Stars

Winter is a good time to learn about stars. With daylight hours at their shortest, the evening stars come out early. So you can go outside and look at the stars without having to stay up late. This page will give you some star activities to do and questions to answer.


How many stars are there in the Solar System?

What is the name of the brightest star we see in the sky? Scientists have a numbering system for the brightness of stars. The numbering system uses bigger numbers for dimmer stars. What is the brightness (or magnitude) of this bright star?

What is the name of the brightest star we see in the night sky?

Where is the north star (Polaris)? Is it the brightest star in the night sky?

Go outside and look for the constellation Orion. Can you find a red star in Orion? It is found where the hunter's right shoulder would be. It's name is Betelgeuse. Its red color tells us it is cooler than most other stars, including Rigel, a bright blue-white colored star found in the hunter's legs. Betelgeuse's brightness or magnitude looks like .5 and Rigel's looks like .12.

Long ago sky watchers found imaginary figures in the sky which were called constellations. Modern astronomers have divided the sky up into 88 constellations. Some constellations are easy to make into shapes or pictures by imagining lines connecting the stars. Look at a sky map for the current month, found at YourSky, and see if you can find a couple of the following constellations this winter.

Try making up your own constellations by finding picture patterns in the stars.

Links to individual constellation pages can be found here and here.
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