Constellations are simply groups of stars that form patterns in the night sky. Ancient peoples saw these patterns in the stars as representations of their cultures’ stories and myths. Ancient farmers used constellations as a calendar to tell what month it was. This was very useful for planning their planting and harvest. Sailors used their knowledge of constellations to help with navigation.
These patterns in the sky weren’t just useful for ancient peoples. They still serve as guides for modern man. In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially defined 88 constellations. These constellations help astronomers communicate about the areas of the sky they are studying.
What are your favorite constellations? At what time of year are they visable? Are they summer constellations or winter constellations? Check out this online constellation guide to learn more about constellations and the stories behind them. Then, create a constellation viewer so that you can view your favorite constellation any time you like.
● paper towel roll
● aluminum foil cut in 4-inch squares
● a Sharpie
● a toothpick
● Constellation guide, sky map, or space app for your device
Trace the outline of the paper roll on the middle of a piece of foil. Then, draw your favorite constellation on the center of the outlined circle.
Wrap the foil around the end of the paper roll with the constellation markings facing out. Using a toothpick, carefull poke holes in the foil where the stars of the constellation are marked.
Aim your viewer at a light source and look into the open end. You should see your constellation!
More Astronomy Resources
Out Of This World Party Pack – The DIY Constellation Viewer project is included in the Out Of This World Party Pack. The Out Of This World Party Pack is essentially two products in one: an outer space party printable pack and a bonus party planning ebook with STEM-based activities.
Outer Space Lapbooks – One of our favorite ways to do a unit study, especially an impromptu one, is with lapbooks. Here are a few good outer space lapbook choices for your next astronomy study.
Meteor Explanation And Viewing Tips – I love a good meteor shower, but seeing one can be tricky. This post gives some great viewing tips and background information on meteors.
Astronomy Science Kit – It’s hard to find a good science kit for astronomy let alone one that boasts over 60 activities in one box! Check out the Astronomy Science Kit from Apologia for stand alone astronomy unit study awesomeness.
Star Gazer Apps– These 6 astronomy apps for your devices make stargazing easy and fun!
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