Home School Years

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

National Astronomy Day

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Day & Night: The Sun and The Moon

The Sun

Our World

National Astronomy Day is this Saturday, May 10th. As part of the week-long theme, our library hosted a special Star-gazer’s Night in conjunction with the local Astronomical Society. We participated in the event, which included educational discussions about the solar system, our local night’s sky, Galileo Galilei, U.S. Space Program missions, helpful educational software programs for home use, question and answer session, as well as learning about telescopes and time spent looking at our Moon.

Some of the key things discussed:

  • A fun way to learn/remember the names of the planets in order from the Sun: MVery Educated Mother Just Served UNoodles (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune)
  • Although Mercury is closest to the Sun, Venus is actually the hottest planet, due to its greenhouse effect atmosphere
  • The four inner planets (inside Asteroid Belt) are terrestrial (rocky) while the four outer planets (outside Asteroid Belt) are gas giants
  • Astronomers measure distance based on Astronomical Unit (AU)
  • One AU = @ 93 million miles
  • The distance from the Earth to the Sun is one AU
  • Comparing size: the Sun is about 899,000 miles across, while the Earth is about 7,000 miles across
  • The speed of light is about 8 minutes from the Sun
  • Saturn’s rings are made up of snow, ice, icebergs, rocks and broken asteroid material; all traveling at about 40,000 mph
  • Suggested astronomical software helpful for home use were Stellarium and The Virtual Moon Atlas

We learned a lot of neat things during this event so we plan to also attend the National Astronomy Day event this Saturday night at a local state park, weather permitting. Check with your local community website calendar, library or astronomical society to see what events they might be having to celebrate National Astronomy Day this week. These are fun, family friendly, educational community events.

Related Resource:

Interactive Sky Map

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This entry was posted on May 8, 2014 by in Astronomy, History, Holidays, Science and tagged , , , .
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