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A Guide to The

A Guide to The

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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 e. 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 ~ h e 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
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, circling the
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.

J •
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 The goat of the heavens is
half goat and half f ish, thus a creature not only
able to 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 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 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
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 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 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 of his lost love.
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 song.

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 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 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. struck a rock with his trident
and a horse appeared.. Athene caused an olive
to out of rocky top of the
hill. The jury of gods had the power to look
far into the future and realize what the
cultivation of 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.
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 like his
father Jupiter, but Castor was mortal like
his mother Leda. When Castor died in battle,
Pollux begged Jupiter to take away his
so he too could die. Jupiter
was so 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 but Hercules strangled both of
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
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
the sun was found in midsummer. To the ancient
peoples, the explanation of why the sun b ~ c a m e
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
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 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
"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
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
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 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
bring the dead back to life. He used a
herb which he had learned about while
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,
Pluto, ruler of underworld, complained
to Jupiter that he had no dead souls. His business
was ruined. Jupiter. fearing that Aesculapius gave
like the gods, to every man, sent a
deadly lightening bolt that killed the doctor.
But in tribute to his 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 of ancient She
began to neglect her duty of driving the moon
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.
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 h a ~ 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
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.
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 ~ t o ~ a . rock high, in the
Caucasasus Mountains. Every day he sent a wlture ~
to eat at the liver of the chained victum. Each
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
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,
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
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·
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
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°
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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 All the stars
will revolve around 'it.
u Black God
Black God and his Pleiades
xa sceszina (Navaho)
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
his foot vigorously which made
the Pleiadobound to his knee.
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
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 h a ~ persisted to this day. This
law stipulates that only one couple may live by one
home fire. (Navaho)
Xa'asboii (Navaho)
~ o particular legends
about these constellations
exist" to our knowledge
but literature mentions
~ h e 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
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
The wound wasn't serious, however, and the Bear 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
tracks point upward, no one
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.

o 0
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 d e p a r t ~ 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 h i ~ 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
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
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) 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
~ l e a d s 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 the Northern Rockies, University of
Oklahoma Press, 1966.
Haile, Berard, Starlore Among the Navaho, 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 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
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
29 .
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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@ 1994 Pacific Science Center
F-5, Star-Finding with'a Star-Finder
@ 1994 Pacific Science Center
{ ;

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 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?
the horizon, low in the sky1 Ask, "What time of day is for the person 7" Isunset1
4- Have the students continue to stopping when their backs are to the Iightbulb. Ask,
. . "What time is ·It for·the 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
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
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)
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
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.
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 ~ o t s 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
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:
I ntroduce 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 tp be the sun) '. '
Demonstrate day & night CtK-ch. tLli.IC{N:j. 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: IAae.. Iv cOH h. d
Alpha Centari is 4 light years -Iv tA ;. '\.J A j
Rigel is 930 light years v d (Jm
Vega is 26 light years /I.,
Life Cycle of Stars
Star colol'S
Yellow sun -n ,a . L' ; /
Hot blue & white stars rP--,L "Lie S-
Old red stars - -..12k' j (J -
Star Color, Size and Terrlp. Game fI' ()
Life cycle of stars:
Nebula (show Orion Nebula poster) fLL,-hv&
Star Cycle (Nebula) Game 0, .-
Life cycle (show life cycle posters) t-.-
Constellations I. .
What are constellations? 5;::::
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 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 AvJ *
Invented about 500 years ago .
Changed our concept of universe and understanding of space f-::7;- -<!t:!:fl:
New Hubble telescope in space
Telescopes or binoculars on a clear dark night for the fun of it. w SO _ 10
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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.
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 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
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 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)
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.
~ t a r Order by Temperature
Blue Supergiant surface temp . 19,000 F
Blue Giant
White Dwarf
Yellow Sun surface temp 5,500F
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 of you. Who would like to read the top of the 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 if you went out before or after the stated time. The map is still good.
Who would like to read the directions at the bottom of the 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 found the Big Dipper on one of the
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, if you know where the Big
Dipper is?
That's con-eet. Wefind the two bright stars that make up the end o/the bowl of the Big Dipper. Draw an
imaginary line joining those two stars continue the line until it runs into a bright star sort of by 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, if you 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 of the 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 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 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 if you 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 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:
. Properties, Patterns,
and Models:
Constancy and Change:
Form and Function:
Ia(K, 1
, 2
)-demonstrate safe practices-home and school
. 2a(K., 1
, 2
)-ask questions
2d(K., 1 st)-explanations based on information
)-explanations based on infonnation and draw conclusions
)-communicate explanations
3a(K, 1", 2
)_make decisions using information
3b(K, 1 st, 2
)_justify merits of decisions
3c(K, 151, 2
)-explain a problem and propose a solution
la(3rd, 4th, 5
, 6
)-demonstrate safe practices during field and laboratory
, 4lh, 5
, 6
)-analyze and interpret information to construct explanations
from direct and indirect evidence
2d(3 rd, 4 tb, 5
; 6
)-communicate valid conclusions .
, 4tb, S
, 6
)-analyze, review, critique scientific explanations: hypotheses,
theories as to strengths and weaknesses
, 4th, 5
, 6
)-represent natural world using models, identify limitations
9c(K)-identify ways Earth provides resources for life
)-manipulate, ·predict, identify parts separated from whole may not work
)-observe and identify simple systems
.11 c(3"')-identify planets in solar system and positions
Ild(3rd)-describe characteristics of.sun
11 a( 4 tb)-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
)-identify gravity as force to keep planets and moon in orbit . .
Sa( 6
)-identify apd describe system resulting from combination .of two Ot more
)-identify of objects in solar system-sun, planets, :
meteorites, comets, asteroids, moons
8a(K)-identify organisms or objects as living or nonliving
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
)-identify characteristics of nonliving objects
)-identify planets in solar system and positions
11 d(3rd)-descnbe characteristics of sun
)-identify sun as major energy source
12a(Stb)-intexpret how land fOImS result from constructive and destructive forces·
Sa( 6
)-identify and descnoe system resulting from combination of or more
systems .
)-identify characteristics of objects in solar system-sun, planets,
meteorites, comets, asteroids, moons
Sa(K)-properties of objects and characteristics of organisms
Sa(1 Sl)-sort objects by properties and patterns .
)-observe, measure, record changes in weather, night sky, seasons
11 c(3
)-identify planets in solar system and positions
II d(3
)-describe characteristics of sun
)-test properties of soils
12d(SIh)-identify gravity as force to keep planets and moon in orbit
)-identify characteristics of objects in solar system-sun, planets,
meteorites, comets, asteroids, moons
9c(K)-identify ways Earth provides resources for life
)-manipulate, predict, identify parts separated from whole may not work
)-identify planets in solar system and positions
11 d(3 rd)-describe characteristics of sun
)-identify sun as major energy source
12d(Sth)-identity gravIty as torce to keep planets and moon in orbit
)-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.ed u
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 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 Two: Do this the same way as 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
Blue Giant
White Dwarf
Yellow Sun
Red Supergiant
Red Giant
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The smallest, coolest star.
A star with barely enough fuel and mass to have a nuclear reaction and be
called a star at all. They can live for many billions of years because they
bum very slowly.
Brightness chart:
Blue Supergiant
Red Supergiant
Blue Giant
Red Giant
Yellow Sun
Red Dwarf
White Dwarf
Largest, hottest young star
Size matters in brightness, and hotter stars are brighter than cooler stars on
the same size. Rigel is an example of a blue supergiant.
Largest old star
Size matters! Betelgeuse is an example of a red supergiant.
Second largest very hot young star
Second largest old star
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.
A very small, cool star
These are very small, dying stars. They are pretty hot, but not very bright.
}facts: About oor Solar System, the Galaxy
and the Universe
C'I ""eed of Light
Uht Year
186,000 miles per second
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
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
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
Nearest star (besides Sun)
Smallest known star
Largest known star
Hottest star
Coolest star
Light distance
from Earth
4 years
50 years
500 years
The Universe
, 10,000
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.
Andromeda (closest galaxy)
Farthest Observed Galaxy
Light distance to Earth
2,000,000 years
>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.



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
days days days days years years years years

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
None Dioxide Oxygen Dioxide Helium Helium
Hydrogen Helium
Methane Methane
5. Moons
0 0 1 2 16 18 15 8 1
6. Rings
0 0 0 3 1,000 (?) 11 4
7. Inclination of
Orbit to Ecliptic
8. Eccentricity of
.206 .007 .017 .093 .048 .056 .046 .009 .248
9. Rotation Period
6 days
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
Near 0
1n.2° 23°27' 25°12' 3
5' 26
44' 97
55' 28°48' 120°
.. 1
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
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 a red giant in about
5 billion more years. It will swell out past Mercury, Venus, Earth, and 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 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.
: "'.' ! '.. '_.'. . '., • .
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u An Intergalactic Invitation
Invite beings /rom
other planets to a party
on Earth.
Explain what a galaxy
. is and describe the
Milky Way Galaxy. Dis-
cuss the Earth's loca-
tion within the Milky
Way Galaxy.
Primary and
• copies 0/ page 15
• or crayons
ere's away to get your kids
, thinking about the Earth's
position in the galaxy. First
use the background infor-
mation on pages 3-6 and the "Cosmic
Facts" (see right) to review galaxies and
light-years. Then explain that our sun is
just one of hundreds of billions of stars in
our Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way is a
spiral galaxy, and our solar system (the
sun and its nine known planets) is located
in one .of its spiral arms (see diagram).
Earth is the third planet from the sun.
. Now make copies of the invitaOOh on
page 15 and give one to each person to fill
in. Tell your kids to pretend they're
throwing a party and that creatures from
outer space are invited. (See "Answers to
Earth Directions" at the end of the activ-
ity.) When all the kids are finished, have
Our ,them fold the page in half so that the
..'." • •• • #
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The Milky Way Galaxy

Birth and Death of a Star
Listen to a story about
the life cycle 0/ a star.
Describe the stages in
the life 0/ a star.
tars have incredible life
spans. It may take two mil-
lion years for a star to form,
and then the star may bum
for thousands of millions of years before it
dies. In this activity your group can try to
imagine what happens during the life of a
star as they listen to a very special story.
written part of the invitation is on the in-
side. Then have them jazz up the outsides
of their invitations with some cosmic
Cosmic' Facts
• Ught travels at a speed of 186,282
miles (299,792 km) per second.
• A light-year is the distance light can
travel in a year, which is 6 trillion miles
(10 trillion km).
• From our solar system, it's about
30,000 light-years to the center of the
Milky Way.
• The Milky Way is about 100,000
light-years across and is very flat.
Answers to Earth Directions:
"Look for a spiral-shaped galaxy. Our solar system is in
one of the galaxy's arms. There are nine planets circling
our star, which we call the sun. We are planet number
To prepare for this star journey, you
will need to record some music to play
while you read the story below. (Sug-
gested selections are listed in the script)
When you're ready to start the activity,
have the children lie down on the floor
and close their eyes. Tell them they must
remain silent as they listen to the story.
• music (see sugges-
tions in activity)
• copies 0/ page 18
• crayons or markers
(Begin by playing some quiet, eerie mu-
sic, such as "Sonic Seasonings-Winter"
by W. Carlos. Keep the music at a low
volume as you read.)
Imagine that you are very cold-much
colder than ice. Your body is
cloud of gases mixed with dust You are
drifting in darkness. All around you it is
dark, cold, and empty. There is no heat.
Only darkness and freezing cold. Most of
your cloud is made of light gases, such as
hydrogen and helium (the same gas
that makes balloons float high in the sky).
Feel how light you are-lighter than a
feather, lighter than air. Your body
spreads out for thousands of miles into
space. You are a huge cl9Ud, drifting and
floating in darkness. (Put on some light
dance music such as D'ebussy's
"Snowflakes Are Dandng," and continue
to read.)
All the gases that make up your cloud
are themselves made up of tiny particles
called atoms. And all the atoms are spin-
ning very fast, moving constantly and
pulling on each other with the force of
gravity. Imagine those billions of tiny
atoms in your body, wiggling, jerking, and
tugging on each other like magnets. You
feel yourself gradually shrinking as the
particles inside you pull closer and closer
together. Your cloud is now getting
thicker, heavier, and more solid. Your
edges are curving into a round shape. You
have slowly become a giant dark ball. Feel
how round and even you are.
Your surface keeps shrinking and pulls
in tighter and tighter as you start to
spin-slowly at first, then faster and faster.
Now you are twirling like a top and speed-
ing through space at 10 miles per second.
There are other baIls of gas and dust
mOving around you in space. Feel your
gravity pulling on them and their gravity
pulling on you. Some· of these baIls will,
like you, become stars. Smaller ones may
become planets and maybe you will
become their sun. But you are not a star
'yet You are still very dark and are just
beginning to heat lip. (Play some upbeat,
rhythmic music such as "Infernal Dance of
King Kashchei," part of Stravinsky's Fire-
bird Suite.)
As your round body of gases and dust
continues to shrink, your insides continue.
to get hotter and hotter. The gas in your
center is being squeezed tighter and
tighter. Your core is getting so hot that you
begin to glow with a dim red light You are
red hot Feel the fUrnace of glowing coals
inside you. The light you give off shines
out through your hazy ou.ter layers of
cooler gases. You are now a protostar.
Around you other protostars are begin-
ning to glow too.
. You keep heating up more and more.
The fire in your center has reached 10
million degrees and nuclear reactions are
occurring inside your core. Your dim red
glow has changed into a bright yellow
light. You are now a star. Every reaction is
an explosion that releases energy in the
form of heat and light. You are like a huge
nuclear bomb. Imagine the blasts
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.
The explosions have changed and they
are pushing so hard on the outer layers of
your body that your wallS can't hold them
back. You begin to swell. Feel yourself
growing larger and larger. You are swell-
ing up like a giant balloon. For the first
time in millions of years there is more
space for your gases and so the particles in
your body start to move apart. As you
grow, you begin to get cooler. Your hot
yellow light cools to red and you grow 100
times bigger than you were. You are now
a red giant star-l 0,000 million years old.
As a red giant, you keep changing all
the time. Even though your outer layers
are cooler than they've been in millions of
years, violent nuclear reactions keep
erupting inside you-blOwing off whole
layers of your outer body. As you use up
your fuel, you begin to shrink-getting
smaller and smaller. Your molecules
become so tightly packed together that
one teaspoon of you would weigh as
much as an elephant does on Earth! (Put
on some slower music again, such as
"Carnival of Animals" by Saint-Saens,
and continue to read.)
You are .now very, very, very heavy.
With no more fuel to bum you slowly cool
down and become very dim.' You no
longer have a source of heat or light. You
are getting cooler, cooler, cooler. Now
you are completely cold ... a cold, dark
sphere drifting in space. You are a dead
All stars are born in vast clouds of gas
and dust called nebulae (1). As a nebula
collapses, the gas and dust it contains are
pulled into many spinning balls, or pro-
tostars (2). Gravity squeezes each pro-
tostar until it becomes so hot that nuclear
reactions occur-and when this happens
a star is born. Once a protostar has
become a star, it will bum for millions or
sometimes billions of years (depending on
how massive the star is when it's born).
A star with a very small mass-just
enough to start nuclear reactions-shines
with a reddish glow. These small, reddish
stars are called red dwarfs (3). Because
red dwarfs bum up their hydrogen fuel so
slowly, they may bum for billions of years
before their energy is used up.
Medium-sized stars, such as our sun (4)
and the star in the story, are about ten
times more massive and much hotter than
red dwarfs. They shine with a yellOWish
glow. (Astronomers can usually tell how
hot a star is by looking at its color. Cooler
stars are reddish-orange, warmer stars are
yellow, and the hottest stars are bluish-
white.) Medium-sized stars bum up their
fuel faster than red dwarfs and usually live
only for about ten billion years.
When red dwarfs and medium-sized
yellow stars die, they often follow the
Same path. First they use up their core
fuel, which causes them to collapse. This
triggers a final burst of energy and they
puff up into huge red qiants (S)-makina
• 'f,
... ___ -...
star. (Make music slowly fade out.)
At the close of the story, pass out copies
of page 18. Tell the kids that the story de-
scribed the life cycle of a medium-sized
. star such as our sun. Then explain that
there are many other types of stars, all of
which go through their own life cycles.
Have the kids refer to their sheets as you
discuss star life cycles using the informa-
tion below. (The numbers in parentheses
refer to the pictures on page lB.) After-
ward have the kids color the different
stages in the stars' life cycles. (Encourage
the kids to use the appropriate colors for
blue, red, or yellow stars.) .
them thousands of times larger than they
once ·were. When these red giants finally
use up their energy, they begin to shrink
until they become small, dense white
dwarfs (6). White dwarfs shine with a dim
light and gradually cool for billions of years
until they are cold, black spheres called
black dwarfs (7).
Some of the most massive stars in the
universe are the blue giants (B). These
stars are about 35 times more massive
than our sun and millions of degrees hot-
ter. They use up their. energy faster than
any other type of star and often bum for
only a few million years.
Once a blue giant has used up all of its
fuel, it puffs up into. a huge red supergiant
(9), which collapses and then expands in
an enormous explosion called a su-
pernova (10). The gas and dust spewed
into space by a supernova may form new
stars and planets.
During a supernova, a star becomes
brighter than it ever was before. Its core
collapses and it begins to shrink. Very
massive blue giants can become so dense
as they shrink that their gravity pulls
everything into them, and nothing-not
even light-can escape. They become
black holes (11). Less massive blue giants
can explode and collapse into spinning
dense spheres called neutron stars (12).
Neutron stars are so dense that a teaspoon
of their matter would weigh as much as
1(l nnn ..... 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-TRA Y-lisa
Aldebaran al-DEBB-uh-ran
Kochab KOE-kab
Alcyone al-SIGH-oh-nee
Lacerta la-SIR-tah
Alderamin al-DARE-uh-min
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
Dubhe DO-be
Thuban THEW-ban
Eltanin el-TAY-nin Vega VEE-gab (or, V A Y -gab)
Elnath e1-NATH Virgo VURR-go
Enif ENN-if Vulpecula vul-PECK-you-lah
Equuleus ek-KWOQ.lee-us
Wezen WEE-zen
Eridanus eh-RID-uh-nuss
Zubenelgenubi . zoo-ben-ell-jen-NEW-bee
Fomalhaut FOAM-al-ought Zubeneschemali zoo-ben-ess-sha-MA Y -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
only intelligent species in the
universe, and that life itself is an
integral part of the cosmic fabric,
has made astronomy much more
than the esoteric study it was
popularly pictured as back in the
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
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
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.

• Put the EARTH ~ T E S •••
\ of

" ..

• \

67 mUllon
. (108mU·
lion km) .'.
93 million
(150 mil-
890 million ':
miles " ..
1780 mll-
lion miles
(2870 mil-
2790 mil·
lion miles
lion krn)
3660 mil-
lion miles
million km)
7520 miles
7920 miles
1900 miles
(3060 krn)
Dense iron and nickel core sur-
rounded by rock. Surface covered
with craters, smooth lava plains, and
scarps (long steep cliffs).
Iron and nickel core'surrounded by'
rock. Surface covered with flat rocks,
rolling h1lls,.and mountains.
Iron and nickel core surrounded by
rock. Three-quarters of rocky surface
covered with water.
Iron core surrounded by. rock.
'face covered.with reddish.rocks, .• ;.;:
Almost no atmosphere. Traces of
helium, hydrogen, and oxygen
. ... -Very dense carbon dioxide"'-
.. ' ·atmosphere. ,Planet surrounded by
thlCkstilfuric.add clouds. .
Mostly nitrogen and oxygen, with
traces of other gases.
.. canyons, craters, ,:: ...
, p. caps of irozen:CarbOnjiloxiCie .'.':" .
·andwater.· .. ··: :,' ::' \ :':'," '.
. ,';:., .. ' . ,t.',.·.:' .
Small rocky core surrounded by
metallic and liquid hydrogen. Gaseous
Core of rock and ice surrounded by
both liquid and gaseous hydrogen.
Gaseous surface.
Core of rock and ice surrounded by
both liquid and gaseous hydrogen.
Gaseous surface.
Composition of core unknown. Sur-
face covered with methane ice.
. ,',".f." ,,: ':
Layers of brightly colored clouds
made up mostly of hydrogen. There
are also small amounts of helium,
methane, and ammonia.
" traces'ofhellum, .
. methane,. and crystallized ammo..
Hydrogen, helium, and traces of
other gases. Methane gives
atmosphere a greenish tint
Hydrogen, helium, and methane
gases. Atmosphere is a bluish color.
Very thin methane atmosphere.
24 hours
365 days
13-24 hours
84 years
. -. -,'

-:.::; ".:": :!-t
. ,.,'J.'.(
F (-20l0 C)
F (-188" C)
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
Francisco .
. :.', People.once.thoughtVenus might be covered'
. exotic life·fonns.Butas- .
'. tronomers'havediscovered,that it!s.teaIly a harsh
.thunder booms lightning
'. " ....... 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 .
Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a three-century old
storm, could swallow three Earths.
On Uranus, Winter and summer each last 21
Earth years. And night and day can each last as
long as 42 Earth years.
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.
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 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
-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 - 93 million miles .
away 9 VV\ I'll t>1s ,'-"- I .
-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 rr- -
the gas and dust it contains are pulled into many spinning balls, or
-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 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

Color, Size and Temperature
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
Blue Giant
White Dwarf
Yellow Sun
Red Supergiant
Red Giant
Red Dwarf
Blue Supergiant
Red Supergiant
Blue Giant
Red Giant
Yellow Star
Red Dwarf
White Dwarf
Some interesting star facts:
10,000 F
5,500 F
3,500 F
Star Order of Brightness
. 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".,
. d

// I
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.... -¥
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, -,I) • I
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"••• •••
.......... ;
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• !:lid ., :.
•••••••••• /'
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, 0 ,,g'_.
'.[ .:;f' ....
M 0;' e+.e .. 13
o <
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• ..
Castor .....•
Pollux....... .•.... _.

The Kids Hyades
• --... #.
Capella ... . . . .• ,j/f.i/ Aldebaran
:'AURIGA : Sa.lJlr, .. '
. '.
'" ., .• ,' TAURUS .•...
e" Rigel
. ". "Nb .
•. ' ..

continued A-om OIIcemtJer f.
A partW IOIer ecIJpIo II visible
for mud! of N America, as far
northeast al Long Island and
lOUIhwestem New England.
From the West Coast Of the
U.S., the panlal eclipse begins
around noon PST and II over
within an hour or two. But as
seen from east of long W,
the event starts late In the
aftomoon and the view of the
eclipse II terminated by &Unset.
Do not obaerve tho SuA
directly, either with unaided
cyo or through binoculars or a
telescope. Instead, tab a small
mirror and cover up most of its
surface with paper or masking
tape. Use the uncovered portion
of the mirror to reflect an Image
of the eclipsed Sun onto a wall
or ceiling of a room. UsIng thll
Ilmple method, seversl oeoDIe
Ilmultaneouaty can follOw the
variousl1ag •• of tho IOlar
eclJpae In complete ttfety. For
more Infunnlltlon on the eclipse
Including tlmel for various
c:ltlcs, check the web site:
nina planets: Smm Is
low In ENE: to E at dusk. climb-
I' 1"0 higher as month progresses.
/ Satum Is tho bright -star· In
Taurul, 4· from Aldebaran and
over a magnltudo brighter.
Moon COVIfS Satum night 01
1bun-Fd Dec 27-28: Saturn
disappears behind Moon's
leading dark edge before 9 pm.
In Hawall,lust after midnight
PST from West Coast, and
around 4 a.m. EST from East
Coast. For times for various
cities, see the web site
bnp;l/wyiw lynaT.
or;cuttatfool comBO',
visibility of this event acrosa
Canada and U.S.
Man Is In S to SSW at dusk,
about a fainter than
Saturn . .kqIIter Is very bright
(mag -2.1), rising In ENE within
2" hours after lunset on Dec 1,
shifting earlier to around
&unset at month'a end. Jupiter
Is In Gemlnl3r to 31· E of
Satum and follows it acroaa
the Gky during the night.
Is very low In SW to
WSW last few days of month.
MornIng Planetl: Jupiter II
la'!n:. ':,:.':t. W
progresses. Saturn fa low In
WNW at dawn at stan of
December, 3r lowor right of
Jupiter and settlnr around
aunrlso. By Dec 3 Saturn sell
2" hours tiefor8 BUnrise. Venus.
In flrlt few days of month,
has barely risen In ESE In
mid-twilight, about 45 mlnutOl
before sunrise. By mldmonth,
Venus rlsel only half an hour
before aunup, but mlgh1 still bo
seen with binoculars.
• Mondey Dec 3
• Kids
Use this scale to measure angular distances between objects on diagrams below.
bocombGr SUndoy, December 2
three hours after sunset
Mondo--y-Dec 3: Si1Um
at opposition, up all night.
Hyades 30 minutes before .unrbo:
10- 20-
Sat Dec " morning and evening:
Moon shown In first two boxes
of this row. Moon rises within
• Can you spot Venua lullt
At mag -4.4, Saturn outshines
nearby Aldebaran by nearty one
mag. RIngs 2e- from edgc-on.
one hour sher sunset this evening,
13"' lower leh of Saturn.
o 8cJndey Dec 2
Saturn.. risen In ESE? It gets closcr
Aldebaran to Sun and harder to see
with each passing day.
Tucaday Dec 4,
ono hour before .unriM
Dec 1-3,
one hour
sunrise 6U«-
Evening: Northommoat
Moon rises about ,,, hours
ehers aunscrt. About half an
hour leter, watch for Jupiter
rising to Moon's lower leh.
Moon will paat! closely N
Moon 0 .
before .unriM
• Betelgeu80

Moon o Dec 1 GEMINI
• Saturn Castor
'0 SundayZ
• Jupiter I Denebola
• Dura
... Aldebaran. • Jupiter.
W Hyades WNW Pollux
E bolt
of Jupiter In Monday's
predawn hours. Soo flrI1
box In this row. e Procyon
• • IUon'ltlllll
lalit Otr


... I.' ENE
Mon30 Look WSW to W.

Look high In S.
Dec9& 10,
one hour,
• zeta

Dec 10
SUndaYIWednesdaYDeC 12.
b. Dec 9 25 minutes
\ before .unrbo:
Gemma Use binoculars
for Venus.
ThuridaY-DeC 13,
25 minutes before IUnriao
solar eclipse:
see leh margin. Old
L. Moon
Night of Thursday,
December 13:
Gemlnld metoora
near peale. Best tlmo
to loolc 10 p.m.-6 a.m.
local time. when radlan1,
noar Castor, Is high
in the sky. Meteors
from this shower appear
New Moon 3:47 p.m. EST Friday Dec 14. Solar SatUrday Dec 15.
eclipse: Center of the Moon's shadow, where an 25 minutes altar .unset
annular or -ring- eclipse can be seen, first touches
Earth at sunrise in Pacific Occan near lat 30- N lust W Binoc:ufaJs help
of Inri Date Line. Tracking loutheastward, tho path of spot thin Moon
annublmy paaseslult S of HawaII. resulting In a deep In bright twilight.
partial eclipse there around 9:25 a.m. local time. 'tWo
hours later, the center of the luner shadow dipa just S
• Spica
ESE Venus d f ESI: Vi. onus.... s..e J&lower than those in
I .... I ... __ ._.-.mostothershowers.
of the Equator near long 12r W. Then it tums nonh- I Young
eastward to cross Costa Rica and Nicaragua and enter Moon
the Caribbean Sea, where It leaves Earth at sunset SW /' WSN
near long 16.1- W. lat 14.r N. continued In Id mll'(Jln. I ...... -(, .. 1.""0-. a.........L....
JTuelday 18
• Alpha
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
setting Sun. Note Moon fa balf lIIumlnatt:td. Excellent In binoculars!
, Alpha Winter begina in Earth's N hemisphere,
LlFri21 • lambda Aqr Aqr summer in tho southern.
e Mars In SSVV
, Mars, moving east ". per Capell: Kids Pollux·· before
• day against tho stars, passes Saturn.' 0 Mon 31 .unriso
I O.S-SEof4ttHnagLambda AURIGA
Delte Aqr Delte\COP in Aquarius. See next box left. Aldebaran·
Wed 19 • • Uranus .-
One hour ..J
aftor sunset sw Sunday 16
! OFriDec28
I ... ' See Dec 24.
sundiY bee Monday Dec 31. .jMon Dec 31,
Full Moon 40 mlnutea after 2" hours
5:40 a.m. EST .unset: Four naIIed-eye after.unaot
planeb apan 165-
Deepest penumbral along a line Inretchlng Castor
eclipse Sunday nearly hom horizon to
morning, opposite horizon:
5:29 a.m. EST, Morcwy vary low
2:29 a.m. PST, SW WSW .. _- II
12:29 &m. In ., we.
HawalL up In SSW, Saturn 10
Southern part E, and Jupiter low In
of Moon's disk ENE, at opposition
appears overnight.
noticeably dusky.
Robert C. Victor, Patti Toivonen
ISSN 0733·6314
binoculars) -:10"9
• • Full Moon
Jupiter·O Sunday 30
• Jupiter
Wed a Thu ... Dec 26 & 'D.
one hour aftel' sunset
Wed 26
Sat Doc 29 0 Full overnight
Sat 29
Castor • Jupiter Betelgeuse.
Jupiter I 0 Thurs 'D • .. 29
(mag -2.1) Satum.. • SundayO Watch Moon approach Jupiter all
at opposition In E • 'H ados 30. ENE E night. Compare Moon's polltlons,
tonight. • V Dec 29 in evening and Dec 30 In
Aldebaran morning, in previoua two boxes.
NIght of Thuraday Doc 'D: Moon occults (covel'll' Satum tonight from Hawaii and N Penumbral edJpao Sundav
Procyon America, everywhero S of a line from central British Columbia serosa W Canada to N morning: see next box.
e E shore of Lake Superior, then acrosa Ontario and N Vermont to S Maine. See leh margin
for times and web site for additional Information.
Subscriptions: $10 per year. from Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI 48824.
Skywatcher's Dial}' is available at www.po.msu.edujabromsjdial}..html.

• .•.
Ul '-J •• 'a.. " .
• .. • . ... O{/)··
c ..•.........• ·£-
(/) '.
Q < "
z ". r"'l ••••
< '.
.•.. {/)

Siy QII"".,ln fbd hal 01
ZOO2 wIIJ follow a 01
evening planet Unoupa and
gatllerfngL As year begins.
bright Jupiter la at ooll.r
opposition, In Gemini, low In
ENE at duak. Satum Is In E, In
Teurus near Aldebaran, while
Mara la well up In SSW, below
Greet Square of Pegasus.
Mercury Is very low In SW;
just emerged from Sun's far
side, It brings total to four
pbneta visible, on a long line .
stretching nearty from horizon
to opposite horizon. On
January 11, Mercury la tit its
hIgbeat for this appearance.
But Mercury fades lilto oolar
glare on near aide of Sun ten
dayalater, leaving only ...
Satum-Jupher. After Venus
emerges from far side of Sun
Into evening twilight In late
February, at least four planota
will be vlalble at dusk continu-
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
wit be Men together In 1M
weatam allyl After a aericla of
planet gatherings In earty May
and lubaequem departure of
Mercury and Saturn, tho
brlabtaat. Venus and JupitIr.
wIJJ pW up In eMy.IuM.
lit cIuU: JupIter
appears as brightest evening
·etar· of mag -2.7 to -2.8 In
Gemlnllaee Jan " 23-27, 31), .
gaining altitude In ENE to E 81
month progresses. Saturn Is In
E to SE, lOme 30- upper right
of Jupiter and one-tenth 81
bright. Saturn remains about
4- from Aldebaran, the Bull's
eye. M .. II well up In SSW to
SW, or to Sir W of Saturn.
Although a magnitude falmer

and Placet; 100
Jan 17-19, 24. Mercury II low
In WSW first throe weeb.
quite favorable and bright
umll mldmomh, then fading
rapidly In following weeIt.
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
(Meto-Mar-Sat.Jup) spens
on Jan 1, 144- during Jan 16-21.
WatdI Moon paIS them Jan
14-28. LIneup of throe bright
ou11Ir planets, Mars-Satum-
Jupiter, spana 163- on Jan 1,
on Jan 31. this threesome
remalnl visible at dU11c until
Saturn departl In late Mev.
January dawn.: Jvphor Is
low In WNW earty In momh.
It leta at sunrise on Jan "
one hour bofore sunup tit
mldmonth, and before start
of twilight In lato January. I
'Capell .. .' Kids
Jupiter at opposition.
visible all night.
Saturn 31-to
its upper right.
-0...,. •
• Ell
Epailon • * Jupiter
Use this scole to measure angular distances between objects on diagrams below.
Tuesday January 1 at dulk141S hours after sunaet
Saturn * • • • Hyades
Jan 1
January 2-4'1 Friday Jan 4
11S hours
before sunrise: Jupiter,
High SW to WSW retrograding
8 arcmlnutet
(just over 0.1-)
Catch Mercury before It seta _ per dav,
in WSW so- lower right Thurs 30 SICIC1E. passes 2.0- N
January 5-7,
", hours
before sultriae

Just past Last Otr

In Virgo
of Mars in SSW, and • Regulus of 3rd-m8gnitude
you'll see four planeta, ENe 0 Wed Jan 2 E 0 Epsilon In Gemini. • Spica InS
Me-Ma-Sa-Ju, spanning Regulus. Compare Jan 1,31.
167 across Wed 2
the s/cy. Jen 9-11, rs en 10 at Frf Jon 11, one hour Sat Jan 12
one hour Four planetl, Mercury-Mars- after sunset 25 minutes
. before lunriae Setum-Jupiter, Ipan 150- before sunriao,
- Castor Betelgeuse
- Rigel
acroes the s/cy. Compare S states
Jan 17. Tonight Mercury- Delu. CoP ..... + Uranus
• Pollux
ENE E belt
Momlng: Moon near Spica; see pt8VIous box. easv
Evenfngs thll week are best for seeing Mercury. Jd Moon
Look about 45 mlnutea to one hour after sunset. When you spot It. look Min
for lineup of four pIaneta. Mercury-Mers-Satum-Juplter, across tho s/cy.
en 11
8:29 a.m. EST.
Saturn, retrograding
very slowly, paf18C18 O.S-
N of 3.5-mag Epsilon In •
Taurus. This week la laot
good chance to lee MercUry
Monct.y .. an '4
Yonul It superior oonJunGtlon.
on far aide of Sun; will emerge
Into view at dUM by late
at dusk until ita noxt evening I Young Moon
appearance, mid-April to SW "
earfvMav· .
• Fomelhaul
Capella _ .. Klda
• Antarel
Mars=4S-, Mars·Saturn=7S-, 0/' (Use blnocul.rs
Saturn-Jupiter Juat over 30-. Gamm as slcy darken •. )
Also, Mercury In WSW, 31-
lower left of Altair In W 11r '-
and 31-lower right of from Sun •
Fomalhaut In SSW.
.t ....
..) Moon
four planets end Moon
within 144- (minimum
&pan' al Mercury fades
from mag +0.4 to +1.3.
Jupiter and Saturn are
30- apart. Moon paslcs
Mara aa shown In next
Delta Cop. + Uranus
• Fomalhaut
Thurs Jon 24 at dusIc

Watch Mars Thu 17..)
movc; seo Jan 24.
Moon noarly 5C of at dulk:
the way from Satum Moon
toward Jupiter, see hal

large box for Jan 23-27. overtaken
Delta Cqp
'-. +Uranus Monday 21
D First Quarter
Saturn* ••• Hyadea
Moon forms compact triangle
with Saturn and Aldebaran;
see previous box. Mars aligns
with E side of Great Square of
Pegasus this evening and
Friday. Watch Mara move
Frf Jan 25 at dualc:
Moon approaches Jupiter;
Jupiter until 2 hours see
CETUS SU,.y 20
Mercury at Inferior
conjunction, nearly IPollUX end Castor
between Earth and above
Sun. In evening, Moon Full
near Pollux and Moon 0
Three brIght
luperior planets
span 90-. Moon-Me-
Sa-Ju span 12:J-.
Castor; see large box
for Jan 23-27.
Robert C. Victor, Patti Toivonen
ISSN 0733-6314
• Pollux
frl250 -
In\E • Ell
o Set 28
Betelgeuse R19:11
out of alignment with
those two etars next week.
&los"an 29,
two hours after sun ...
Sau a 00-.
.0 Moon
-Regulus E _
before sunrise Jan 28. Jan 23-27.
one hOUl
before IUnriao
Moon SICICu •
Jupiter In E
\ .EII
EPII!0n*· Mu
Watch for
changes In thlll
pattern in Feb.
Subscriptions: $10 per year, from Sky Calendor, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, East lansing, MI 48824.
Skywatcher's Diary is available at www.po.msu.edu/obroms/diof}'.litm/.
Cosmic Dust
www.historyoftheuniverse.com r Web
Page 1 of 1
Basic Information Hotl] Pages Hotuwiki
EnvirQD.m_ent > Cosmic Dust
11.Bl11iQn Years.ag.Q
This site tells the story of the history of the universe. Click Earlier and Later to follow the story. Note:
M have been simplified to make them easier to understand.
We have seen that Dova and are major ways in which the new, heavy
nuclei made in red_gian1 stars are sent out into the galaxy, ready to be incorporated
into new stars and If this re-cycling did not happen, planets and could
never have begun.
As they are shot out of the star some f},toms gain too many (giving them a
negative electric charge) while others have too few (giving them a positive
charge). This type of atom is called an ion. These opposite charges attract strongly
and glue the atoms together. This type of gluing is called an iQuicbond.
The atoms pack in close together to form tiny crystals we call grains of cosmic
dust. Some of them will eventually form the rocks of the Earth.
These dust grains are blown out of dying stars and mix with the original of the
Galaxy to form dust clouds. The disc of the galaxy became thick with dust.
. AdsJw. GoogIe' CQ$rnic.B.ab.y Co.smic Bugs CosmiG Carbone
.. .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 BJ2tuwiki
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a.ma2;On.COm .
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Cosmic dust - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cosmic dust
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cosmic dust is composed of particles in space which are a few
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
obscures objects they wish to observe. When infrared astronomy
began, those so-called annoying dust particles were observed to
be significant and vital components of astrophysical processes.
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
Page 1 of6
; .... --.-----... - ..... -...................... - .... -.-... --..... --...... --.. i
Porous chondrite interplanetary dust particle.
Courtesy ofE.K. Jessberger, Institut fUr
Planetologie, MUnster, Germany, and Don
Brownlee, University of Washington, Seattle,
under a cc-a-2.S license.
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---·····----···· .. ---·-··-···--------····----·---··---
I Contents
• 1 Detection methods
• 2 Some bulk properties of cosmic dust
Cosmic dust - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Page 2 of6
• 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
Smooth chondrite interplanetary dust particle.
Courtesy ofE.K. Jessberger, lnstitut fur
Planetologie, MUnster, Germany, and on
Brownlee, University of Washington, Seattle,
under a cc-a-2.S license.
Other specific du
I In circumstellar (
signatures of CO.
aromatic hydroca
among others. (Ir
evidence for silic
• In collected lOPs (asteroidal plus cometary}, the elemental·
• chondritic, 60%;
• Iron-sulfur-nickel, 30%;
• Mafic silicates, which are iron-magnesium-rich silica
• Cometary dust is general1y different (with overlap) from aSI
carbonaceous chondritic meteorites, and cometary dust rese:
elements, silicates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and \i
Page 3 of6

1; lito :4. C!i';.·: 'I:
g " Ilat I'.! .1. t " • ..u. If. i
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, • !'. :
Ai S ._.:.f!. c. _!'e .;
( 0
of :
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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"
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
---- ---- - -- -- -.
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)
Comet dust
. Asteroidal dust
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t I I
. _ .... _ .._._ ..... __ ....................... _ .. __ ....••. _..... .. _...... _._ ................... __ ._ ............. _ ...__ .... __ " ... _ ......... _._ .. ,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 (\
S o l a ~ 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 ..... +
1 ?.I?.O/200f)
, ~ .. -' ...
Planetarium Program for
Austin Independent School District
2nd Grade
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
students learn from using a model -Concepts:
-Content: students study content of earth, moon, sun, stars
The Planetarium program addresses the following Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills:
Scientific Principles:
Properties, Patterns,
and Models:
1 a(2
)-demonstrate safe practices-home and school
)_ask questions
)-explanations based on information and draw conclusions
,,-communicate explanations
3a(2° )-make decisions using information
)-justify merits of decisions
)-explain a problem and propose a solution
)-manipulate, predict, identify parts separated from whole may not work
)-classify and sequence organisms, objects, events
)-identify characteristics of nonliving objects
Constancy and Change: 7d(2
)-observe, measure, record changes in weather, night sky, seasons
Form and Function: 6a(2
)-manipulate, predict, identify parts separated from whole may not work
,', .

</:il; .. c .. :.,':. ••• ;;:

.. :;,.' " ,.::;':; .. , '. STARLAB Portable Planetarium
.• ".".".' •.... ..• ' •.. ..
, " ,
. '. •• .
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.
Star Lab
Side View
11' Dome
! ",
0' __ )

') _.J
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
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
by J.R. Rey
Suggested name tag pattem:
Astronomy Handbook
by James Muirden (Arco, 1982)
National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe
by Roy A. Gallant (National Geographic, 1986)
Children's Books:
The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System
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)

(0, ..
Ursa Major .
Ursa Minor
_If. - ..... - ~ __ -------0 --------- ... -.- - - ~
"iL"np'·iiiMiii '§.b'iintii
' '.!: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?"
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.
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?
• 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)
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Color, Size aDd Temperature
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: . 14 r
(.oao r-
Blue Supergiant S>" '< ..(.c.. (. e.... J § J !! ]!I It"
Blue Giant
White Dwarf
Yellow Sun
Red Supergiant
Red Giant
Red Dwarf
Blue Supergiant
Red Supergiant
Blue Giant
Red Giant
Yellow Star
Red Dwarf
White Dwarf
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3,J'0 £ lL..
3 $"0
Star Order of Brightness
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
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-
c:.." , ....... \l-
perature (how much energy it
radiates)-not on how far away it is from
Earth. .
Now have seven kids come up and give
each of them one of the seven stars you
drew. Explain that each star's color shows
how hot it is. Arrange the stars in order of
temperature, going from hot to cool (blue
supergiant, blue giant, white dwarf, yel-
low sun, red supergiant, red giant, and red
dwarf). Explain that the hottest stars are
blue or white, wann stars are yellow,' and
the coolest starS are orange or red. That
means that if you compared equal-sized
blue and yellow stars, the blue star would
radiate more energy and have a higher
temperature than the yellow star. It would
also shine brighter.
But since stars are different sizes, as
well as different temperatures, their
brigl)tness depends not only on how he:
they are but also how big they are. Ask
your group how the size of a red gia'1:
affects its brightness as compared with the
brightness of a blue star. (Even though a
red giant is not as hot as a smaller blue
star, it would look brighter because it is so
much bigger.) Then arrange the stars in
order of brightness (blue supergiant, red
supergiant, blue giant, red giant, yellow
star, red dwarf, white dWarf).
Finally, experiment with size, tem-
perature, and distance. For example.
have the blue supergiant take several
steps back and the red supergiant take
several steps forward. Ask which w c ~ . :
look brighter in the sky. (The red super-
giant, because it would be so much
A Script (of sorts) for using the Evening Star Map
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 of a 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 of you. Who would like to read the top of the page? lfyou went OIIt 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 if you went out before or after the stated time. The map is still good.
Who would like to read the directions at the bottom of the page? Wow. that sounds simple. but how do wefigure
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 of the
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. if you 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.
If you are facing the North Star which direction.you are facing? Yea! North is right. Everyone turn so you are
facing North. Now, if you are ever lost in the middle of nowhere you can look to the night sky, find the Big
Dipper, connect the two stars at the end of the 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 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 if you 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 ask one child to point it out
on the poster with the laser 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.
. -
l ~ M . ' )
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 of students permit have students/comets pass through groups/solar
~ 1
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. .
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.
Part III: Resource Support
Site Needs: Multipurpose Room
Participant Thresholds: 25 students maximum, 2 adults .
Planetarium n
Page 2
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 s t a r ' ~ 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 ~ r t V: Program Script for Grades 2-5
supernova 1987A (Bejore&Ajier)
tars are giant balls of hot gas. They're also
a lot like people. They're born, live
through a long middle age, and, ultimately,
die. They come in different sizes and ~ o l o r s .
Many spend their lives with constant c;:ompan-
ions; others, like our Sun, go it alone. And, like
people, stars change as they age. But because
the changes take place over millions and bil-
lions of years, an individual star looks pretty
much the same over the course of many human
lifetimes. A photograph of the night sky, howev-
er, like a picture taken in a mall that shows peo-
ple of all ages, can capture stars in different
stages' of their lives. Careful study of the differ-
ences we see in stars has given astronomers a
sense of what goes on inside stars and how they
change with time.
Stars come in different sizes. The Sun is
actually a bit on the small side, when compared
to its stellar cousins; as such, it is known as a
dwarf star. The largest stars can have hundreds
and even a thousand times the diameter of the
Sun; not surprisingly, they're known as giant
and supergiant stars. The smallest stars are not
much bigger than the planet Jupiter. Stars also
appear different colors, depending on the tem-
perature at the star's gaseous surface. The
coolest stars are nearly 5000 degrees Fahrenheit
(about the same temperature as the filaments in
incandescent lightbulbs), while the hottest stars
reach a sweltering 90,000 degrees Fahrenheit!
Cool stars appear red; hot stars are bluish-white.
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
bright star that represents Orion's right shoulder,
shines bright red. Looking down toward the
. Hunter's left knee, you find another bright star,
Rigel, which sparkles with a bluish-white color.
All the stars in the sky (including our Sun)
are moving through space, most with speeds of
many kilometers per second, although it may
not seem that way to us. When we look at the
night sky, we see basically the same star pat-
terns as the ancients did. That's because the
stars are so very, very far away that their
motions appear tiny to us, even over the course
of hundreds and thousands of years of watch-
Stars are born out of the huge clouds of gas
and dust that fill some of the space between the
stars. Occasionally, the densest parts of these
reservoirs of cosmic "raw material" become
unstable and begin to contract, the force of
gravity pulling each atom toward the center. As
the cloud continues to shrink, gas in the center
gets denser and heats up. Temperatures and
pressures build until they finally become so
high that hydrogen atoms are forced to "fuse"
together, with four hydrogen atoms becoming
one helium atom [stars are almost all hydrogen
t _,
1\'\C"\ )

I Background: Stars
(92%); the rest is helium, with trace amounts of
other elements]. This process is known as
hydrogen fusion (note that the same thing hap-
pens in the warhead of a nuclear bomb). Fusion
liberates an enormous amount of energy. Fusion
energy creates a pressure that balances the
weight of the star's upper layers, halting the
contraction. The star then shines steadily, pow-
ered by the hydrogen fusion in its center, as it
enters stellar middle age.
Our Sun is now about half way through its
middle age. It has been "fusing" hydrogen in its
center for about 5 billion years, and will contin-
ue to do so for another 5 billion. How long a
star lasts, from the initial contraction of a gas
cloud to its final death throes, depends on how
massive it is. The Sun is just an average star;
stellar masses range from a hundred times that
of the Sun to just under a tenth. Massive stars
'live fast and die young, cramming an entire life-
time into a few million years before they biow
themselves to bits. Smaller stars live qUietly for
tens and hundreds of billions of years and die
much less spectacularly.
All stars, regardless of mass, eventually run
out of hydrogen "fuel" in their centers. They
begin to die. No longer able to support the
weight of their outer layers, their cores contract,
increasiqg central temperatures until helium
atoms fuse together to form carbon ones. As
before, energy released during the fusion halts
the contraction and the star temporarily regains
some measure of stability. In the meantime, the
outer layers swell and cool, dramatically increas-
ing the diameter of the star; during this so-called
"red giant", phase, the Sun will expand out past
the Earth's orbit (bad news for any Earthlings
still around). What happens next depends on
the star's mass.
When they finally run out of helium fuel in
the center, stars like the Sun (and less massive
ones too) are truly facing the grave. The core
collapses under the tremendous weight of the
star. The outer layers are gently ejected away
from the star, exposing the core to space. When
the' core finally stops contracting, its material is
so densely packed that a single teaspoonful
would weigh over 15 tons! This stellar remnant
is called a white dwarf. It initially glows from
heat left over from the contraction and from bil-
lions of years of nuclear fusion. But, with no
new source of energy, the stellar corpse gradu-
,ally cools and slowly fades from sight, a stellar
ember feebly glowing in the cosmic fIreplace.
Stars more' massive than the Sun do not exit
so gently. When they've exhausted their helium
reselVes, they too begin to contract. However,
compression from their tremendous weight
allows additional elements to fuse together in
their centers (for example, carbon fuses to
become neon), releasing energy and halting the
contraction, giving the stars a series of tempo-
rary reprieves. But, ultimately, fusion stops and
nothing can stop the inevitable core collapse.
This time" the collapse is accompanied by an
explosive ejection of the outer layers-a super-
nova explOSion-that literally tears the star
. In the meantime, the core shrinks dramati-
cally. If, after the supernova explosion, the left-
over mass is about 2-3 times that of the Sun, the
core collapses until its material is so densely
packed that a sugar-cube-sized lump weighs 100
million tons! The remnant is called a neutron
star because it consists mostly of super-com-
pressed neutrons. If the post-supernova mass is
higher still, no force in nature can stop the col-
lapse. The core shrinks and shrinks and shrinks,
until, finally, all its mass is crunched into some-
thing with zero diameter and infinite density! It
is a black hole; black in the sense that noth-
ing-not even light-can escape from it, and a
hole in the sense that things can fall in, but they
can't get back out.
Massive stars may lead more interesting lives
than those like the Sun, but there aren't very
many of them. Most stars, in fact, have even
smaller masses than the Sun. Something in the
process of star formation seems to favor the cre-
ation of a lot of smaller stars over that of a few
large ones. Perhaps half of all stars form in
pairs, with two (and sometime more) stars
bound together by their mutual gravitational
attraction. These travel through space together,
caught in a kind of cosmic square-dance as they
orbit around one another.
Despite all we now know about stars and
their lives,. perhaps the most surprising thing we
have learned is that, without stars, we wouldn't
be here. Indications are that the cosmos began
with only hydrogen and helium, from which it
would not have been possible to construct any-
thing as interesting as one of our students.
Nearly all the atoms in our bodies, and in our
chairs, our gardens, our cars, and in nearly
Background: Stars I
evetything we see around us, originated in the
centers of massive stars. The atoms were origi-
nally "cooked" in the nuclear frres deep inside
these stars. Then, when these stars exploded at
the end of their lives, the newly created atoms
were thrown out into interstellar space. There
they gathered together, fOrming new clouds of
gas and dust, which ultimately contracted as new
stars were born. Some of the atoms made their
way into the planets that circled one particular
new star, and eventually into the life that sprang
up on the one called Earth. We are truly star stuff.
" •• , •. :. :/'.': :-.".' ••. ' .. _.,;. \"L"t .•• ' .. !: •.•.....• • . : ... I. ••• .t, J .... :. :J .. :. :,....·1:.. •• · ... '" ........ .. ::.: ..... ......
.. 0 ................. ..... ,.' •• _ ••• ,.......... • • .. ••• , ................................ ••• _.'_._ •• ......... - ... - ••.•..•..• --
tandout Stars
Getting to know a few of the bngh!est
In the night sky will help you anent
',urself even better durin" ynur J1(lCtumal
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
t'earest evening, There are 88 constellations
. the entire sky. About 60 can be seen from
Ie U.S. throughout the year, but at any
ven· time of night you can only view about a
)zen. There are approximately 30 very
ight stars. Here are seven: '
Sin'us. The in the entire sky, Sir-
. s "scorcher" in Greek. Sirius is part
. the BIg Dog constellation, which you can
!e on the southern horizon most of the year.
ecause it is low on the horizon, it takes a
clear night to see the other stars in the
>DsteDation besides Sirius. On some star
aps the Big Dog is labeled with its Latin
me .• Canis Major. Sirius and the Big Dog
n be found in the sky by the line
ade b)· Orion's belt southward about three
.nd-spans.· .
A rr:lJlnlS. The fourth brightest star is a
auuf.;.: ;range coJor-25 times bigger than .
r sun and 100 as bright Cif vieWed
m the same distance). To find ArctU11lS
In 01 the Herdsman [Bootes 1 consteDation)
ow the arc of the Big Dipper's handle away
m the bo'Yl, until you spy a very bright
r. That's Arcturus.
" Rigtl. The seventh brightest star is located
in the consteUation Orion, below Orion's well-
known belt (three stars in a row). Rigel is
Orion's (oot. 1'his bluish white star Is enor·
mous--33 times the diameter of our sun and
46,000 times brighter. It is so far away that
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. Scorpion skirts our southern
horizon during the smnmer months, then dips
below the horizon in winter .
Altair. The eye of the Eagle consteDation .
this yellowish white star is number 12 in
brightness. The Eagle is a beautiful P-"
stellation "flying" down the Milky \\" :
you find Altair (go from the Dragon·s tc
Vega and then beyond to Altair), you have
found the Milky Way. On some star maps tht
Eagle is labeled by its Latin name. Aquila.
Vega. White Vega, part of the consteDation
Lyra, is the fifth brightest 'star in the night
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
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
is 1.600 light-years away and about 50,000
times brighter than the sun. Like Altair,
when you find Deneb, you are also a
tht.- Milky WelY. .
TIle Summer Triangle. The stars Vega. AJ
lair. and Deneb fonn a large
swnmer sky familiar to aD navigator! .
you find· it?
(Taken from J.Emory's NightprowlBfS)

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