, Berard, Starlore Among the Navaho, Muse~m of Navaho Ceremonial
Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1947. _
Judson, Katharine Berry, selector and editor, Myths and Legends of
British North .America, A. C. McClurg and Co., 1917. ~.

Judson, Katherine Berry. Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley

and the Great Lakes, A.C. McClurg and Co •• 1914.
Littman, Mark. The People - Skylore of the American Indian, Hansen
Planetarium, Salt Lake City. Utah, 1976.
Longfellow. Henry Wadsworth. The Song of Hiawatha.
Marriott, Alice and Carol K. Rachlin, American Indian Mythology. Thomas
Y. Crowell Company. 1968.
Newcomb, Franc Johnson. Navaho Folk Tales. Museum of Navaho Ceremonial
Art, Santa Fe. N.M •• 1947.----
Parsons, Elsie Clews, Tewa Tales. published by the American Folk-Lore
Society, G. E. Stechert and Co., 1920.
~ Challenger, Astronomy Education Program, University of California,
Berkeley, Ca. 94720. 1978.
Thompson, Stith, selector and annotator, Tales of the North American
Indians, Indiana University Press, 1929.

F-5, Star-Finding wIth a Star-FInder

A star map of the night sky helps locate different constellations in the same way a road
map helps locate different cities on the earth. In this activity students construct a rotat-
ing star finder to find the constellations vislole in the night sky throughout the year.

Constellations remain :fixed in their relative position to each other.
ConstelliJ,tions appear in the sky at different times, due to the earth's daily rotation and
seasonal Qrbit around ~e sun.

Students will:
• construct a star finder.
• identify constellations using a star finder.
• observe the effect of seasonal changes when viewing constellations.

Star F'mder patterns: holder, and nyo constellation wheels
u file folders (one and one-half'per star finder)

Advanced Preparation:
. Make enough copies of the Star Finder patterns so each student can make their own.
Creating a sample ahead of time will help them understand what the final product should .
look like.


1. Distribute one manila folder and the Star Finder Holder pattern to each student

2. Have students glue the holder pattern to the front of a manila file folder, with the
east-south edge of the holder along the fold of the file folder.

3. Have them cut out the star :finder as indicated on the pattern, including the central
oval. They should staple the front and back together by placing staples exactly on
the staple lines shown on the front of the Star F'mder Holder.

© 1994 Pacific Science Center


F-5, Star-Findtng with a Star-Finder !

4. Distribute copies of the constellation wheels and one-half of a manila folder to each
student Glue one of the constellation wheels to one side of the manila folder. Have
them cut it out, then glue the other constellation wheel to the back. This technique
makes it easier to line up the circle of the two wheels. It is not possible to align the
dates on the two wheels, nor is it important for them to be aligned.

5. Have them insert the star wheel between the pages of the holder so the simple star
field appears through the oval opening. Once the star wheel is completely inserted,
test tum the star wheel to be sure it moves freely. Check to see that the black line
under the dates on the star wheel approximately lines up with the edge of the star
finder cover showing the time of day.


1. Before going outside to use the Star Finder, practice using it in the classroom. Have
the students align the current date on the wheel with the time indicator on the
holder. The following set of questions and directions will help them become famil-
iar with the star finder.
a. Assume you are going to observe at 9:00 p.m. tonight What constellations are
b. Tum the dial until it is set for 11:00 p.m. tonight.
1. Which constellations are visible?
2. Which constellations were visible at 9:00 p.m., but are no longer visible at
11:00 p.m.? .
3. Which horizon are disappearing constellations closest to?
4. Which constellations are visible at 11:"00 p.m., but were not visible at
9:00 p.m.?
c. Turn the dial until it is set for 5:00 a.m., just around sunrise.
1. Which constellations are still visible that were up at 9:00 p.m.?
2. Describe the motion the constellations follow from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
3. Rotate the dial one complete tum, which represents a 24-hour day. Which
constellations never go below the horizon?
d. Hold the star finder over your head so that the "North" designation on the star
finder is pointing north. The stars showing in the oval opening are those that
can be seen overhead at the time and date set on the star finder. The edge of
the oval represents the horizon. Stars near the edge of the oval are low on the
horizon. The center of the oval is the point directly overhead when you look up
in the night sky. This point is called the zenith. stars near the center of the oval
will be high overhead when you are observing.

e 1994 Pacific Science Center


I F-5, Star-Finding wtth a Star-Finder

e. Now you are ready to go star finding in the night sky. A small flashlight or
penlight will help you read the star :finder at night Red plastic, red construction
paper, or a red balloon, over the front of the flashlight will allow you. to read
your star chart by the red light, but will not reduce your ability to see faint stars
in the sky.
Teachers Note: Have students practice using their star finders, pointing to where
they would expect to find specific constellations.

2. The simple star field shows the bright stars visible in the major constellations.
These stars are easily found, especially when viewing from a city where the many
lights make it difficult to see faint stars. Once students are experienced at finding
the bright stars on this side of the star wheel, they can flip the star wheel over and
attempt to :find the fainter stars and constellations. Some of these will not be visible
until observed from a location away from city lights.

3. Once students become famjljar with some of the brighter constellations, they can
use them as guides to find your way around the sky. For example,. they can use the
two outer stars of the Big Dipperls cup to help :find .the North Star. Have them
devise their own technique to use the stars to :find other constellations.

~ 1994 Pacific Science Center



F-5, Star-Finding with a Star-Finder





~ 1994 Pacific Science Cel1.ler

F-5, Star-Finding wtth a Slar-Finder !


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Horvw YSHn
g' rjf,


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i~ ~


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@ 1994 Pacific Science Center



F-5, Star-Finding with'a Star-Finder


@ 1994 Pacific Science Center


~ ..

u Mt. Nose "

A Model of Day and Night

;Before you do the moon balls activity in this session, but with the lamp already set up, there
is a great opportunity to model day and night. This relates to the explanations the students
explored in Session f and helps students gain understanding through their own direct

l. Gather the class in a circle around the lamp. Explain to the ~tudents that each of their
heads represents the Earth. The light in the center represt!l1ts the Sun.

2.· Ask the students to imagine that their nose is a mountain and that a person lives on the
tip of "Mount Nose." With the students facing the lightbulb, ask, "For the person on
your Mount Nose, where in the sky is the sun?" Ihigh in the sky, overhead) Ask, "What
time of day do you think it is for the person on Mt. Nose?" (around noon)

3. Ask. the students to tum 1p their left, and stop when their right ears are facing the sun.
Ask, "For the person on'Mount Nose, where in the sky does the sun seem to be? In~ar
the horizon, low in the sky1 Ask, "What time of day is i~ for the person7" Isunset1

4- Have the students continue to tum~ stopping when their backs are to the Iightbulb. Ask,
. . "What time is ·It for·the perso~' on Mount Nose?" (around midnjghti On what part of
your head is it daytlme71the back of your head, because it is now facing the sunl'

. 5. Have the stl:1dents make· another quarter tum, so that their left ears face the sun. Where is
the sun? now in the sky, just "coming up") What time Is it? [sunrise] Have the class tum
back to face the light.

... 6. You may want to have students hold their hands to the sides of their heads to form
"horizons" The left hand is the "eastern horizon" and the right hand is the "western
horizon." Tell the students to tum slowly and watch for "sunrises" from their "left
hand/eastern horizon" and sunsets on their "right. hand/western horizon."

7. Remind the class of the term model, as someone's explanation for something that has
been observed. Scientists today use a model like the one they have just made to
explain the way the Sun seems to move in the sky.


24 Activity 4
AISD Planetarium Outline
Classroom Part: 35 min.

1. Introduction:
• If this is what you do first: Introduce yourself and a brief outline of what the
program will be like.
• If this is your second half: Revue some of the things they learned in the first
2. The most important star (to us):
• What star is most important to us?
• Why is the Sun the most important star to us? (show picture of sun)
1. Heat, light, gravity, seasons
2. All food and the energy your body needs comes from the Sun.
3. All other energy comes from the Sun too.
• Solar, wind, water power
• Gasoline, coal, oil, gas, firewood
• Electricity, radio and tv, microwaves
• -Earth and Sun (two ways to model: "Texas Nose" or have a kid to be the
Sun and one to be the Earth)
1. Demonstrate day & night
2. Demonstrate a year
u 3. Show how the stars visible at night change over the year
• How many stars are in the Solar System?
1. Ask them this trick question. Narrow down the guesses to "many"
and "one". Re-state the question with emphasis on the "solar system"
and see if they can figure it out.
2. Ask them if they can name the things in the Solar System
• Use Sherry'S Solar System Game to help them figure out the
planets and the order they go including asteroids, the Moon,
dwarf planets and moons of other planets (every planet has
one or more moons except for Mercury and Venus)
3. So, where ARE those other stars? Outside our solar system.
• How far away is the Sun?
1. 93 million miles, or 8 minutes at light speed (8 light minutes)
• Miles are too small a measure for space. Astronomers use
light speed, the distance light can travel in a certain amount of
time, to measure distances in space.
2. Is this close or far? Do we want to be closer or farther?
• How far away are the other stars?
1. Alpha Centauri is more than 4 light years away (its light has been
traveling towards us for more than 4 years when we see it). This is 25
trillion miles.
2. Rigel is about 930 light years away, Vega is about 261y away, Sirius is
U about 8 ly away.
4. How do stars form, and what happens when they die?
• Play the Nebula Game with the kids. (show the Orion Nebula poster)
• Use the Star Cycle bulletin board to show the cycle from dust and gas, to
protostars, to stars, etc.
1. A Protostar is the beginnings of a star forming from the nebula.
Jupiter and the other gas giant planets are protostars that never
became stars.
2. Our Sun is a medium sized yellow star that will last for several billion
years. This is the best kind of star for planets to have because
they last a long time and help to support life.
3. White stars like Sirius are hotter than the Sun and live shorter lives.
4. Blue stars like Rigel are even hotter than white stars and live very
short lives, maybe only a few million years.
5. Red giant stars are yellow or white stars that are dying. They cool
off, have less gravity, expand and tum red. When they die they
collapse down, heat up for a short time and become white dwarf
stars, then die and become black dwarf stars.
6. Red supergiant stars, like Betelgeuse and Antares, are blue stars that
are dying. They cool off and become enormous. When they
collapse down they may explode in a huge explosion called a
7. Red dwarf stars, like Proxima Centauri, are the most common stars,
but we have a hard time seeing them. They last for many billions
of years. Astronomers think they would die by just becoming a
black dwarf, but no red dwarf star that we know about has ever
died in the history of the universe, so no one knows for sure.
8. A Supernova gives energy and gas and dust to start a nebula, to form
new stars.
9. A Black Hole is a place in space with tremendous gravity that used to
be a supergiant star. Black holes are believed to be the central
point of galaxies that hold the stars in rotation around them.
5. What are constellations? (show the constellation poster)
• Connect-the-dot imaginary pictures we make from the stars
• A way to map the sky and remember which star is which and where to find them.
• Illustrations of various ancient myths and stories from many different cultures on
• Navigation tools to help sailors, pilots and adventurers find their way across the
• How to use a star map: (pass out the star maps)
1. Hold it up overhead and turn the map as you face different directions
2. Compare the stars on the map with what you see in the sky.
3. Have the right map for the season of the year.
Telescope: 5 min. (outside between the classroom part and the planetarium part. Do this
u before the classroom if you start in the planetarium and after the classroom part if you are
heading into the planetarium)
• Invented about 500 years ago, it changed our concept of the universe.
• Telescopes let us see things that we could not see with our eyes alone.
• Galileo made its use popular and wrote books about what he saw. He went to
prison for what he said, but today we know it is true.
• Allowed astronomers to prove that the Sun is the center of our solar system and
that planets, including Earth orbit around it.
• Today the Hubble telescope in outer space is changing what we know again
because it is a huge telescope outside the Earth's atmosphere and can see
more clearly.
• Binoculars are small telescopes and are very good for seeing many things in the
night sky.

Planetarium part: 35 min.

1. Sit everyone on the big step in MPR. Explain the rules of the planetarium and have
everyone take off their shoes.
2. Enter the dome, get everyone seated and quiet. Turn off the sun and put on the
constellation cylinder (the top one wth the pictures). Turn down the lights slowly.
3. Identify as many of the constellations as you want as you rotate through the year.
4. Tell a story about one or more constellations.
5. Change the cylinder to the night sky.
u 6. Sing a star song: (optional) could be Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Deep In The
Heart of Texas (this is a helpful thing if you have some kids who are a little nervous
about the darkness)
7. Show some of the constellations for each season and the circumpolar constellations:
(these are some suggestions but you definitely don't have to do every one)
• Spring: Leo the Lion, Corvus the Crow, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor
• Summer: Scorpio the Scorpion, Sagittarius the Centaur, Cygnus the Swan,
Lyra the Harp, Aquila the Eagle, Draco the Dragon
• Autumn: Pegasus the Flying Horse, Andromeda the Princess, Cassiopeia the
Queen, Perseus the Hero, the Pleides
• Winter: Taurus the Bull, Orion the Hunter, Canus Major Orion's big dog,
Gemini the Twins, Lepus the Rabbit
8. Show the Moon.
9. Turn on the Sun and turn up the lights. Make sure every kid gets out of the
planetarium safely and gets their shoes back on.

Texas Nose (a variation on Mt. Nose)

Stand in the center with a group of kids in a circle (no one behind or in front of
another) around you. Tell the group that you are the Sun and that each of
them is the Earth ~ots of Earths!). The top of each kid's head is the North
Pole and their chin is the South Pole. Their nose is Texas and the back of their
head is China or India.

You are sending out tons of energy, heat and light to the Earths. Have them
stand where Texas is facing the Sun (you) and ask them what time it is
(daytime, noon, 12PM). Have them hold up their right fist with thumbs up.
To rotate on their axis, they will turn in the direction that their fingers curl (to
the left). If you look down onto the North Pole from above it would be a
counterclockwise turn.

Have them tum around to show the position of midnight in Texas, or noon in
China or India. Have each kid notice what they see out in the night sky at
midnight. Each side of the circle, each kid, will see something different
because they are facing different directions. If you have enough
parents/teachers/ etc. assign one to be Leo in the spring sky, one to be Scorpio
in the summer sky, one to be Pegasus in the autumn sky and one to be Orion
in the winter sky. The different directions are the seasons of the year. Have
them rotate back to noon. Ask them how long that rotation on their axis took
(24 hours or one day).

Now, ask what other movement the Earth has (orbiting the Sun). That is also
in a counterclockwise direction, so have the kids walk slowly around you to
their left. It is probably not a good idea for them to rotate and orbit at the
same time. When the circle has moved about one quarter or one half of the
way around, ask them to stop and turn to midnight in Texas. Do they see the
same things they saw before? No, because they have moved to a different
season of the year. Now, have them continue to orbit around you until they
get back to where they started. How long did this orbit take? (365 1/4 days or 1
year) So, if they were eight when they started, they are nine now, if ten, then
they are eleven, etc. Point out that what they see over their North Pole or
under their South Pole are the 'same things, just from different angles, all year
The Nebula Game
u This works best with a group of 10 or more, more is better. Have everyone stand up.
Explain that they are all atoms and molecules of space dust and gas. They are drifting
aimlessly in outer space. Have them just wander slowly and randomly around the room.

Choose one person, preferably their teacher or a parent or another counselor, to be a

supernova and explode with appropriate melodrama. When they have given a big kablooey,
it sends stardust and energy into the cloud of aimless dust and gas (the kids) and causes them
to begin walking in a counterclockwise direction around the room (not in a circle, still all
scattered, but going the same way).

As they walk around, cause two of them to bump gently into each other and join elbows.
They have formed a protostar. Have them choose one other person to join with them to
form a star. These three stand in the center and begin to be very bright and hot, sending
energy out to the others. Now, clump two more kids together into a planet orbiting around
the star. Pull one other kid into the star to make it even hotter, create another planet,
choose one kid to become a moon orbiting a planet, have one or more kids become
asteroids, choose one kid to have a long elliptical orbit into the star and back out to the
edges of the group as a comet.

Do this until every kid has become something: star, planet, moon, asteroid, comet. Tell
them they have become a solar system.

Planetarium Program Outline

General Info: One instructor, one hour presentation in MPR using Sky Lab
Planetarium. Refer to your notebooks for info on setting up planetarium and stories
to tell.

I. Grades K-l: Demonstrate night and day using globe, show picture of the sun,
identify the sun as our nearest star.

Grades 2-5: Discuss the formation of stars (varying complexity to suit age level)
using planetarium posters.

II. Inside Planetarium:

A. Point out Big Dipper, North Star, Little Dipper, Draco, Cassiopeia,
Cepheus and Orion. You may also point out Betelgeuse and Rigel
in Orion to illustrate the relationship between the age of stars and
their colors.

B. Relate appropriate myths.

AISD Planetarium- Classroom Part
Greeting and Introduction:
V If this is the part you do first:
Introduce yourself
Give a very brief overview of what the program will be
If this is the part you do second then skip to the program material
The most important star:
Why is the sun the most important star?
Heat, light, gravity
Show picture of sun
Star energy (keep this brief most of the time)
All food comes from sun
Plants capture energy
All food comes from plants
Energy of our bodies to work and play is star energy
All other energy comes from the sun too
Gasoline, coal, oil, gas
Solar, wind, water power
Earth & Sun (use the earth ball and get a kid to vol~teer tp be the sun) '. '
Demonstrate day & night CtK-ch. tLli.IC{N:j. ~(cC. (l"J~'J-k!(~/l JA J
Demonstrate a year
Tilt of the earth and· how seasons are caused by this tilt
Visible stars change with the seasons as earth moves around sun, northern and
southern stars are visible all year
V Too small a measure (still using the earth ball and sun-kid):
How far away is the sun?
93 million miles or 8 minutes at light speed.
Is this far or close? Do we want to be closer or farther?
Miles too small for space. Light speedllight year=6 trillion miles
Distance to stars other than the sun:
Alpha Centari is 4 light years
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Rigel is 930 light years t'~f -S7~_ v d (Jm
Vega is 26 light years /I., ~(,
Life Cycle of Stars
Star colol'S
Yellow sun 1YlR-d~ ~/) -n ~ ,a . L' ; / ~
Hot blue & white stars ~ (./~d) rP--,L
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Old red stars - ~ 3~s -..12k' If)f~{ j ~ ~'~ (J -
Star Color, Size and Terrlp. Game fI' ()
Life cycle of stars:
Nebula (show Orion Nebula poster) fLL,-hv& ~I~.>
Star Cycle (Nebula) Game 0, .-
Life cycle (show life cycle posters) j~/~ t-.- tC~
Constellations I. 5{vf!M--~~-(? ~ ~_.- .
What are constellations? ~ .~ 5;:::: sM~ ~(v-. ~
Connect the dot pictures ~ '"""-?~ ~ ~
V Imaginary ways to remember real stars ~~
Illustrations of ancient myths, different ones from every different culture on earth.
Maps that astronomers can use to chart the sky and find things ~1. set-

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Navigation tools to find directions on earth for sailors, pilots, explorers
How to read a star map: (pass out the star maps)
Look up & hold it overhead
Tum it as you tum to face the different directions
Each kid can try out the map by comparing it to the stars on the walls of the room
Need for star maps for each season of the year
Telescope ~r-- AvJ * ~ ~?---
Invented about 500 years ago .
Changed our concept of universe and understanding of space dJ~:::.t-!f-::7;--<!t:!:fl: vJ~2-- ~-~~.
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Telescopes or binoculars on a clear dark night for the fun of it..J~ ~w ~ SO _ ~~Of!{ f~ 10
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u Clues for Solar System Game

1. I am the star nearest to your planet. I am the center of your solar

system. (Sun)

2. I am the planet closest to the sun. 1 have no water and am

covered with craters. (Mer~ury)

3. I am covered with green and white clouds. I ani one of the

brightest objects in the night sky. I am the closest planet to
Earth. (Venus)

3. I am the planet you live on!, I am about 4.5 billion years old.

4. I am calle~ the "red planet". I had water long ago, but now I
am mostly dry desert. (Mars)

5. Weare not planets. More than 100,000 of us revolve around the

u )
Sun between Mars and Jupiter. We are rocky objects that you
call meteors when we enter Earth's "atmosphere. (asteroids)

6. I am the largest planet. My Great Red Spot is a huge storm in

Diy clouds. (Jupiter)

7. I am famous for my rings. They are made of million~ of icy

chunks of rock. (Saturn)

8. 1 have blue and green clouds surrounding me. 1 am tilted so that

my north and south poles stick out from my side. (Uranus)

9. 1 have blue and white clouds surrounding me. I am named after

the ancient god of the seas. (Neptune)

10.1 am the smallest planet. I am the only planet never visited by a

spacecraft. (pluto)

u 1I.We are lumps of ice and dust. When we get close enough to the
Sun, we start to evaporate and jets of gas and dust form long tails
that you can see from Earth. (Comets)
AISD Planetarium Solar System Game

Objective: Students will be able to use clues to order themselves as

planets in our solar system. Some students will also be
asteroids, moons and comets.

Materials: Inflatable planets, pompoms for comets, rocks for asteroids

and Styrofoam balls for moons.

Procedure: 1. Pass out sun, planets (with their nametags) asteroids,

comets and moons until all children have a prop.
2. Read clues so that students stand in correct order from
the sun:




3. Have children recite the names of planets in order

from the sun.

Life Cycle of Star

After explaining the life cycle of stars (using posters), have children stand up on carpet

squares. Have the teacher randomly pass out the yellow and blue cards. Explain to

children that they are part of a nebula. Ask the children what a nebula is? Explain to

children that a nebula is a cloud of gases that are moving around. Have children moye

randomly around the classroom. Have the teacher be a supernova and explode in the

nebula. Tell children to start rotating in the same direction and to pair up with other

children having the same color card. Tell each color group that they have become a

protostar. Have children fonn a circle with their color group and tell the children that

they have now become a main sequence star (because they are now releasing energy

instead of contracting it.) Yellow cards only (the sun): remains in this sequence for 10

billion years. Then have kids make their circle bigger and explain that this is the star
expanding and cooling. They have now become a Red Giant star. Have kids leave their

yellow cards in a circle on the floor and move away from them (this is the planetary

nebula) and the kids become a white dwarf. Then the star eventually becomes cool"and

dims. When it stops shinning, the now dead star is called a black dwarf.

Blue cards only (blue supergiant stars): Massive stars evolve in the same way to a small

star (like the sun) until it reaches its main sequence stage. It is only in the main sequence

stage for millions of years instead of billions. Have the kids "run" to the center of their

circle and then blow up (this is the core collapsing causing an explosion called a

supernova). If the core survives the explosion it becomes a neutron star. Have kids stand

in a tight circle to demonstrate this. If the core does not survive the explosion then it

contracts to become a black hole.

~tar Order by Temperature
Blue Supergiant surface temp . 19,000 F

Blue Giant

White Dwarf

Yellow Sun surface temp 5,500F

u Red Supergiant

Red Giant

Red Dwarf surface temp 3,500F

,. ...... ,
A Script (of sorts) for using the Evening Star Map
While children are still seated in the circle on their carpet squares pass out appropriate star map to each child. As
you are passing out maps explain that this is a simple star map copied out ofa teacher's manual. You canfind
them on the Internet. You can buy them at book or nature stores Sometimes they are in Astronomy magazines.

Hold the map in front ofyou. Who would like to read the top ofthe page? Jfyou went out before 9:00 tonight to
look at the stars would that make this map "no-good"? No, the constellations would be a little shifted one way or
the other depending ifyou went out before or after the stated time. The map is still good.

Who would like to read the directions at the bottom ofthe page? Wow, that sounds simple, but how do we figure
out which way we are facing?

First, we mustfind the Big Dipper. Who has seen the Big Dipper in the night sky? Is it big or little? Is it hard to
find? There are four black posters around the room. Each one has at least one constellation on it. One has the
Big Dipper on it. please stand-up and raise your hand when you think you hav~ found the Big Dipper on one ofthe
four posters.

Give the laser pointer to a child who has their hand up, or have them just use their finger to point out the Big
Dipper on the poster. GREAT, now who mows how to find the North Star or Polaris, ifyou know where the Big
Dipper is?

That's con-eet. Wefind the two bright stars that make up the end o/the bowl ofthe Big Dipper. Draw an
imaginary line joining those two stars continue the line until it runs into a bright star sort ofby itself. That is the
North Star or Polaris.

Jfyou are facing the North Star which direction you are/acing? Yeal North is right. Everyone tum so you are
'- facing North. Now, ifyou are ever lost in the middle a/nowhere you can look to the night sky, find the Big
Dipper, connect the two stars at the end ofthe bowl. they wiIl point you to the North Star, then you mow what
direction you are facing and you can find your way. This is the same method old sea captains used to find their
way many many years ago.

Read the directions at the bottom of the page once again. Standing at the ''Nortb.~end of the room by the poster of
the dippers, ask the children which direction is North? East? West? South? So, ifwe 're /aeing North the part of
the map that says "NORTHERN HORlZON'~ should be close to your tummy. Walk around the room to be sure
every one has their map oriented correctly.

Let's pretend it is about 9:00 at night and we are going out to star gaze. What do we need to bring with us?
Really nothing, but a star map and a flash light might be useful. Our pointer finger will be our flashlight in this
classroom. Every one hold up your flashlight. Great . .

Now lets look at our star maps andfind CASSIOPEIA, point your flashlight at that constellation on your map. The
word Cassiopeia begins with the letter C, and the constellation looks like a funny W. Walk around to make sure
each child has their "flashlight" pointed at the right constellation. Now, see ifyou canfind it on one o/the/our
posters. Raise your hand when you have found it. The children may wander around, not truly understanding that
it should be on the North wall. After a fair number of children seem to have found it, ask one child to point it out
on the poster with the laser POint~. Great. Do you think in the real night sky Cassiopeia is little or big?

As time permits, have the children find Leo and Pegasus. Ending with Orion usually makes for a nice transition
into red stars, blue stars, or nebulas.



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The Planetarium program addresses the following Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills:

Scientific Principles: Ia(K, 1st, 2nd)-demonstrate safe practices-home and school

u . 2a(K., 1st, 2nd)-ask questions
2d(K., 1st)-explanations based on information
2e(2nd)-explanations based on infonnation and draw conclusions
2f(2Dd)-communicate explanations
3a(K, 1", 2Dd )_make decisions using information
3b(K, 1st, 2nd)_justify merits of decisions
3c(K, 151, 2nd)-explain a problem and propose a solution
la(3rd, 4th, 5th, 6lh )-demonstrate safe practices during field and laboratory
2c(3 rd , 4lh, 5th, 6lh)-analyze and interpret information to construct explanations
from direct and indirect evidence
2d(3 rd, 4tb, 5th; 61h)-communicate valid conclusions .
3a(3 nl, 4tb, Stb , 61h)-analyze, review, critique scientific explanations: hypotheses,
theories as to strengths and weaknesses
3c(3nl, 4th, 5th , 61h)-represent natural world using models, identify limitations
Systems: 9c(K)-identify ways Earth provides resources for life
6a(2Dd)-manipulate, ·predict, identify parts separated from whole may not work
Sa(3 nl)-observe and identify simple systems
.11 c(3"')-identify planets in solar system and positions
Ild(3rd)-describe characteristics of.sun
11 a(4tb)-test properties of soils
Sa(Sth)-describe some cycles, structures, processes in simple systems
Sh(SIh)-descnbe interactions that occur in simple systems
6a(Sth)-identify events and descnbe changes that occur on regular basis
12dESth)-identify gravity as force to keep planets and moon in orbit . .
Sa( 6th)-identify apd describe system resulting from combination .of two Ot more
u systems
13a(6th)-identify characteristic~ of objects in solar system-sun, planets, :
meteorites, comets, asteroids, moons
. Properties, Patterns, 8a(K)-identify organisms or objects as living or nonliving
and Models: 9c(K)-identify ways Earth provides resources for life
Sa(lj;sort objects by properties and patterns
Sa(2 )-classify and sequence organisms; objects, events
8b(2Dd)-identify characteristics of nonliving objects
llc(3 rd)-identify planets in solar system and positions
11 d(3rd)-descnbe characteristics of sun
llc(4tb)-identify sun as major energy source
12a(Stb)-intexpret how land fOImS result from constructive and destructive forces·
Sa( 6tb)-identify and descnoe system resulting from combination of ~o or more
systems .
13a(6tb)-identify characteristics of objects in solar system-sun, planets,
meteorites, comets, asteroids, moons
Constancy and Change: Sa(K)-properties of objects and characteristics of organisms
Sa(1 Sl)-sort objects by properties and patterns .
7d(2 nd)-observe, measure, record changes in weather, night sky, seasons
11 c(3 rd )-identify planets in solar system and positions
II d(3 rd)-describe characteristics of sun
11a(4tb)-test properties of soils
12d(SIh)-identify gravity as force to keep planets and moon in orbit
13a(61h)-identify characteristics of objects in solar system-sun, planets,
meteorites, comets, asteroids, moons
Form and Function: 9c(K)-identify ways Earth provides resources for life
u 6a(2Dd)-manipulate, predict, identify parts separated from whole may not work
llc(3 rd )-identify planets in solar system and positions
11 d(3 rd)-describe characteristics of sun
llc(4th)-identify sun as major energy source
12d(Sth)-identity gravIty as torce to keep planets and moon in orbit
13a(6th)-identify characteristics of objects in solar system-sun, planets,
meteorites, comets, asteroids, moons

Resource Guide and Bibliography

GEMS, c/o Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
Universe At Your Fingertips, ed. Andrew Fraknoi, Project Astra, Astronomical Society
of the Pacific, 1995.
Beyond the Blue Horizon, Edwin C. Krupp, Oxford University Press, 1991.
The Stars, H.A.Rey, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1980.
Stars of the First People, Dorcas S. Miller, Pruett Publishing, Boulder, CO, 1997.
D' Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, Ingri and Edgar Parin D' Aulaire, Bantam Doubleday
Dell Publishing Group, New York, 1962.
Stars & Planets, ed. David H. Levy, The Nature Co. Discoveries Library, Time Life
Books, 1996.
The Shining Stars, Greek Legends of the Zodiac, Ghislaine Vautier, adapted by Kenneth
Mc Leish, Cambridge University Press, 1981.
The Way of the Stars, Ghislaine Vautier, adapted by Kenneth Mc Leish, Cambridge
University Press, 1981.
Be A Space Detective, Anita Ganeri, Derrydale Books, New York, 1992.
Exploring the Night Sky With. Binoculars, Patrick Moore, Cambridge University Press,
365 Starry Nights, Chet Raymo, Simon & Schuster, 1982.
A Walk Through the Heavens, Milton D. Heifetz and Wi! Tirion, Cambridge University
Press, 1996.
Star Date, The University of Texas at Austin, McDonald Observatory, 2609 University
Ave. #3.118, Austin, TX 78712. 512/471-5285.
Mercury, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 390 Ashton Ave., San Francisco, CA
Web sites
stardate. utexas.edu
Star Color, Size &Temperature Game

U Introduction: Use the illustration of the Life Cycle of Stars to explain how stars form from the nebula
cloud of dust and gases, then describe their life cycle. When stars are first formed in the nebula they are a hot
blue-white or yellow. As stars get older and use up their fuel, they cool off and tum red, so new stars tend to be
hotter than old stars. As a star dies and collapses it heats back up because all the gases pack together into a
smaller star, like a white dwarf and it gets hot again for a short time. Giant stars get hotter until they explode in a
supernova. A clue to the colors of stars is to think about a £lame. The hottest part of the flame is the blue part,
then yellow and then red.
Game: Version One: Divide the kids into two groups. Have one group stand up in a line facing the other
group who are sitting down. The standing kids hold up the star circles. (Give one star per child if you only have
7 in the group, but put two each on the giant stars as needed when there are more kids, so every kid has a pan in
holding a star.) The sitting kids are astronomers. Point out that scientists make guesses about things and then
work to get more information to find out if their guesses are right or 'Wrong. :Have the astronomers tty to put
the stars into a line in order of temperature. Then tell them their scien~c experiments show that blue stars are
hotter than other colors and large stars are hotter than small stars, but red stars are the coolest because they are
the oldest ones. Use the Temperature Chart to help them put the stars in order. Three cheers for the famous
astronomers! Then, if there is time, have the two groups switch so that the astronomers become stars and vice
versa. This time do the same thing but putting them in order of brightness. Remind them that in brightness,
large stars are brighter than smaller stars and hot stars are brighter than cooler stars. Use the Color Chan to help
them get it right after they have tried to guess. Their scientific experiments have answered their questions again.
Hooray for the famous astronomers!
V~Ision Two: Do this the same way as ve~.ion one, except that the kids are all astronomers and stars are laid out
on the floor in the order they think is hottest to coolest, then brightest to least bright. "
U Temperature chart: ,
Blue Supergiant Largest, hottest young star
These are the most massive stars, burning fastest and only living for a few
million years. They become red supergiants and can become supernovas
when they collapse, and then might become so dense that their gravity
pulls in everything close to them, becoming a black hole.
Blue Giant Second largest, very hot young star
Very massive stars that only live for a few million years, these also become
red supergiants that are slightly smaller but instead of exploding when
they die, they become dense neutron stars.
White Dwarf Old dying star that heats back up just before it goes out.
A white dwarf began as a medium or small star, became a red giant, and
then collapsed, concentrating its energy into a hot old star at the very end.
Yellow Sun Medium hot medium size young star
These are very stable stars that can live for about 10 billion years. When
they get old they become red giants and then a white dwarf.
Red Supergiant An old very large blue star that has cooled some from burning up most of its fuel.
These big old stars are the ones most likely to explode in a supernova.
Red Giant An old yellow star that has cooled and expanded out, having less density and less
gravity. These are most likely to become white dwarfs when they collapse
and die.
RedDwarf The smallest, coolest star.
A star with barely enough fuel and mass to have a nuclear reaction and be
u called a star at all. They can live for many billions of years because they
bum very slowly.
Brightness chart:
Blue Supergiant Largest, hottest young star
Size matters in brightness, and hotter stars are brighter than cooler stars o n
the same size. Rigel is an example of a blue supergiant.
Red Supergiant Largest old star
Size matters! Betelgeuse is an example of a red supergiant.
Blue Giant Second largest very hot young star

Red Giant Second largest old star

Yellow Sun Yellow stars like our sun are in the middle both in heat and brightness
Why is the sun so much brighter to people here on earth? Qoseness also
matters. Yellow stars like our sun are in the middle for brightness, but
our sun is actually 25 times brighter than the brightest star because it is so
close to us.
Red Dwarf A very small, cool star

White Dwarf These are very small, dying stars. They are pretty hot, but not very bright.
}facts: About oor Solar System, the Galaxy
and the Universe
""eed of Light 186,000 miles per second

Uht Year the dis.tance light travels in one year. The speed of light
times the nll1D:ber of seconds in one year:
186,000 miles/sec X 31,449,600 sec = 1 light year
or roughly 6 trillion miles or 6,000,000,000,000 miles!

Our Solar System

The solar system consists of one star, nine planets, more than sixty-two moons, several
thousand asteroids, and over one thousand comets.
The Sun is approximately 93 million miles away, has a diameter of 860,000 miles and a
rotational period of 24 to 35 days, depending on latitude from the equator.
Planet Light distance Diameter Rotation Number of
from SUD ,!Km} Period Moons
Mercury 3 min.· 4,878 59 days -0
Venus 6 min. 12,104 243 days 0
Earth 8 min. 12,756 23 hrs. 56 min. 1
Mars 13 min. 6,787 24 hrs. 37 min. 2
Jupiter. 43 min. 142,796 9 hrs. 53 min. 16
Saturn 1 hr. 19 min. 120,000 10 hrs. 40 min. 18
Uranus 2 hrs. 40 min 52,142 17hrs.14min 15
Neptune 4 hrs. 10 min 49,528 16 hrs. 3 min 8
U Pluto 5 hrs. 28 min 2,300 6 days 9hrs 17 min 1
Our Galaxy: The Milky Way
Our galaxy contains 100,000,000,000 stars; one if which is our sun. The galaxy rotates
around a central point once every 220,000,000 years
Light distance Diameter Temperature
Star from Earth !Km} iEl
sun "'8min 1,391,785 10,000
Nearest star (besides Sun) 4 years 1,448,100 , 10,000
Smallest known star 50 years 6,436 50,000
Largest known star 500 years 482,700,000 5,000
Hottest star 100,000
Coolest star 3,000
The Universe
More than 100,000,000,000 galaxies like the Milky way are within range of the largest
telescopes on Earth, and an unknown number beyond.
Galaxy Light distance to Earth
Andromeda (closest galaxy) 2,000,000 years
u Farthest Observed Galaxy >12,000,000,000 years
Present theory estimates the age of the universe to be 15 Billion years.
Background: The Planets I

• Charting the Planets • ..

un..." ..

• •••
Distances In above graphic are not drawn to scale.

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1. Mean Distance
From Sun
57.9 108.2 149.6 227.9 778.3 1.427 2,871 4,497 5,914
(Millions of

2. Period of 88 224.7 365.3 687 11.86 29.46 84 165 248

Revolution days days days days years years years years y~ars

3. Equatorial
Diameter 4,880 12,100 12,756 6,794 143,200 120,000 51,800 49,528 -2,330

4. Atmosphere Helium Hydrogen

Virtually Carbon Nitrogen Carbon Hydrogen Hydrogen Methane
(Main Hydrogen Helium
None Dioxide Oxygen Dioxide Helium Helium +1
Methane Methane

5. Moons 0 0 1 2 16 18 15 8 1

6. Rings 3 1,000 (?) 11 4

° 0 0 0
7. Inclination of 70 3.4 0 00 1.90 1.30 2.5 0 0.8 0 1.80 17.1°
Orbit to Ecliptic

8. Eccentricity of .206 .007 .017 .093 .048 .056 .046 .009 .248
6 days
9. Rotation Period 59 days 243 days 23 hours 24 hours 9 hours 10 hours 17.2 hours 16 hours 9 hours
RtItIOgmCle 56 min. 37 min. 55 min. 40 min. Retrograde 7 min. 18 min.

10. Inclination of 120°

Near 00 1n.2° 23° 27' 25° 12' 3 0 5' 26 0 44' 970 55' 28° 48'

1. Nebula Poster: Stars are "born" in huge swirling nebulae in space. Lumps in
nebulae attract dust l?y their gravity. The spinning globule grows bigger and
.. 1 bigger until it collapses under its own weight. The center becomes hotter and
more dense. The heat flows from the center and glows red.

2. Cross Section of the Sun Poster: Several millions of years later, the inside
temperature of the star reaches 18 million degrees F.-" the temperature at which
nuclear fusion occurs. Groups of four hydrogen nuclei are fused into one helium
nuclei. This releases huge amounts of energy. Einstein described the energy
released as E=MC . (E=energy released M=mass lost C=speed of light).

3. Life Cycle of a Solar Type Star Poster: Our sun is about 5 billion years old.
Its formation took about 30 million years. The sun. should continue for about 5
million more years.
Solar-type stars are born in nebulae. The progress through the "main
sequence" of star life-very hot at first, then they begin to use up their fuel and
become cooler. Stars "die" when their fuel is finally used up. The stars swells
and grows red. These are "red giants". Our sun will be~ome a red giant in about
5 billion more years. It will swell out past Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars~ It
will eventually collapse to a dense Star about the size of Earth called a "white
dwarf". When it uses up all of its energy it will become a ''black dwarf"..

4. Life Cycle of a Massive Star Poster: Massive stars begin life just as solar stars
do. They go through the same main sequence as the solar-type stars, but when
. they reach the "red giant" stage they are extremely large. Betelgeuse, the massive
red star we see in the constellation Orion, is so large that millions of stars the size
of our sun could fit in it. Because the massive red gi$lnts are so large, they
undergo more expansion and contraction as they die. This makes their core
temperature hotter and increases the pressure and density of the star. Their
nuclear explosions create elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. After
the fusion of iron occurs, they finally collapse. Some explode violently. These are
called "super novas" . ( Novas are stars that may temporarily blaze millions of
times brighter than usual. Novas keep their form and most of their substance
after their outburst and may flare again without warning.) Supernovas may
shine like millions of suns.
Supernovas produce the heaviest elements, such as silver, gold and
uranium. A supernova hurls materials far out into space, where they may
contribute to the formation of new stars and planets. After its death, a supernova
may leave a dense corpse, called a neutron star , which is about 10 miles wide.
Pulsars are neutron stars which emit regular radio signals. Pulsars seem to be
magnetized neutron stars that rotate rapidly.
A neutron star may continue to collapse and form a tiny superdense dead
star called a ''black hole". The gravity of a black hole is so strong that nothing,
not even light, can escape it.
5. Galaxies Poster: For each star we can see with the z:W<ed eye, there are
thousands more we can't see. Stars are arranged in galaxies. Galaxies are gas,
dust, and a group of millions or billions of stars held together by the force of
Astronomers believe there may be as many as 100 billion galaxies, each
containing as many as 100 billion stars.
Galaxies occur in three basic shapes: spiral, elliptical, and·irregular.
Our solar system belongs to the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is a
spiral galaxy. Stars in the Milky Way, including our sun and its planets, are
revolving in our galaxy and moving through space at ~5,OOO miles per hour.

6. Constellation Poster: Constellations are groups of stars which seem to make

pictures in the night sky. Ancient peoples made up stories about pictures they
saw in the sky and named them after animals or heroes and heroines in their
The Ancient Greeks had a system of religion utilizing "multiple deities" .
'These gods and goddesses were believed to control natural phenomena such as
sun rise and set, seasons, and water.. The gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece
lived on Mount Olympus and meddled in the lives of people on Earth. Many of
the stories of the constellations come from the mythology of Ancient Greece. . ., (',
This picture shows the constellation Orion. Orion was a great hunter in
Greek mythology. Though the constellations look flat when we see them from
Earth, the stars in the constellations are actually thousands of light years away
from each other.

, ., _ .... '. '."

: "'.' ! '.. ~ '_.'. . '., • ~ . ',' \ _ o..L •• -. _.~ • ": ~ ~ _ '.
• \.' I •• , .:' ..
u An Intergalactic Invitation
Invite beings /rom ere's away to get your kids written part of the invitation is on the in-
other planets to a party
on Earth.

thinking about the Earth's
position in the galaxy. First
use the background infor-
mation on pages 3-6 and the "Cosmic
side. Then have them jazz up the outsides
of their invitations with some cosmic
Explain what a galaxy Facts" (see right) to review galaxies and
. is and describe the Cosmic' Facts
Milky Way Galaxy. Dis- light-years. Then explain that our sun is • Ught travels at a speed of 186,282
cuss the Earth's loca- just one of hundreds of billions of stars in miles (299,792 km) per second.
tion within the Milky our Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way is a
Way Galaxy. spiral galaxy, and our solar system (the • A light-year is the distance light can
sun and its nine known planets) is located travel in a year, which is 6 trillion miles
Ages: (10 trillion km).
Primary and in one .of its spiral arms (see diagram).
Intermediate Earth is the third planet from the sun. • From our solar system, it's about
. Now make copies of the invitaOOh on 30,000 light-years to the center of the
Materials: page 15 and give one to each person to fill Milky Way.
• copies 0/ page 15 in. Tell your kids to pretend they're
• ~arkers or crayons • The Milky Way is about 100,000
throwing a party and that creatures from light-years across and is very flat.
Subject: outer space are invited. (See "Answers to
Science Earth Directions" at the end of the activ-
Answers to Earth Directions:
11:.~;,;;~.~;';;i?::;;~:· ity.) When all the kids are finished, have "Look for a spiral-shaped galaxy. Our solar system is in
Our SOla~rsyste~"""""~>::.if:.I:?"';';',?:~i;.~~i! ,them fold the page in half so that the one of the galaxy's arms. There are nine planets circling
:.-,r:~~, . '." • ..,...;"".'.~.J"".:;"~~•• •# our star, which we call the sun. We are planet number
......~ ••"lff'~ ~/.7'.:'.V~;;i:;l~. :.-
.." "
w~:. .,. ·~~~b~:~II." J~~,~~!"" three."
U ".&,tC1••
.:!v,,:. "'~!4~;.;,.·~ ~:.i;""Jo}1 .,,:'\~'
.·:5~~i~'I:'~~i:;·~:1.~j)\I."·I!"'\+" The Milky Way Galaxy

Birth and Death of a Star

Listen to a story about tars have incredible life To prepare for this star journey, you

the life cycle 0/ a star. spans. It may take two mil- will need to record some music to play
lion years for a star to form, while you read the story below. (Sug-
Objective: and then the star may bum gested selections are listed in the script)
Describe the stages in for thousands of millions of years before it When you're ready to start the activity,
the life 0/ a star.
dies. In this activity your group can try to have the children lie down on the floor
Ages: imagine what happens during the life of a and close their eyes. Tell them they must
Intermediate star as they listen to a very special story. remain silent as they listen to the story.
• music (see sugges-
tions in activity)
• copies 0/ page 18 (Begin by playing some quiet, eerie mu- Feel how light you are-lighter than a
• crayons or markers sic, such as "Sonic Seasonings-Winter" feather, lighter than air. Your body
Subject: by W. Carlos. Keep the music at a low spreads out for thousands of miles into
SC,ience volume as you read.) space. You are a huge cl9Ud, drifting and
Imagine that you are very cold-much floating in darkness. (Put on some light
colder than ice. Your body is shapeles~ dance music such as D'ebussy's
u cloud of gases mixed with dust You are
drifting in darkness. All around you it is
"Snowflakes Are Dandng," and continue
to read.)
dark, cold, and empty. There is no heat. All the gases that make up your cloud
Only darkness and freezing cold. Most of are themselves made up of tiny particles
your cloud is made of light gases, such as called atoms. And all the atoms are spin-
hydrogen and helium (the same gas ning very fast, moving constantly and
that makes balloons float high in the sky). pulling on each other with the force of
gravity. Imagine those billions of tiny inside you. The light you give off shines
atoms in your body, wiggling, jerking, and out through your hazy ou.ter layers of
tugging on each other like magnets. You cooler gases. You are now a protostar.
u feel yourself gradually shrinking as the
particles inside you pull closer and closer
Around you other protostars are begin-
ning to glow too.
together. Your cloud is now getting . You keep heating up more and more.
thicker, heavier, and more solid. Your The fire in your center has reached 10
edges are curving into a round shape. You million degrees and nuclear reactions are
have slowly become a giant dark ball. Feel occurring inside your core. Your dim red
how round and even you are. glow has changed into a bright yellow
Your surface keeps shrinking and pulls light. You are now a star. Every reaction is
in tighter and tighter as you start to an explosion that releases energy in the
spin-slowly at first, then faster and faster. form of heat and light. You are like a huge
Now you are twirling like a top and speed- nuclear bomb. Imagine the blasts
ing through space at 10 miles per second. happening deep inside your body-like
billions of bursting balloons. The ex-
plosions ram against yqur outer layers,
which are still squeezing in. Feel the
tension-the fire in your center growing,
straining to burst, while your outer walls
press in. This push and pull keeps you the
same size for millions of years.
You are now hotter than you've ever
been-thousands of degrees on your sur-
face and mUlions of degrees in your core.
The gases that make up your body are
boiling like hot lava erupting from a
volcano. Feel the bubbles welling up from
deep inside you. Jets of burning gases
shoot up from your surface like huge
geysers. Stretch out your arms-they are
fiery arms that reach way out into space.
Imagine the flames stretching away from
you. Tremendous .hot winds are blowing
across your surface like desert hurricanes,
only much, much hotter and wilder.
There are other baIls of gas and dust The explosions have changed and they
mOving around you in space. Feel your are pushing so hard on the outer layers of
gravity pulling on them and their gravity your body that your wallS can't hold them
pulling on you. Some· of these baIls will, back. You begin to swell. Feel yourself
like you, become stars. Smaller ones may growing larger and larger. You are swell-
become planets and maybe you will ing up like a giant balloon. For the first
become their sun. But you are not a star time in millions of years there is more
'yet You are still very dark and are just space for your gases and so the particles in
beginning to heat lip. (Play some upbeat, your body start to move apart. As you
rhythmic music such as "Infernal Dance of grow, you begin to get cooler. Your hot
King Kashchei," part of Stravinsky's Fire- yellow light cools to red and you grow 100
bird Suite.) times bigger than you were. You are now
As your round body of gases and dust a red giant star-l 0,000 million years old.
continues to shrink, your insides continue. As a red giant, you keep changing all
u to get hotter and hotter. The gas in your the time. Even though your outer layers
center is being squeezed tighter and are cooler than they've been in millions of
tighter. Your core is getting so hot that you years, violent nuclear reactions keep
begin to glow with a dim red light You are erupting inside you-blOwing off whole
red hot Feel the fUrnace of glowing coals layers of your outer body. As you use up
• ~ 'f, '-'-\~:~~~~/~)';'.'I~':.~i~,;~lt:;';:-i:~
- .-. -.~,

~_·_..ul_ ...___ -...

your fuel, you begin to shrink-getting star. (Make music slowly fade out.)
smaller and smaller. Your molecules At the close of the story, pass out copies
become so tightly packed together that of page 18. Tell the kids that the story de-
one teaspoon of you would weigh as scribed the life cycle of a medium-sized
much as an elephant does on Earth! (Put . star such as our sun. Then explain that
on some slower music again, such as there are many other types of stars, all of
"Carnival of th~ Animals" by Saint-Saens, which go through their own life cycles.
and continue to read.) Have the kids refer to their sheets as you
You are .now very, very, very heavy. discuss star life cycles using the informa-
With no more fuel to bum you slowly cool tion below. (The numbers in parentheses
down and become very dim.' You no refer to the pictures on page lB.) After-
longer have a source of heat or light. You ward have the kids color the different
are getting cooler, cooler, cooler. Now stages in the stars' life cycles. (Encourage
you are completely cold ... a cold, dark the kids to use the appropriate colors for
sphere drifting in space. You are a dead blue, red, or yellow stars.) .


All stars are born in vast clouds of gas them thousands of times larger than they
and dust called nebulae (1). As a nebula once ·were. When these red giants finally
collapses, the gas and dust it contains are use up their energy, they begin to shrink
pulled into many spinning balls, or pro- until they become small, dense white
u tostars (2). Gravity squeezes each pro-
tostar until it becomes so hot that nuclear
dwarfs (6). White dwarfs shine with a dim
light and gradually cool for billions of years
reactions occur-and when this happens until they are cold, black spheres called
a star is born. Once a protostar has black dwarfs (7).
become a star, it will bum for millions or Some of the most massive stars in the
sometimes billions of years (depending on universe are the blue giants (B). These
how massive the star is when it's born). stars are about 35 times more massive
A star with a very small mass-just than our sun and millions of degrees hot-
enough to start nuclear reactions-shines ter. They use up their. energy faster than
with a reddish glow. These small, reddish any other type of star and often bum for
stars are called red dwarfs (3). Because only a few million years.
red dwarfs bum up their hydrogen fuel so Once a blue giant has used up all of its
slowly, they may bum for billions of years fuel, it puffs up into. a huge red supergiant
before their energy is used up. (9), which collapses and then expands in
Medium-sized stars, such as our sun (4) an enormous explosion called a su-
and the star in the story, are about ten pernova (10). The gas and dust spewed
times more massive and much hotter than into space by a supernova may form new
red dwarfs. They shine with a yellOWish stars and planets.
glow. (Astronomers can usually tell how During a supernova, a star becomes
hot a star is by looking at its color. Cooler brighter than it ever was before. Its core
stars are reddish-orange, warmer stars are collapses and it begins to shrink. Very
yellow, and the hottest stars are bluish- massive blue giants can become so dense
white.) Medium-sized stars bum up their as they shrink that their gravity pulls
u fuel faster than red dwarfs and usually live
only for about ten billion years.
everything into them, and nothing-not
even light-can escape. They become
When red dwarfs and medium-sized black holes (11). Less massive blue giants
yellow stars die, they often follow the can explode and collapse into spinning
Same path. First they use up their core dense spheres called neutron stars (12).
fuel, which causes them to collapse. This Neutron stars are so dense that a teaspoon
triggers a final burst of energy and they of their matter would weigh as much as
puff up into huge red qiants (S)-makina 1(l nnn c!11'1"\o~ ..... I,........ 1
U· Acamar AKE-uh-mar Gemini GEM-in-eye (or, GEM-in-knee)
Achemar AKE-er-nar
Hadar HAD-er
Adhara add-DARE-ah
Hamal HAM-el
AlNair al-NARR
Hyades HI-ad-eez
Albireo al-BURR-ee-oh
Alcor AL-core Kaus Australis KOSS-oss-TRAY-lisa
Aldebaran al-DEBB-uh-ran Kochab KOE-kab
Alcyone al-SIGH-oh-nee
Alderamin al-DARE-uh-min Lacerta la-SIR-tah
Algenib al-JEE-nib Lapus LEE-puss
Algol AL-gall Libra LYE-bra (or, LEE-bra)
Alioth ALLEY-oth Lupus LEW-puss
Alkaid al-KADE Lyra LYE-rah
Almach AL-mack Markab MAR-keb
Alnllam AL-nih-Iam Megrez ME-grez
Alnitak AL-nih-tack Menkar MEN-kar
Alpha Centauri AL-fah-sent-TOE-rye Menkalinan men-KAL-in-nan
Alphecca al-FECK-ah Menkent MEN-kent
Alpheratz al-FEE-rats Merak ME-rack
Altair al-TAlR Mintaka min-TACK-uh
Andromeda an-DROM-eh-dah Mira MY-rah
Antares an-T AlR-eez Mirfak MURR-fak
Aquarius ack-QUAlR-ee-us Mirzan MURR-zan
Aqulla ACK-will-uh Mizar MY-zar
Arcturus ark-TOO-russ Monocerous mon-OSS-err-us
Aries A-rih-eez
Auriga ol-EYE-gab Nunki NUN-key
Avior ah-vee-OR Ophiuchus off-ih-YOU-kuss
Orion oh-RYE-un
Bellatrix bell-LAY-triJt
Betelgeuse BET-el-jews Pegasus PEG-uh-suss
Bootes bow-OH-teez Perseus PURR-see-us (or, PURR-suss)
Phact fact
Canes Venatici KAY-neez ven-AT-iss-si Phecda FECK-dah
Canis Major KAY-niss MAY-jer Pisces PIE-sees
Canis Minor KAY-niss My-ner Pisces Austrinus PIE-sees oss-TRY-nus
Canopus can-OH-puss Pleiades PLEE-ah-deez
Capella kah-PELL-ah Polaris pole-AlR-iss
Caph kaff Pollux PAW-lux
Carina ka-RYE-nab (or, ka-REE-nah) Procyon PRQ.see-on
Castor KASS-ter Rasalgethi ras-el-GEE-thee
Cassiopeia kass-see-oh-PEE-ab Rasalhague ras-el-haig-we
Centaurus sen-TOR-us Rigel RYE-jell
Cepheus SEE-fee-us (or, SEE-fus)
Cetus SEE-tus Sabik SAY-bilt
Coma Berenices KOH-mah Bear-en EYE-sees Sadr sadder
Cor Caroll kor-CARE-oh-lie Sagitta sah.JIT-tah
Corona Borealis kor-OH-nah bo-ree-ALICE Sagittarius saj-ih-T AlR-ee-us
Corvus CORE-vus Saiph saw-eef (or, safe)
Cygnus SIG-nus Scheadar SHED-durr
Scheat SHEE-at
Delphinus dell-FINE-us Scorpius SKOR-pih-us
Delta Cephei DELL-ta-SEE-(fee-eye Shaula SHAW-lah
Deneb DEN-ebb Scutum SKEW-tum
Denebola den-NEB-oh-lah Sirius SEER-ee-us
Diphda DIFF-dah Spica SPY-ka
Draco' DRAY-ko Tarazed TAR-uh-zed
Dschubba JEW-bah TaUIUS TOR-russ
Dubhe DO-be Thuban THEW-ban
Eltanin el-TAY-nin Vega VEE-gab (or, V AY-gab)
Elnath e1-NATH Virgo VURR-go
Enif ENN-if Vulpecula vul-PECK-you-lah
Equuleus ek-KWOQ.lee-us Wezen WEE-zen
Vf Eridanus
Zubenelgenubi . zoo-ben-ell-jen-NEW-bee
Zubeneschemali zoo-ben-ess-sha-MAY-lee

This surge in interest in th.e
universe is only partly due to
spacecraft explorations beyond this
planet. Recent theoretical evidence
suggesting that mankind is not the
- n
only intelligent species in the
universe, and that life itself is an

integral part of the cosmic fabric, STARS REMAIN ..-=--
has made astronomy much more • Put the EARTH ~TES •••
than the esoteric study it was
popularly pictured as back in the

\ of

In those days amateur

astronomers scanning the night " ..
with binoculars or homebuilt
telescopes were considered by •
friends and relatives to have a
bizarre interest that could barely be
dignified with the description
"hobby. " Today, that's all changed.
Whether you have a telescope or
\ •

not, exploring the universe (rom
your backyard or a rural retreat is MOVE IN OPPOSITE- DIRECTION ..
true involvement with the cosmos
that harbors our own origins.
'This book is roughly divided
into two parts: first, a detailed
step-by-step guide to the night sky 0"
starting with the assumption that
you can locate the Big Dipper but
not much else. (If you are beyond
this stage you may want to skim
through the first few pages.) ,
The second part of the book
consists of a catalog and descrip-
tions of the finest objects in the
sky for small telescopes. Here the
emphasis is on how to find them
and what they look like.
Even if you don't have a
telescope, you may have binoculars.
Many of the objects can be
glimpsed-and a few are very well
seen-with binoculars. We will
specify what types of instruments
are best for various objects.
Enter then, the universe of suns
of all sizes and colors, galaxies with
pinwheeling arms, and clusters
swarming with stars still wreathed
in the swirling clouds of gas and
dust that incubated their nuclear
fires. All can be found once you
know where to look. It's enjoyable
and rewarding and all you need to
gPt started are your eyes and a
cloudless night sky.

Dense iron and nickel core sur- Almost no atmosphere. Traces of
rounded by rock. Surface covered helium, hydrogen, and oxygen
with craters, smooth lava plains, and gases.
scarps (long steep cliffs).

VENUS 67 mUllon 7520 miles Iron and nickel core'surrounded by' . ... -Very dense carbon dioxide"'-
miles (12,100" rock. Surface covered with flat rocks, .. ' ·atmosphere. ,Planet surrounded by
. (108mU· Ian) rolling h1lls,.and mountains. thlCkstilfuric.add clouds. .
lion km) .'.

EARTH 93 million 7920 miles Iron and nickel core surrounded by Mostly nitrogen and oxygen, with 24 hours
miles (12,750 rock. Three-quarters of rocky surface traces of other gases. 365 days
(150 mil- km) covered with water.

'~:caibon Oioxid~ atmOsphere.

MARS"· Iron core surrounded by. rock. Sur~
'face covered.with reddish.rocks, .•;.;: ;:.~~.~~:~f~~~~'. .,.
.. canyons, craters, aridmo~tains. ,:: ...
caps of irozen:CarbOnjiloxiCie .'.':" .
~~ :':'," '.
. ·andwater.·
,';:., .. ..' ··: :,' ::' \
. ,t.',.·.:' . . ,',".f." ,,: ':

Small rocky core surrounded by Layers of brightly colored clouds

metallic and liquid hydrogen. Gaseous made up mostly of hydrogen. There
surface. are also small amounts of helium,
methane, and ammonia.

SATURN 890 million ': " HydrOge~'~d traces'ofhellum, .

miles " .. . methane,. and crystallized ammo..

URANUS 1780 mll- 31,570 Core of rock and ice surrounded by Hydrogen, helium, and traces of 13-24 hours
lion miles miles both liquid and gaseous hydrogen. other gases. Methane gives 84 years
23 (2870 mil-
Gaseous surface. atmosphere a greenish tint

NEPTUNE 2790 mil· 30,200 Core of rock and ice surrounded by Hydrogen, helium, and methane
lion miles miles both liquid and gaseous hydrogen. gases. Atmosphere is a bluish color.
(4500mfl· (48,600
'\}' lion krn) krn)
Gaseous surface.

PLUTO 3660 mil- 1900 miles Composition of core unknown. Sur- Very thin methane atmosphere.
lion miles (3060 krn) face covered with methane ice.
2 (5900
million km)

Caloris Basin, a crater on Mercury that was

blasted out by a huge asteroid, is wider than the
distance between New York City and San

. :.', People.once.thoughtVenus might be covered'

. ~;:.·with·lustl:gardensand exotic life·fonns.Butas- .
'. tronomers'havediscovered,that it!s.teaIly a harsh
:~<~plane~ ~here .thunder booms ~~d lightning flash~
:~: a1mostco~@.',· '. " ....... r " .. ': >

Each year, the Earth's continents "drift" a dis-

tance of between V2 and 4 Inches (1.3-10 em).
At this rate of travel, Australia could bump into
Asia in another 50 million years.

. -. -,'

-:.::; :~>·t:,-._...,·" ".:": :!-t ~<:',~'
. ,.,'J.'.(

Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a three-century old

storm, could swallow three Earths.

5 _3300 F (-20l0 C) .93 On Uranus, Winter and summer each last 21

Earth years. And night and day can each last as
long as 42 Earth years.

-3060 F (-188" C) 1.2' Even If people could stand the conditlonson

Neptune, nobody would live to be a year old.
That's because one year on Neptune is equal to
165 years on Earth.

.03? At one time. Pluto may have been one of Nep-

tune's moons.

Planetarium Program Description Outline &: Script

* Introduction (approx. 10-15 minutes)

What is a planetaruim? Why do we have planetariums? What are the scientists
who study the stars, moons, planets, etc. called?

People have been curious about the stars for thousands of years.
What kinds of things do you think the first Astronomers may have thought
about the stars?
-thought stars were balls of fire burning in the sky
-made up stories about stars in the sky- to make order out'of chaos
After studying the stars people used them for many things, ie.: as road maps, the
first picture books, as calendars

There are still many aspects of astronomy that are mysterious, but we have
solved many of the unknowns of earlier days. FOR EXample...
Catesories of Stars
-colors &: sizes: a star's color depends on its temperature
-RED= coolest (approx. 3,5000 degrees F)
&: smallest star - called RED DWARFS
-a star with a ve.ry smaU ~ass- just enough to start nuclear reactions
-bum up their hydrogen fuel so slowly, may bum for millions of years
before their energy is used up
·u -YELLOW= medium temperatures and sizes (approx. 5,5000 degrees F)
-10 times more massive and much hotter than red dwarfs
-bum up fuels faster than red dwarfs and usually live only for about 10
billion years
-is a yellow star, it is the nearest star to E~ - 93 million miles .
away 9 VV\ I'll t>1s ,'-"- I "rlAJ-sp~~d .
-astronomers say that our sun is middle sized, middle temperature
and middle- aged!

-BLUE=hottest (approx.l0,OOO degrees F)

. most massive are blue giants, 35 times more massive than our sun
-use up their energy faster than any other type of star and often bum for
only a few million years

-magnitude! brightness:
- Hipparcus, Greek astronmomer from 2nd century B.C., cataloged 1,000
stars and developed 6 categories of brightness we still use this system
1st magnitude= brightest stars 6th magnitued = faintest stars
Sirius = -1.5
Sun = -27
BUT... What is a star?·
-all stars are ''born'' in vast clouds of gas and dust called nebulae, as a nebula
collapses~ the gas and dust it contains are pulled into many spinning balls, or
rr- -
-most stars are made of hydrogen and helium and some have carbon in them too
(explain that gases arEfelements that are found in nature and are invisible, helium
is what is put inside of balloons to make them float)
-as gravity squeez~:tkr protostar becomes denser and denser and hotter and
hotter (reaching l8,iIB aegrees F) as all these gases come together all the teeny
tiny atoms within the gases also come together; when this happens, nuclear
fusion occurs AND A STAR IS BORN (explain that nuclear reactors are places
where power is generated and can create the power for a whole city, this energy .
is created by splitting atoms)
-this nuclear fusion is what causes the brightness of a star

Life Cycle of a STAR


.. "
i til


Color, Size and Temperature
u In most cases, the bigger and hotter a star is, the brighter it appears. A star's
brightness is called its apparent magnitude. Astonomers assign numbers to stars based on
their apparent magnitude. "The lower the number, the brighter the star appears. The sun
has an apparent magnitude of -26.7. Sirius, the brightest star we can see without a
telescope, has an apparent magnitude of -1.5. The stars which appear faintest have an
apparent magnitude of +6. .
A star's color shows how hot it is. The order of temperature of stars is from hottest
to coolest: ,
Blue Supergiant 10,000 F
Blue Giant
White Dwarf
Yellow Sun 5,500 F
Red Supergiant
Red Giant 3,500 F
Red Dwarf
Star Order of Brightness
u Blue Supergiant
Red Supergiant
Blue Giant
Red Giant
Yellow Star
Red Dwarf
White Dwarf

Some interesting star facts:

. Red dwarfs have a very small mass-just enough to start a nuclear reaction. They
bum fuel slowly and may bum for billions of years.
.. Medium sized stars tIike our Sun) are lOx as massive and much hotter than red
dwarfs. They bum fuel faster and usually last only about 10 billion years.
Red dwarfs and medium stars become red giants and then white dwarfs. They then
cool for millions of years and become black dwarfs.
Blue giants are "the most massive stars. They are 35x bigger than our sun and
millions of degrees hotter. Blue giants use up energy fastest and often last for only a few
million years. Blue giants become red supergiants and often explode in a supernova. As a
supernova, a star becomes brighter than ever before, then the core collapses and shrinks.
Very massive blue giants can become so dense that their gravity pulls everything into them-
these become "black holes". Less massive blue giants can explode and collapse into dense
spinning spheres called "neutron stars".,


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continued A-om OIIcemtJer f.
A partW IOIer ecIJpIo II visible
for mud! of N America, as far
northeast al Long Island and Use this scale to measure angular distances between objects on diagrams below.
lOUIhwestem New England.
From the West Coast Of the
U.S., the panlal eclipse begins
around noon PST and II over
r 10- 20-
within an hour or two. But as
seen from east of long ~ W,
SUndoy, December 2
Mondo--y-Dec 3: Si1Um
the event starts late In the Capella Sat Dec " morning and evening:
aftomoon and the view of the • ~ Mondey Dec 3 e
• Kids three hours after sunset at opposition, up all night. Moon shown In first two boxes
eclipse II terminated by &Unset. Hyades 30 minutes before .unrbo: At mag -4.4, Saturn outshines of this row. Moon rises within
Do not obaerve tho SuA /
GEMINI AURIGA • Can you spot Venua lullt nearby Aldebaran by nearty one one hour sher sunset this evening,
directly, either with unaided Saturn.. risen In ESE? It gets closcr mag. RIngs 2e- from edgc-on. 13"' lower leh of Saturn.
cyo or through binoculars or a
telescope. Instead, tab a small Aldebaran to Sun and harder to see
with each passing day. Tucaday Dec 4,
mirror and cover up most of its Dec 1-3, o 8cJndey Dec 2 \,
surface with paper or masking one hour TAURUS ono hour before .unriM
tape. Use the uncovered portion Evening: Northommoat DecH,
of the mirror to reflect an Image befof'o Moon 0
6U«- MoonSaturday10· Moon rises about ,,, hours 11'hours
of the eclipsed Sun onto a wall sunrise Pollux Calnor
,,~ ehers aunscrt. About half an before .unriM
or ceiling of a room. UsIng thll
Ilmple method, seversl oeoDIe ORION hour leter, watch for Jupiter SICICLI
• Betelgeu80 Saturday,
Ilmultaneouaty can follOw the o Dec rising to Moon's lower leh. • Dura

variousl1ag•• of tho IOlar Moon will paat! closely N 'Q&
eclJpae In complete ttfety. For ORION '0 SundayZ of Jupiter In Monday's • Jupiter I Denebola
more Infunnlltlon on the eclipse
Including tlmel for various
• Saturn Castor
Betelgeuse predawn hours. Soo flrI1 • • IUon'ltlllll lalit Otr •
c:ltlcs, check the web site:

nina planets: Smm Is

low In ENE: to E at dusk. climb-
-'~ ~


WNW Pollux


box In this row. e Procyon

Look WSW to W.
Look high In S.

I' 1"0 higher as month progresses. Dec9& 10, SUndaYIWednesdaYDeC 12. ThuridaY-DeC 13, Night of Thursday, ~ New Moon 3:47 p.m. EST Friday Dec 14. Solar SatUrday Dec 15.
/ Satum Is tho bright -star· In one hour, b. Dec 9 25 minutes 25 minutes before IUnriao December 13: ~ eclipse: Center of the Moon's shadow, where an 25 minutes altar .unset
Taurul, 4· from Aldebaran and altar \ before .unrbo: Gemlnld metoora annular or -ring- eclipse can be seen, first touches
over a magnltudo brighter. L. Earth at sunrise in Pacific Occan near lat 30- N lust W Binoc:ufaJs help
.unMt Gemma Use binoculars Moon Don'1mlso near peale. Best tlmo
Moon COVIfS Satum night 01 for Venus. Frlday'a to loolc 10 p.m.-6 a.m. of Inri Date Line. Tracking loutheastward, tho path of spot thin Moon
1bun-Fd Dec 27-28: Saturn • zeta annublmy paaseslult S of HawaII. resulting In a deep In bright twilight.
solar eclipse: local time. when radlan1,

disappears behind Moon's partial eclipse there around 9:25 a.m. local time. 'tWo
leading dark edge before 9 pm. see leh margin. Old noar Castor, Is high hours later, the center of the luner shadow dipa just S
In Hawall,lust after midnight Monday~
in the sky. Meteors
PST from West Coast, and Dec 10 L. Moon from this shower appear of the Equator near long 12r W. Then it tums nonh- Young
• Spica eastward to cross Costa Rica and Nicaragua and enter Moon
around 4 a.m. EST from East
Coast. For times for various
cities, see the web site
InSE ESE Venus ~
I .... d ESI: f I ... __
onus.... s..e J&lower than those in
the Caribbean Sea, where It leaves Earth at sunset
near long 16.1- W. lat 14.r N. continued In Id mll'(Jln.
/' WSN
......-(,..1.""0-. a.........L....
bnp;l/wyiw lynaT.
Dec 19-21, 11' hours after IUnaot FrI Doc 21: SOlitlee2:2' p.m. EST. Sat Dec 22: Look for Firl1 Quaner Moon about so- (I' circle) leh of
or;cuttatfool comBO',
=no~c:!e,r~:n'= of
JTuelday 18
• Alpha
'8eUI Winter begina in Earth's N hemisphere,
, Alpha D
setting Sun. Note Moon fa balf lIIumlnatt:td. Excellent In binoculars!
LlFri21 • lambda Aqr Aqrsummer in tho southern.
visibility of this event acrosa
Canada and U.S. e Mars In SSVV hMo~nday~~Dec~~24~,ev~e~n~ln~g-:--'-------~--.--~--~Do~C~~~3~0~,~0~ne~hou~r~ah~e~r~su~~~r--------Ca~st-o-r----~Orn-o-ho~u~rl
Man Is In S to SSW at dusk, JMonday17 , Mars, moving east ". per Capell: Kids Pollux·· before
about a ~lI9nltude fainter than • ~Durs20 day against tho stars, passes Saturn.' ~ya~e8 0 Mon 31 .unriso
Saturn. .kqIIter Is very bright
(mag -2.1), rising In ENE within CAPRICORNUS I O.S-SEof4ttHnagLambda AURIGA
2" hours after lunset on Dec 1, Delte Aqr Delte\COP in Aquarius. See next box left. Aldebaran·
shifting earlier to around One hour ..J
Wed 19 ~ • • Uranus .-
&unset at month'a end. Jupiter aftor sunset sw Sunday 16 ! (usc OFriDec28
Is In Gemlnl3r to 31· E of ~-. I ... ' 4 -:10"9 • • Full Moon
Satum and follows it acroaa
the Gky during the night.
M~ Is very low In SW to
sundiY bee 30~ Monday Dec 31.
Full Moon 40 mlnutea after
See Dec 24.
Dec 31,
2" hours
Wed a Thu... Dec 26 & 'D.
one hour aftel' sunset
Jupiter·O Sunday 30

WSW last few days of month. O 5:40 a.m. EST .unset: Four naIIed-eye after.unaot
:x g:r3~1t~='~~
MornIng Planetl: Jupiter II
planeb apan 165-
Deepest penumbral along a line Inretchlng Castor
• Jupiter
Pleiades; o
Sat Doc 29 0 Full overnight
Sat 29

eclipse Sunday nearly hom horizon to

:~~la'!n:.':,:.':t.W morning, opposite horizon: Castor • Jupiter Betelgeuse. ~h P.:N!f'-~ht~7":'~:!'-6--"--1111
progresses. Saturn fa low In 5:29 a.m. EST, Morcwy vary low Pollux· Jupiter I
(mag -2.1) Satum.. •
0 Thurs 'D •
.. 29
Watch Moon approach Jupiter all
WNW at dawn at stan of 2:29 a.m. PST, SW WSW .._- II
December, 3r lowor right of 12:29 &m. In . , ~ we. at opposition In E • 'H ados PolI~x 30. ENE E night. Compare Moon's polltlons,
Jupiter and settlnr around HawalL up In SSW, Saturn 10 tonight. • V Dec 29 in evening and Dec 30 In
aunrlso. By Dec 3 Saturn sell Southern part E, and Jupiter low In Aldebaran morning, in previoua two boxes.
2" hours tiefor8 BUn rise. Venus.
In flrlt few days of month,
of Moon's disk
ENE, at opposition
o NIght of Thuraday Doc 'D: Moon occults (covel'll' Satum tonight from Hawaii and N
Procyon ~ America, everywhero S of a line from central British Columbia serosa W Canada to N
Penumbral edJpao Sundav
morning: see next box.
has barely risen In ESE In noticeably dusky. ENE e E shore of Lake Superior, then acrosa Ontario and N Vermont to S Maine. See leh margin
mid-twilight, about 45 mlnutOl
before sunrise. By mldmonth,
Venus rlsel only half an hour
I for times and web site for additional Information.

before aunup, but mlgh1 still bo Robert C. Victor, Patti Toivonen

seen with binoculars. Subscriptions: $10 per year. from Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI 48824.
ISSN 0733·6314 Skywatcher's Dial}' is available at www.po.msu.edujabromsjdial}..html.

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Siy QII"".,ln fbd hal 01
ZOO2 wIIJ follow a ~ 01
evening planet Unoupa and
gatllerfngL As year begins. Use this scole to measure angular distances between objects on diagrams below.
bright Jupiter la at ooll.r
opposition, In Gemini, low In
ENE at duak. Satum Is In E, In
Teurus near Aldebaran, while
Greet Square of Pegasus. Tuesday January 1 at dulk141S hours after sunaet January 5-7,
Mercury Is very low In SW; 'Capell. . .' Kids January 2-4'1 Friday Jan 4
just emerged from Sun's far Denebola 11S hours ", hours MoonSetS
side, It brings total to four before sunrise: Jupiter, before sultriae ~
Saturn * • • • Hyades OTues (lIon's
pbneta visible, on a long line . Jan 1 High SW to WSW retrograding
stretching nearty from horizon Aldebaran. SICIClE talll 8 arcmlnutet Zeta· Gamma
to opposite horizon. On (just over 0.1-)
January 11, Mercury la tit its
hIgbeat for this appearance.
- ~ct~
-0...,. • Catch Mercury before It seta
_ per dav,
Just past Last Otr
In Virgo

But Mercury fades lilto oolar Jupiter at opposition. in WSW so- lower right Thurs 30 SICIC1E. passes 2.0- N
glare on near aide of Sun ten visible all night. of Mars in SSW, and • Regulus of 3rd-m8gnitude
dayalater, leaving only . . . Saturn 31-to you'll see four planeta, ENe 0 Wed Jan 2 E 0 Epsilon In Gemini. • Spica InS
Satum-Jupher. After Venus its upper right. Me-Ma-Sa-Ju, spanning Regulus. Compare Jan 1,31.
emerges from far side of Sun • Ell 167 across Wed 2
GEMINI rs en 10 at
Into evening twilight In late ·Mu the s/cy. Jen 9-11, Frf Jon 11, one hour Sat Jan 12 Antares.
February, at least four planota one hour Four planetl, Mercury-Mars- after sunset 25 minutes
will be vlalble at dusk continu- Epailon • * Jupiter
before lunriae Setum-Jupiter, Ipan 150- before sunriao,
ously until late M8V. And In
late April end .rty MIIy 2OG2.
during Mercury's next evening
appearance and best of the
year, .a five nakecHye pIeneta
- Castor
• Pollux ENE
E belt -
Thurs10L • Antarel
acroes the s/cy. Compare
Jan 17. Tonight Mercury-
Mars=4S-, Mars·Saturn=7S-,
Saturn-Jupiter Juat over 30-.
Delu. CoP ..... + Uranus

0/' (Use blnocul.rs
as slcy darken•. )
S states

wit be Men together In 1M SUndayJonS Momlng: Moon near Spica; see pt8VIous box. ~ast easv Also, Mercury In WSW, 31- Mercu~,
weatam allyl After a aericla of Evenfngs thll week are best for seeing Mercury. Jd Moon lower left of Altair In W 11r '-
planet gatherings In earty May and 31-lower right of from Sun •
and lubaequem departure of Look about 45 mlnutea to one hour after sunset. When you spot It. look Min
Mercury and Saturn, tho for lineup of four pIaneta. Mercury-Mers-Satum-Juplter, across tho s/cy. Fomalhaut In SSW.
brlabtaat. Venus and JupitIr.
wIJJ pW up In eMy.IuM. 8)ANewMoon
en 11 Monct.y ..an '4
Yonul It superior oonJunGtlon. .t ....
MlYwittlual ..) Moon
~ lit cIuU: JupIter ~ 8:29 a.m. EST. on far aide of Sun; will emerge four planets end Moon
appears as brightest evening Saturn, retrograding Into view at dUM by late within 144- (minimum
·etar· of mag -2.7 to -2.8 In very slowly, paf18C18 O.S- February. &pan' al Mercury fades
Gemlnllaee Jan " 23-27, 31), . N of 3.5-mag Epsilon In • Delta Cop. + Uranus from mag +0.4 to +1.3.
gaining altitude In ENE to E 81 Taurus. This week la laot • Fomelhaul • Fomalhaut frl18.J
month progresses. Saturn Is In DuaIc Jupiter and Saturn are
E to SE, lOme 30- upper right
of Jupiter and one-tenth 81
bright. Saturn remains about
good chance to lee MercUry
at dusk until ita noxt evening
appearance, mid-April to
Young Moon
Mercury* Mercury*
30- apart. Moon paslcs
Mara aa shown In next
4- from Aldebaran, the Bull's earfvMav· . Watch Mars Thu 17..)
eye. M. . II well up In SSW to movc; seo Jan 24.
SW, or to Sir W of Saturn.
Although a magnitude falmer
Thurs Jon 24 at dusIc Frf Jan 25 at dualc: .~sat26
Moon forms compact triangle Moon noarly 5C of at dulk:
~~~ S~~~i:,:~:r.::mlnent with Saturn and Aldebaran; the way from Satum Moon
Aqu~us and Placet; 100 Capella _ .. Klda
Q~23 see previous box. Mars aligns toward Jupiter, see hal
Jan 17-19, 24. Mercury II low with E side of Great Square of large box for Jan 23-27. overtaken
In WSW first throe weeb. Delta Cqp Pegasus this evening and Moon approaches Jupiter;
quite favorable and bright '-. +Uranus Monday 21 Saturn*• • • Hyadea
AURIGA Friday. Watch Mara move Jupiter until 2 hours see
umll mldmomh, then fading
rapidly In following weeIt.
DFirst Quarter lburs240 out of alignment with before sunrise Jan 28. Jan 23-27.
inS Aldebaran those two etars next week.
Mercury Is to lower right of
Mars, by 60" Oil Jan "
decreasing to 44- Jan 11-18,
then Increasing to 49- by
Jan 21. Uneup of four planets
CETUS SU,.y 20
frl250 -
&los"an 29,
(Meto-Mar-Sat.Jup) spens 1~ two hours after sun... one hOUl
on Jan 1, 144- during Jan 16-21. Jupiter
Mercury at Inferior before IUnriao
WatdI Moon paIS them Jan conjunction, nearly IPollUX end Castor In\E • Ell ORION Merato
14-28. LIneup of throe bright
ou11Ir planets, Mars-Satum-
Jupiter, spana 163- on Jan 1,
between Earth and
Sun. In evening, Moon
1~-22- above
Moon 0
Three brIght
Set 28 . Sau
a 00-.
Moon SICICu •
Jupiter In E
\ .EII

8~ on Jan 31. this threesome near Pollux and luperior planets -Cestor Betelgeuse R19:11
remalnl visible at dU11c until Castor; see large box span 90-. Moon-Me- batt .0 Moon 0 EPII!0n*· Mu
Saturn departl In late Mev. for Jan 23-27. Sa-Ju span 12:J-. • Pollux
January dawn.: Jvphor Is GEMINI -Regulus E _ Regulul Watch for
ENE E ENE changes In thlll
low In WNW earty In momh. InW
It leta at sunrise on Jan " OSunday'D pattern in Feb.
one hour bofore sunup tit
mldmonth, and before start
of twilight In lato January. I Robert C. Victor, Patti Toivonen Subscriptions: $10 per year, from Sky Calendor, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, East lansing, MI 48824.
ISSN 0733-6314 Skywatcher's Diary is available at www.po.msu.edu/obroms/diof}'.litm/.
Cosmic Dust Page 1 of 1

u Ouestions?
~. www.historyoftheuniverse.com r Web AS~ ,
Basic Information E!.1l1h~IJ.nf.p.rmali.QJ) O.tb~r Hotl] Pages Hotuwiki
PJJyslc~1. EnvirQD.m_ent > Cosmic Dust
Ear.li.~r 11.Bl11iQn Years.ag.Q L~teI:
This site tells the story of the history of the universe. Click Earlier and Later to follow the story. Note:
M have been simplified to make them easier to understand.
We have seen that Dova and SlJpel~nQya are major ways in which the new, heavy
nuclei made in red_gian1 stars are sent out into the galaxy, ready to be incorporated
into new stars and p-Ian~t.s. If this re-cycling did not happen, planets and lif~ could
never have begun.

As they are shot out of the star some f},toms gain too many ~1~glrQns (giving them a
negative electric charge) while others have too few (giving them a positive
charge). This type of atom is called an ion. These opposite charges attract strongly
and glue the atoms together. This type of gluing is called an iQuicbond.

The atoms pack in close together to form tiny crystals we call grains of cosmic
dust. Some of them will eventually form the rocks of the Earth.
u These dust grains are blown out of dying stars and mix with the original gfl~ of the
Galaxy to form dust clouds. The disc of the galaxy became thick with dust.
. AdsJw. GoogIe' C9.~mi~.Ark CQ$rnic.B.ab.y Co.smic Bugs CosmiG Carbone
Lik.~..thi.s_:w.~b._sit~lJ3JJ.Y- .tnej;)Q.Qk!
Ea_rlier 11 Billloll.Y_e3f.S ago. L.ate.r
Physlc.aLE.nylrQnm.eot> Cosmic Dust
Basic Information Further Information .Other Hotu Page~ BJ2tuwiki

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Cosmic dust - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Page 1 of6

Cosmic dust
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cosmic dust is composed of particles in space which are a few ;....--.-----...- ..... -......................- ....-.-...--.....--......--.. i
molecules to 0.1 mm in size. Cosmic dust can be further
distinguished by its astronomical location; for example:
intergalactic dust, interstellar dust, circumplanetary dust, dust
clouds around other stars, and the major interplanetary dust
components to our own zodiacal dust complex (seen in visible
light as the zodiacal light): Comet dust, asteroidal dust plus some
of the less significant contributors: Kuiper belt dust, interstellar
dust passing through our solar system, and beta-meteoroids.

Cosmic dust was once solely an annoyance to astronomers, as it Porous chondrite interplanetary dust particle.
obscures objects they wish to observe. When infrared astronomy Courtesy ofE.K. Jessberger, Institut fUr
began, those so-called annoying dust particles were observed to Planetologie, MUnster, Germany, and Don
be significant and vital components of astrophysical processes. Brownlee, University of Washington, Seattle,
under a cc-a-2.S license.
For example, the dust can drive the mass loss when a star is
nearing the end of its life, playa part in the early stages of star
formation, and form planets. In our own solar system, dust plays a major role in the zodiacal light, Saturn's B
Ring spokes, the outer diffuse planetary rings at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the resonant dust ring at the
Earth, and comets.

The study of dust is a many-faceted research topic that brings together different scientific fields: physics (solid-
state, electromagnetic theory, surface physics, statistical physics, thermal physics), (fractal mathematics),.
chemistry (chemical reactions on grain surfaces), meteoritics, as well as every branch of astronomy and
astrophysics. These disparate research areas can be linked by the following theme: the cosmic dust particles
evolve cyclically; chemically, physically and dynamically. The evolution of dust traces out paths in which the
universe recycles material, in processes analogous to the daily recycling steps with which many people are
familiar: production, storage, processing, collection, consumption, and discarding. Observations and
measurements of cosmic dust in different regions provide an important insight into the universe's recycling
processes; in the clouds of the diffuse interstellar medium, in molecular clouds, in the circumstellar dust of young
stellar objects, and in planetary systems such as our own solar system, where astronomers consider dust as in its
most recycled state. The astronomers accumulate observational 'snapshots' of dust at different stages of its life
and, over time, form a more complete movie of the universe's complicated recycling steps.

The detection of cosmic dust points to another facet of cosmic dust research: dust acting as photons. Once cosmic
dust is detected, the scientific problem to be solved is an inverse problem to determine what processes brought
that encoded photon-like object (dust) to the detector. Parameters such the particle's initial motion, material
properties, intervening plasma and magnetic field determined the dust particle's arrival at the dust detector.
Slightly changing any of these parameters can give significantly different dust dynamical behavior. Therefore one
can learn about where that object came from, and what is (in) the intervening medium.
r---·····----····. ---·-··-···--------····----·---··---
IContents /

• 1 Detection methods
• 2 Some bulk properties of cosmic dust

Cosmic dust - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Page 2 of6

u •

3 Radiative properties of cosmic dust
4 Dust grain formation
• 5 Dust grain destruction
• 6 Some "dusty" clouds in the universe
• 7 Images
• 8 References
• 9 External links

Detection methods
Cosmic dust can be detected by indirect methods utilizing the radiative properties of cosmic dust.

Cosmic dust can also be detected directly ('in-situ') using a variety of collection methods and from a variety of
collection locations. At the Earth, generally, an average of 40 tons per day of extraterrestrial material falls to the
Earth label. The Earth-falling dust particles are collected in the Earth's atmosphere using plate collectors under the
wings of stratospheric-flying NASA airplanes and collected from surface deposits on the large Earth ice-masses
(Antarctica and Greenland I the Arctic) and in deep-sea sediments. Don Brownlee at the University of
Washington in Seattle first reliably identified the extraterrestrial nature of collected dust particles in the later

In interplanetary space, dust detectors on planetary spacecraft have been built and flown, some are presently
flying, and more are presently being built to fly. The large orbital velocities of dust particles in interplanetary
space (typically 10-40 km/s) make intact particle capture problematic. Instead, in-situ dust detectors are generally
U devised to measure parameters associated with the high-velocity impact of dust particles on the instrument, and
then derive physical properties of the particles (usually mass and velocity) through laboratory calibration (i.e.
impacting accelerated particles with known properties onto a laboratory replica of the dust detector). Over the
years dust detectors have measured, among others, the impact light flash, acoustic signal and impact ionisation.
Recently the dust instrument on Stardust captured particles intact in low-density aerogel.

Dust detectors in the past flew on the HEOS-2, Helios, Pioneer 10, Pioneer II, Giotto, and Galileo space
missions, on the Earth-orbiting LDEF, Eureca, and Gorid satellites, and some scientists have utilized the Voyager
1,2 spacecraft as giant Langmuir probes to directly sample the cosmic dust. Presently dust detectors are flying on
the Ulysses, Cassini, Proba, Rosetta, Stardust, and the New Horizons spacecraft. The collected dust at Earth or
collected further in space and returned by sample-return space missions is then analyzed by dust scientists in their
respective laboratories all over the world. One large storage facility for cosmic dust exists at the NASA Houston

Some bulk properties of cosmic dust

Cosmic dust is made of dust grains and aggregates of dust
grains. These particles are irregularly-shaped with porosity
ranging from fluffy to compact. The composition, size, and other
properties depends on where the dust is found. General diffuse
interstellar medium dust, dust grains in dense clouds, planetary
rings dust, and circumstellar dust, are all different. For example,
grains in dense clouds have acquired a mantle of ice and on
average are larger than dust particles in the diffuse interstellar
medium. Interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) are generally
larger still.

Cosmic dust - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Page 3 of6

Smooth chondrite interplanetary dust particle.

Courtesy ofE.K. Jessberger, lnstitut fur
Other specific du
F~~'~<O=~.C:~'.Ai"r'G.3:· ·t~l· ·
Planetologie, MUnster, Germany, and on In circumstellar (

Brownlee, University of Washington, Seattle, signatures of CO.


under a cc-a-2.S license. aromatic hydroca 1; lito :4. C!i';.·:
among others. (Ir g " __ ""- ·n.I l·'"TTI,
a t I'.! ..u. I f . ~. i .1.t " •
•. WiI:tH I-NoE ..u.::
evidence for silic ;t .' • ~: • I' +.tlfr~l;:I
Itt! liT I ;1 ! l-
• In collected lOPs (asteroidal plus cometary}, the elemental· , ,~ • !'. :
• chondritic, 60%; I ~~t---I-~f--f---t--+--+--t--+--t--J
• Iron-sulfur-nickel, 30%; 1_._~~.JJ.v Ai S ._.:.f!. c. _!'e J~i~ .;
• Mafic silicates, which are iron-magnesium-rich silica ( 0 livitwa.fWctlQ)ffc9M~f~obq,rfat~~l~~~
• Cometary dust is general1y different (with overlap) from aSI 'dal",~I~f9i&l@:kCP\lf\1i~~:hl~SY of :
carbonaceous chondritic meteorites, and cometary dust rese: les i~8regr~SnlKhUtlftXtaHmnahldgie, ;
elements, silicates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and \i Ir iM\inster, Germany, under a cc-a-2.S license.
\. .. _......-.-.....- ....... _.............. - .... - .... __ ._ ...............

Most of the influx of extraterrestrial matter that falls onto the Earth is dominated by meteoroids with diameters in
the range 50 to 500 micrometers, of average density 2.0 glcm' (with porosity about 40%).

The densities of most stratospheric-captured lOPs range between 1 and 3 glcm', with an average density at about
2.0 glcm'. label.

Typical IDPs are fme-grained mixtures of thousands to millions of mineral grains and amorphous components.
We can picture an lOP as a "matrix" of material with embedded elements which were formed at different times n
and places in the solar nebula and before our solar nebula's formation. Examples of embedded elements in cosmic
dust are GEMS, chondrules, and CAls.

A good argument can be made backEvans94 that, given the gas-to-dust ratio in the interstellar medium, a large
fraction of heavy elements (other then hydrogen and helium) must be tied up in dust grains, the assembled
elements for the molecules most likely being carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, magnesium, silicon, sulphur, iron, and
compounds of these.

Radiative properties of cosmic dust

A dust particle interacts with electromagnetic radiation in a way that depends on its cross section, the wavelength
of the electromagnetic radiation, and on the nature of the grain: its refractive index, size, etc. The radiation
process for an individual grain is called its emissivity, dependent on the grain's efficiency [actor. Furthermore, we
have to specify whether the emissivity process is extinction, scattering, or absorption. In the radiation emission
curves, several important signatures identify the composition of the emitting or absorbing dust particles.

Dust particles can scatter light nonuniformly. Forward-scattered light means that light is redirected slightly by
diffraction off its path from the star/sunlight, and back-scattered light is reflected light.

The scattering and extinction ("dimming") of the radiation gives useful information about the dust grain sizes. For
example, if the object(s) in one's data is many times brighter in forward-scattered visible light than in back-
scattered visible light, then we know that a significant fraction of the particles are about a micrometer in diameter.

The scattering of light from dust grains in long exposure visible photographs is quite noticeable in reflection
nebulas, and gives clues about the individual particle's light-scattering properties. In x-ray wavelengths, many
scientists are investigating the scattering of x-rays by interstellar dust, and some have suggested that astronomical
x-ray sources would possess diffuse haloes, due to the dust.

... -0'-

The large grains start with the silicate particles forming in the atmospheres of cool stars, and carbon grains in the
atmospheres of cool carbon stars. Stars, which have evolved off the main sequence, and which have entered the
giant phase of their evolution, are a major source of dust grains in galaxies.

Astronomers know that the dust is formed in the envelopes of late-evolved stars from their observations. An
pbserved (infrared) 9.7 micrometre emission silicate signature for cool evolved (oxygen-rich giant) stars. And an
observed (infrared) 11.5 micrometre emission silicon carbide signature for cool evolved (carbon-rich giant) stars.
These help provide evidence that the small silicate particles in space came from the outer envelopes (ejecta) of
these stars. label label

It is believed that conditions in interstellar space are general1y not suitable for the formation of silicate cores. The
arguments are that: given an observed typical grain diameter Q, the time for a grain to attain Q, and given the
temperature of interstellar gas, it would take considerably longer than the age of the universe for interstellar grains
to form label. Furthermore, grains are seen to form in the vicinity of nearby stars in real-time, meaning in a) nova
and supernova ejecta, and b) R Coronae Borealis, which seem to eject discrete clouds containing both gas and

Dust .grain destruction

How are the interstellar grains destroyed? There are several ultraviolet processes which lead to grain "explosions"

u label label. In addition, evaporation, sputtering (when an atom or ion strikes the surface of a solid with enough
momentum to eject atoms from it), and grain-grain collisions have a major influence on the grain size distribution.

These destructive processes happen in a variety of places. Some grains are destroyed in the supernovae/novae
explosion (and others are formed afterwards). Some of the dust is ejected out of the protostellar disk in the strong
stellar winds that occur during a protostar's active T Tauri phase and may be destroyed when passing through
shocks, e.g. in Herbig-Haro objects. Plus there are some gas-phase processes in a dense cloud where ultraviolet
photons eject energetic electrons from the grains into the gas.

Dust grains incorporated into stars are also destroyed, but only a relatively small fraction of the mass of a star-
forming cloud actually ends up in stars. This means a typical grain goes through many molecular clouds and has
mantles added and removed many times before the grain core is destroyed.

Some "dusty" clouds in the universe

Our solar system has its own interplanetary dust cloud; extrasolar systems too.

There are different types of nebulae with different physical causes and processes. One might see these

• diffuse nebula
• infrared (IR) reflection nebula
• supernova remnant
• molecular cloud
• HII regions
• photodissociation regions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wikilCosmic_dust 12/20/2006
Cosmic dust - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Page 5 of6

Distinctions between those types of nebula are that different radiation processes are at work. For example, H II r1
regions, like the Orion Nebula, where a lot of star-formation is taking place, are characterized as thermal emission
nebulae. Supernova remnants, on the other hand, like the Crab Nebula, are characterized as nonthermal emission
(synchrotron radiation).

Some of the better known dusty regions in the universe are the diffuse nebula in the Messier catalog, for example:
Ml, M8, MI 6, M17, M20, M42, M43 Messier Catalog (http://seds.lpl.arizona.eduJmessierlMessier.html)

Some larger 'dusty' catalogs that you can access from the NSSDC, CDS, and perhaps other places are:

• Sharpless (1959) A Catalogue ofHII Regions

• Lynds (1965) Catalogue of Bright Nebulae
• Lunds (1962) Catalogue of Dark Nebulae
• van den Bergh (1966) Catalogue of Reflection Nebulae
• Green (1988) Rev. Reference Cat. of Galactic SNRs


• The National Space Sciences Data Center (NSSDC) (http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.govl)

• CDS Online Catalogs (http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.frlhtbin/myqcat3?V/70AI)


I ;
I i
~ i
' I
J :
I i\
I ;1
I :Collecting pool I
, I
Comet dust . Asteroidal dust 1 NASA airplane co 11 ector i
. . ...1 )plate i L._. _ _ _,_____JI
. _ ...._ .._._ ..... __ ......................._.. __....••._..... ..
_._...................__ ._ ............. _...__ ....__ " ..._........._._.. ,I

t backEvans94 Evans, Aneurin (1994). The Dusty Universe. Ellis Horwood.

tbackGreen76 Greenberg, J. M. (January 1976). "Radical formation, chemical processing, and explosion of
interstellar grains". Astrophysics and Space Science (Symposium on Solid State Astrophysics, University College,
Cardiff, Wales, July 9-12, 1974.) 139: 9-18.

t backGruen99 Gruen, Eberhard (1999). "Interplanetary Dust and the Zodiacal Cloud". Encyclopedia of the (\
Sola~ System, xx.

t backJess92 Jessberger, Elmar K.; Bohsung, Joerg; Chakaveh, Sepideh; Traxel, Kurt (August 1992). "The
volatile element enrichment of chondritic interplanetary dust particles". Earth and Planetary Science Letters 112,

1 " II . . ___ :1_: ___ ..l! _ _ •• _1•••:1.: Ir"' ..... --.:,. A .....+
,~ .. -' ...
Planetarium Program for
'v Austin Independent School District
2nd Grade
v 10/9715

The Planetarium Program for second grade provides students with a visit
to the Starlab Portable Planetarium and activities which teach and reinforce
concepts about stars and space. Students learn to recognize constellations in the
night sky while listening to myths and stories from other cultures.

The program consists of two 35 minute stations.

Station 1: Inside the Starlab dome viewing the "Night Sky" cylinder

Station 2: Activities to teach and reinforce concepts related to stars

- distance and dimension
-temperature and size

The Planetarium Program addresses the AlSD district goals for Science
Curriculum. .
-Competency: students compare and contrast objects and events
-Concepts: students learn from using a model
-Content: students study content of earth, moon, sun, stars
The Planetarium program addresses the following Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills:

Scientific Principles: 1a(2 nd )-demonstrate safe practices-home and school

2a(2nd)_ask questions
2e(2nd)-explanations based on information and draw conclusions
2f(2 n,,-communicate explanations
3a(2° )-make decisions using information
3b(2od)-justify merits of decisions
3c(2od)-explain a problem and propose a solution

Systems: 6a(2 nd)-manipulate, predict, identify parts separated from whole may not work

Properties, Patterns, 5a(2nd )-classify and sequence organisms, objects, events

and Models: 8b(2 od )-identify characteristics of nonliving objects

Constancy and Change: 7d(2nd)-observe, measure, record changes in weather, night sky, seasons

Form and Function: 6a(2od)-manipulate, predict, identify parts separated from whole may not work
.•".".".'•. ..•
' .
• "':i~~:';:_ :'~i;lr;f
/';L;C!fJ'~"~~ t~·~·~:';t~r~.
I'<~.~ ~~ ·"·.'~/./
,', :.~.~~ .

</:il; ~',l..'};;: . ~_\

c.. :.,':.

" , ~ ,.::;':; '~;"::{',. ,

••• ;;:

'. lt~,:.~'.~1 "':/"~ STARLAB Portable Planetarium

. '.
" ~- ,
!~.;: "

"<.if:~j••,,~;.2y<.<,:.~· .
Starlab consists of a silver fabric dome, a fan, and projection cylinders. The dome is made from a nylon-
reinforced, flame retardant, industrial grade fabric. A fan inflates and circulates air throughout the dome. The
Starlab projector creates images of constellations using a high-intensity halogen cycle lamp. Teaching cylinders
project images of constellations and planets onto the fabric dome.
Children sit on carpet inside the dome. Air vents help to keep air circulating and maintain a comfortable
temperature. The bottom of the dome is open to the floor and allows for fast, easy exit and handicap accessibility.


TopView 20'


Star Lab


Side View
11' Dome

\. ~ )~ ! ",
0' __ ) ~) ')
() Astronomy is the study of the universe. The universe is made up of many
galaxies. A galaxy is a collection of billions of stars held together by gravity, the force
u that attracts objects to each other. A star is a hot, rotating ball of gas that creates its own
light. Constellations are patterns of stars in the sky. .
In our solar system, nine planets circle around our Sun. The Sun sits in the
middle while the planets travel in circular paths (called orbits) around it. These nine
planets travel in the same direction (counter-clockwise looking down from the Sun's
north pole). The planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus,
Neptune and Pluto. These planets have natural satellites called moons.


Reference Books:
The Stars Suggested name tag pattem:
by J.R. Rey

Astronomy Handbook

by James Muirden (Arco, 1982)

National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe

by Roy A. Gallant (National Geographic, 1986)
(0, . ~ ~----u
.~iru" Ursa Major .

Children's Books: Ursa Minor

The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System
u by Joanna Cole (Scholastic Inc., 1990)

The Stars
by Estalella Robert (Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1993)

Find the Constellations

by H.A. Rey (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988)

I Wonder Why Stars Twinkle and Other Ouestions About Space

by Carole Stott (Kingfisher Books, 1993)

Astronomy: Planets. Stars, and the Cosmos

by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest (Aladdin Books, 1983)

Star Signs
by Leonard Everett Fisher (Holiday House, 1983)

The Sky is Full of Stars

by Franklin M. Branley (Crowell, 1981)
_If. - . . . __
-~ -------0 --------- ... -.- --~

"SCHOLASTlc.com "iL"np'·iiiMiii '§.b'iintiiiii' '.!:iUiii,i@f$illi "iilili!,.1iiliU.i·"

. Classroom Activity
Uun-Powered Cooking


• large bowl
• aluminum foil
• plastic knives or spreaders
• paper plates and napkins
• peanut butter (refrigerated)
• cheese
• crackers

Goal: Children will investigate solar power.

\Varot-lp: On a sunny day, talk about the wannth you feel from the sun. Ask children, "What
can you tell me about the sun? What does it do for us? How do people use it? Has anyone ever
cooked with the sun? How is an oven like the sun?"

u 1. Continue the discussion, explaining that the sun's power can even melt foods. Explain that
you will use the sun to melt peanut butter to spread on crackers.

2. Make a solar oven by lining the inside of a large bowl with aluminum foil. Place a glob of
cold peanut butter on the bottom of the bowl, and position the bowl in direct sunlight so that
the sun's rays are shining on the inside of the bowl. You may need to use blocks to prop the
bowl at an angle to catch the rays.

3. Let the bowl sit for about an hour and encourage children to periodically check the melting
progress. Then help children spread their melted peanut butter on crackers and serve for a
simple picnic treat.

4. Put a slice of cheese on one cracker and some stiff peanut butter on another. Ask children to
predict which they think will melt first. Then find other items to melt, such as an ice cube,
crayon, and birthday candle. Record on a chart the time it takes each item to melt, and compare
children's predictions.


• Be sure to talk about safety when using the sun's power. Point out the danger of some
metal objects getting too hot to touch. Remind children that foods such as cheese can
spoil in the sun.


lof2 8/12199 11 :34 AM

Ln-Powend Cooking Classroom ACUVity

• Do some children feel uncomfortable about eating something that's been coo=\:ed in a
different way?
() Spin-Off
U • Make sun tea by placing two herbal tea bags in a clear, quart-size glass jar. Fill the jar
with water, and cover it tightly. Give children time to observe what the tea looks like.
Place it in the sun for two to three hours. Encourage children to observe the changes in
the water as well as the changes in the way it smells. Record the color changes on a chart.
Then serve the tea chilled with lemon along with some tasty crackers for your hungry
solar scientists! .

Here's some good sunny-day reading.

The Day the Sun Danced by Edith T. Hurd (HarperCollins)

Everything Changes by Ruth R. Howell (Atheneum)
Sun by Michael Ricketts (Grosset & Dunlap)

Return to Activities for School and Home

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~ of2 8/12199 11:34 AM

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• I

Color, Size aDd Temperature

In most cases, the bigger and hotter a star is, the brighter it appears. A star's
U brightness is called its apparent magnitude. Astonomers assign numbers to stars based on
their apparent magnitude... The lower the number, the brighter the star appears. The sun
has an apparent magnitude of -26.7. Sirius, the brightest star we can see without a
telescope, has an apparent magnitude of -1.5. The stars which appear faintest have an
apparent magnitude of +6.
A star's color shows how hot it is. The order of temperature of stars is from hottest
to coolest: . 14(.oao r-r

Blue Supergiant S>" '< ..(.c.. (. e.... J§ J !! ]!I It"

Blue Giant
White Dwarf
Yellow Sun 5,500 $.-t=-
Red Supergiant
Red Giant 3,J'0 £ lL..
Red Dwarf 3 , $"0 0 r-
Star Order of Brightness
Blue Supergiant
Red Supergiant
Blue Giant
Red Giant
Yellow Star
Red Dwarf
White Dwarf

Some interesting star facts:

. Red dwarfs have a very small mass-just enough to start a nuclear reaction. They
bum fuel slowly and may bum for billions of years.
'. Medium sized stars {like our Sun) are lOx as massive and much hotter than red
dwarfs. They bum fuel faster and usually last only about 10 billion years.
Red dwarfs and medium stars become red giants and then white dwarfs. They then
cool for millions of years and become black dwarfs.
Blue giants are . the most massive stars. They are 35x bigger than our sun and
millions of degrees hotter. Blue giants use up energy fastest and often last for only a few
million years. Blue giants become red supergiants and often explode in a supernova. As a
supernova, a star becomes brighter than ever before, then the core collapses and shrinks.
Very massive blue giants can become so dense that their gravity pulls everything into them-
these become "black holes". Less massive blue giants can explode and collapse into dense
Spinning spheres called "neutron stars".,
Explain that a star's brigh.tness depends
not only on its distance from Earth, but
also on its size and temperature. In most
cases the bigger and hotter a star is, the
brighter it shines.
Now explain that a star's brightness, as
u seen from Earth, is called its apparent
magnitude. Astronomers assign riumbers
to stars based on their apparent magni-
tudes. The brighter a star looks to us, the
lower the number representing its magni-
tude. (For example, the sun is our bright-
est star and has a magnitude of -26.7. The
faintest stars we can see have a magnitude
of about + 6.)
If we could collect all of the stars in our
night sky and arrange them side by side at
a fixed distance from Earth, we could find
out how bright each one really is in com-
parison to the rest This is called a star's
absolute magnitude. Absolute magnitude
is determined bv a star's size and tem-
perature (how much energy it
radiates)-not on how far away it is from brigl)tness depends not only on how he:
Earth. . they are but also how big they are. Ask
Now have seven kids come up and give your group how the size of a red gia'1:
each of them one of the seven stars you affects its brightness as compared with the
drew. Explain that each star's color shows brightness of a blue star. (Even though a
how hot it is. Arrange the stars in order of red giant is not as hot as a smaller blue
u temperature, going from hot to cool (blue
supergiant, blue giant, white dwarf, yel-
star, it would look brighter because it is so
much bigger.) Then arrange the stars in
low sun, red supergiant, red giant, and red order of brightness (blue supergiant, red
dwarf). Explain that the hottest stars are supergiant, blue giant, red giant, yellow
blue or white, wann stars are yellow,' and star, red dwarf, white dWarf).
the coolest starS are orange or red. That Finally, experiment with size, tem-
means that if you compared equal-sized perature, and distance. For example.
blue and yellow stars, the blue star would have the blue supergiant take several
radiate more energy and have a higher steps back and the red supergiant take
temperature than the yellow star. It would several steps forward. Ask which wc~.:
also shine brighter. look brighter in the sky. (The red super-
But since stars are different sizes, as giant, because it would be so much
well as different temperatures, their closer.)

c:.." ,....... \l-

A Script (of sorts) for using the Evening Star Map

u While children are still seatecl in the circle on their carpet squares pass out appropriate star map to each child As
you are passing out maps explain that this is a simple star map copied out ofa teacher 's manual. You can find
them on the Internet. You can buy them at book or nature stores Sometimes they are in Astronomy magazines.

Hold the map infront ofyou. Who would like to read the top ofthe page? lfyou went OIIt before 9:00 tonight to
look at the stars would that make this map "no-good n ? No. the constellations would be a little shifted one way or
the other depending ifyou went out before or after the stated time. The map is still good.

Who would like to read the directions at the bottom ofthe page? Wow. that sounds simple. but how do wefigure
~ut which
way we are facing?

First. we must find the Big Dipper. Who has seen the Big Dipper in the night sky? Is it big or linle? Is it hard to
find? There are four black posters around the room. Each one has at least one constellation on it. One has the
Big Dipper on it, please stand-up and raise your hand when you think you have found the Big Dipper on one ofthe
four posters.

Give the laser pointer to a child who has their hand up, or have them just use their finger to point out the Big
Dipper on the poster. GREAT. now who knows how to find the North Star or Polaris. ifyou know where the Big
Dipper is?

That's co"ect. We find the two bright stars that make up the end of the bowl of the Big Dipper. Draw an
imaginary linejo;ning those two stars continue the line until it runs into a bright star sort of by itself. That is the
North Star or Polaris.

Ifyou are facing the North Star which direction.you are facing? Yea! North is right. Everyone turn so you are
facing North. Now, ifyou are ever lost in the middle ofnowhere you can look to the night sky, find the Big
u Dipper, connect the two stars at the end ofthe bowl. they will point you to the North Star, then you know what
direction you are facing and you can find your way. This is the same method old sea captains used to find their
way many many years ago.

Read the directions at the bottom of the page once again. Standing at the "Northff end of the room by the poster of
the dippers~ ask the children which direction is North? East? West? South? So, ifwe're facing North the part of
the map that says ##NORTHERN HORIZON" should be close to your tummy. Walk around the room to be sure
every Olle has their map oriented correctly.

Let's pretend it is about 9:00 at night and we are going out to star gaze. What do we need to bring with us?
Really nothing, but a star map and a flash light might be useful. Our pointer finger will be our flashlight in this
classroom. Everyone hold up your flashlight. Great.

.Vow lets look at our star maps and find C4SSIOPEIA. point your flashlight at that constellation on your map. The
word Cassiopeia begins with the letter C. and the constellation looks like a funny W. Walk around to make sure
each child has their "flashlight" pointed at the right constellation. Now, see ifyou can find it on one of the four
posters. Raise your hand when you have found it. The children may wander around, not truly understanding that
it should be on the North wall. After a fair number of children seem to have found i~ ask one child to point it out
on the poster with the laser po~. Great. Do you think in the real night sky Cassiopeia is little or big?

As time permits, have the children find Leo and Pegasus. Ending with Orion usually makes for a nice transition
into red stars, blue stars, or nebulas.

. -


Envelope containing:
different colored circles representing
stars, planets, comets
six or students
teacher or other adult

Have students stand up.
Randomly pass out stars and planets.
Explain how tbeywill pretend to be part ofa nebula (a place where stars are born).
Have students rotate their wrists, simulating active atoms (hydrogen). Explain H atoms are not
stationary. They must float around in the nebula. Have students move slowly and randomly
around the room.
The teacher is a supernova. Explain that the teacher as a supernova will explode and provide the
energy needed for the studentsIHydrogen atoms to start rotating together around the room.
Teacher/supemova explodes.
Studentslhydrogen atoms start moving around the room in the same direction. As they see
other students with the same color drde belp them group up and keep moving.
Students that are planets should be aDowed to rotate around a star group as everyone
keeps moving in tbe circle

If time and the number ofstudents permit have students/comets pass through groups/solar

Program Description
~ .

Part I: Basis for program

TItle: Planetarium.

Course Description: Explore the solar system in our inflatable

planetarium. Learn to recognize constellations that appear
nightly. Listen to myths and stories about how other cultures
view the stars.

Age Level: Grades K-5

Time: 1 hour

.Go.a& Participants will be presented with opportunities to locate

familiar stars and constellations. They will also listen to Greek
and/ or Native American myths. .

u Part II: Instructional Plan

CQurse Outline: Introduction

Grades K-l: Demonstrate night and day using globe, show picture of the
sun, identify the sun as our nearest star.

Grades 2-5: Discuss the formation of stars (varying complexity to suit age
level) using planetarium. posters.

Inside Planetarium:

I. Point out Big Dipper, North Star, Little Dipper,Draco, Cassiopeia,

Cepheus, and Orion. You may also point out Betelgeuse and Rigel
in Orion to illustrate the relationship between the age of stars and
their colors.

II. Relate appropriate myths.

Planetarium n
Page 2

Part III: Resource Support

Site Needs: Multipurpose Room

Participant Thresholds: 25 students maximum, 2 adults .

Resource Needs: inflatable planetarium, planetarium fan, planetarium

projector, globe, planetarium posters, flashlight, laser pointer

Part IV: Program Script for Grades K-1

Introduce the planetarium by asking questions about night and day. Use
a globe to demonstrate the. earth's rotation on its axis and revolution
. around the sun. Why do-we not see alot of stars in the daytime? What
is the only star we see in the daytime? Show the picture.of the sun. Speak . n
briefly of a star'~ Ufe cycle. You may also sing ''The Planets Go Spinning".

Before entering the planetarium all students and adults must remove
shoes. There are three main rules for the planetarium:

1. Do not touch the planetarium on the inside or outside. This causes

holes and tearing.

2. Listen while the planetarium teacher is talking.

3. Stay on your carpet square.

P~rt V: Program Script for Grades 2-5


supernova 1987A (Bejore&Ajier)

tars are giant balls of hot gas. They're also Cool stars appear red; hot stars are bluish-white.

S a lot like people. They're born, live

through a long middle age, and, ultimately,
die. They come in different sizes and ~olors.
The constellation of Orion the Hunter, easily vis-
ible even in cities during the winter, is a perfect
place to look for star colors. Betelgeuse, the
Many spend their lives with constant c;:ompan- bright star that represents Orion's right shoulder,
u ions; others, like our Sun, go it alone. And, like shines bright red. Looking down toward the
. Hunter's left knee, you find another bright star,
people, stars change as they age. But because
the changes take place over millions and bil- Rigel, which sparkles with a bluish-white color.
lions of years, an individual star looks pretty
All the stars in the sky (including our Sun)
much the same over the course of many human
are moving through space, most with speeds of
lifetimes. A photograph of the night sky, howev-
many kilometers per second, although it may
er, like a picture taken in a mall that shows peo-
ple of all ages, can capture stars in different not seem that way to us. When we look at the
stages' of their lives. Careful study of the differ- night sky, we see basically the same star pat-
ences we see in stars has given astronomers a terns as the ancients did. That's because the
sense of what goes on inside stars and how they stars are so very, very far away that their
change with time. motions appear tiny to us, even over the course
of hundreds and thousands of years of watch-
Stars come in different sizes. The Sun is ing.
actually a bit on the small side, when compared
to its stellar cousins; as such, it is known as a Stars are born out of the huge clouds of gas
dwarf star. The largest stars can have hundreds and dust that fill some of the space between the
and even a thousand times the diameter of the stars. Occasionally, the densest parts of these
Sun; not surprisingly, they're known as giant reservoirs of cosmic "raw material" become
and supergiant stars. The smallest stars are not unstable and begin to contract, the force of
much bigger than the planet Jupiter. Stars also gravity pulling each atom toward the center. As
appear different colors, depending on the tem- the cloud continues to shrink, gas in the center
perature at the star's gaseous surface. The gets denser and heats up. Temperatures and
pressures build until they finally become so
u coolest stars are nearly 5000 degrees Fahrenheit
(about the same temperature as the filaments in high that hydrogen atoms are forced to "fuse"
incandescent lightbulbs), while the hottest stars together, with four hydrogen atoms becoming
reach a sweltering 90,000 degrees Fahrenheit! one helium atom [stars are almost all hydrogen


I Background: Stars "

(92%); the rest is helium, with trace amounts of so densely packed that a single teaspoonful
other elements]. This process is known as would weigh over 15 tons! This stellar remnant
t _, hydrogen fusion (note that the same thing hap- is called a white dwarf. It initially glows from
1\'\C"\ ) pens in the warhead of a nuclear bomb). Fusion heat left over from the contraction and from bil-
" '~V"

~', ~ J]~_ liberates an enormous amount of energy. Fusion lions of years of nuclear fusion. But, with no
energy creates a pressure that balances the new source of energy, the stellar corpse gradu-
weight of the star's upper layers, halting the ,ally cools and slowly fades from sight, a stellar
contraction. The star then shines steadily, pow- ember feebly glowing in the cosmic fIreplace.
ered by the hydrogen fusion in its center, as it
Stars more' massive than the Sun do not exit
enters stellar middle age.
so gently. When they've exhausted their helium
Our Sun is now about half way through its reselVes, they too begin to contract. However,
middle age. It has been "fusing" hydrogen in its compression from their tremendous weight
center for about 5 billion years, and will contin- allows additional elements to fuse together in
ue to do so for another 5 billion. How long a their centers (for example, carbon fuses to
star lasts, from the initial contraction of a gas become neon), releasing energy and halting the
cloud to its final death throes, depends on how contraction, giving the stars a series of tempo-
massive it is. The Sun is just an average star; rary reprieves. But, ultimately, fusion stops and
stellar masses range from a hundred times that nothing can stop the inevitable core collapse.
of the Sun to just under a tenth. Massive stars This time" the collapse is accompanied by an
'live fast and die young, cramming an entire life- explosive ejection of the outer layers-a super-
time into a few million years before they biow nova explOSion-that literally tears the star
themselves to bits. Smaller stars live qUietly for apart.
tens and hundreds of billions of years and die
. In the meantime, the core shrinks dramati-
much less spectacularly.
cally. If, after the supernova explosion, the left-
All stars, regardless of mass, eventually run over mass is about 2-3 times that of the Sun, the
out of hydrogen "fuel" in their centers. They core collapses until its material is so densely
begin to die. No longer able to support the packed that a sugar-cube-sized lump weighs 100
weight of their outer layers, their cores contract, million tons! The remnant is called a neutron
increasiqg central temperatures until helium star because it consists mostly of super-com-
atoms fuse together to form carbon ones. As pressed neutrons. If the post-supernova mass is
before, energy released during the fusion halts higher still, no force in nature can stop the col-
the contraction and the star temporarily regains lapse. The core shrinks and shrinks and shrinks,
some measure of stability. In the meantime, the until, finally, all its mass is crunched into some-
outer layers swell and cool, dramatically increas- thing with zero diameter and infinite density! It
ing the diameter of the star; during this so-called is a black hole; black in the sense that noth-
"red giant", phase, the Sun will expand out past ing-not even light-can escape from it, and a
the Earth's orbit (bad news for any Earthlings hole in the sense that things can fall in, but they
still around). What happens next depends on can't get back out.
the star's mass. Massive stars may lead more interesting lives
When they finally run out of helium fuel in than those like the Sun, but there aren't very
the center, stars like the Sun (and less massive many of them. Most stars, in fact, have even
ones too) are truly facing the grave. The core smaller masses than the Sun. Something in the
collapses under the tremendous weight of the process of star formation seems to favor the cre-
star. The outer layers are gently ejected away ation of a lot of smaller stars over that of a few
from the star, exposing the core to space. When large ones. Perhaps half of all stars form in
the' core finally stops contracting, its material is pairs, with two (and sometime more) stars


Background: Stars I

bound together by their mutual gravitational evetything we see around us, originated in the
attraction. These travel through space together, centers of massive stars. The atoms were origi-
caught in a kind of cosmic square-dance as they nally "cooked" in the nuclear frres deep inside
orbit around one another. these stars. Then, when these stars exploded at
the end of their lives, the newly created atoms
Despite all we now know about stars and
were thrown out into interstellar space. There
their lives,. perhaps the most surprising thing we
they gathered together, fOrming new clouds of
have learned is that, without stars, we wouldn't
gas and dust, which ultimately contracted as new
be here. Indications are that the cosmos began
stars were born. Some of the atoms made their
with only hydrogen and helium, from which it
way into the planets that circled one particular
would not have been possible to construct any-
new star, and eventually into the life that sprang
thing as interesting as one of our students.
up on the one called Earth. We are truly star stuff.
Nearly all the atoms in our bodies, and in our
chairs, our gardens, our cars, and in nearly


" • • , •.: . :/'.': : - . " . ' • • . ' .. _.,;. \"L"t ~\,.~ ~ ~ .••' t;_:"~':' .. !:•.•.....• ~ • .~.J.~ : ... I. ~'.! ••• . t , J .... :. :J .. :. "~""'~. :,....·1:..••·... ·,,·.~~:~.,.·\··.· '" ........ .>.,t.~:.~~_~.I'"'.. ::.:.....~",..:........~~:-:----.-
.. 0 ................. ~ . . . . . , . '•• _ ••• ,.......... • • .. ••• , ................................ ~_._ ••• _ . ' _ . _ •• _.4'~ . . . . . . . . .- ... - ••.•..•..• -- --.----~-----

tandout Stars
Getting to know a few of the bngh!est
~rs In the night sky will help you anent
',urself even better durin" ynur J1(lCtumal
~nturc~. Inslcild of just bt..·mJ( stilrs. they (an
ecome signposts. timekeepers. and indica-
>rs of seasonal change.
Although it may seem like you can spot
lillions of stars some nights. your eyes can
4l1y see about 2.000 stars on the darkest and " Rigtl. The seventh brightest star is located
t'earest evening, There are 88 constellations in the consteUation Orion, below Orion's well-
. the entire sky. About 60 can be seen from known belt (three stars in a row). Rigel is
Ie U.S. throughout the year, but at any Orion's (oot. 1'his bluish white star Is enor·
ven· time of night you can only view about a mous--33 times the diameter of our sun and
)zen. There are approximately 30 very 46,000 times brighter. It is so far away that
ight stars. Here are seven: ' the 6gbt you see left Rigel over 900 years

Antares. The reddish Antares means ..the

rival of Mars" in Greek. It is located in the
Scorpiun (Scorpio) constellation (just below
• its claws), and is number 16 in brightness.
Mars, the "Red Planet," travels dose to An-
tares and can be confused with this Mars
look-alike. Th~ Scorpion skirts our southern
horizon during the smnmer months, then dips
Sin'us. The b~ghtest in the entire sky, Sir- below the horizon in winter.
.s me~s "scorcher" in Greek. Sirius is part Altair. The eye of the Eagle consteDation .
. the BIg Dog constellation, which you can this yellowish white star is number 12 in
brightness. The Eagle is a beautiful P-" ·~or
!e on the southern horizon most of the year.
stellation "flying" down the Milky \\" : ~r
ecause it is low on the horizon, it takes a
you find Altair (go from the Dragon·s ~u tc
~ry clear night to see the other stars in the
Vega and then beyond to Altair), you have
>DsteDation besides Sirius. On some star found the Milky Way. On some star maps tht
aps the Big Dog is labeled with its Latin
Eagle is labeled by its Latin name. Aquila.
me.• Canis Major. Sirius and the Big Dog
n be found in the sky by ~tendinR the line Vega. White Vega, part of the consteDation
ade b)· Orion's belt southward about three Lyra, is the fifth brightest 'star in the night
.nd-spans.· . sky and 50 times brighter than our SUD. But
Vega is 261ight-years away (the distance light
travels in a year), anclthe sun is only 8~
light-minutes away. Our solar system is mov-
ing toward Vega at 12 miles per second. At
that rate. we should bump into Vega in about
500.000 years. The head of the Dragon con-
steDation (one of our circumpolar constella-
tions) points toward Vega. DeMb. This is the brightest star in the
Swan consteDation (Cygnus in Latin). Denet
Arr:lJlnlS. The fourth brightest star is a is 1.600 light-years away and about 50,000
auuf.;.: ;range coJor-25 times bigger than . times brighter than the sun. Like Altair,
r sun and 100 tirD~s as bright Cif vieWed when you find Deneb, you are also lonkin~ a
m the same distance). To find ArctU11lS tht.- Milky WelY. .
In 01 the Herdsman [Bootes 1consteDation) TIle Summer Triangle. The stars Vega. AJ
ow the arc of the Big Dipper's handle away lair. and Deneb fonn a large triangle.~
m the bo'Yl, until you spy a very bright swnmer sky familiar to aD navigator! .
r. That's Arcturus. you find· it?

(Taken from J.Emory's NightprowlBfS)

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