Classroom Constellations

An image of the orion constellation

This lesson begins with a presentation on Constellations. Students are introduced to the Northern sky and discus topics such as: What is a constellation? What are the names of some constellations? Why are some stars brighter than others? and How do we label stars?

The activity of this lesson involves students choosing a constellation and using metal food foil and a mobile phone (or other torch) to project it onto the ceiling of the classroom.

Age Range: 7-9 years
Prep. Time: 20 mins
Lesson Time: 20 mins
Cost per activity: Printing of student’s worksheets
Includes the use of: Northern star map, mobile  phone or torch, white sheet of paper, shirt button, 20 x 20 cm food foil, laptop.

Slide Pack

Teachers Guide

Student Guide

Changing Times with a Planisphere

This activity follows on from Locating Objects on a Planisphere.

In this activity, you will continue to familiarise yourself with a planisphere and discover the impact of the motion of the Earth on where stars appear in the sky.

Teacher Guides

Student Guides

Keywords: planisphere, observing the sky, sidereal time, co-ordinates

Locating objects on a Planisphere

The positions of stars are found using their celestial co-ordinates just as objects on Earth can be located by latitude and longitude.

Depending on where you stand on Earth, what you see in the sky will vary. Using a planisphere allows us to work out what is above us and where it has been or will be.

This activity will help you understand how a planisphere works. You will learn to locate constellations and stars on a planisphere, and to assign celestial co-ordinates to stars. The activity also explores the visibility of objects in the sky throughout the year.

Before beginning the activity, you may wish to look at the ‘Calibrating the Planisphere’ activity first and also be aware of which latitude planisphere you are using:

Calibrating the Planisphere

Teacher Guide

Student Guides

Keywords: planisphere, observing the sky, mapping, co-ordinates

Colour the universe

Why is the Sun green in a photo taken with a UV camera? We can’t actually see UV light, so the colour of the photo was just chosen to be green!

In this assignment, you can choose any colour scale for an image of space taken to capture a specific wavelength of light. This activity is about making space images more interesting to look at! Which colours make the image look the most interesting?

This material is also available in:

Keywords: colour, light, wavelength

Learning about colours in astro photography

In astrophotography, colours are treated in different ways – telescopes generally do not take colour pictures, but use special filters to capture light in particular parts of the optical spectrum (e.g. red light only). This interactive app from the Faulkes Telescope project will show you how colour images are made using different filters, combining them to make various types of “colour image”.

Access online telescopes

Gain access to the Faulkes Telescope project, where teachers and students can access a global network of telescopes. Both live- and queue-based observations are available.

Choose what you want to observe and get your own pictures of planets, galaxies and nebulae.

Access to the Faulkes Telescope project is available for teachers and students in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Latvia through Online Observatory – do not miss out on this opportunity!

The sky above us

The rotation of the Earth is investigated by observing the length of a toy figure’s shadow in the course of a day.

As an extended task, you can use the Stellarium software to investigate the movements of the Sun. Alternatively, the students can make real observations of the position of the Sun in the sky in the course of a year (the analemma pattern).

This material is also available in:

Keywords: sky, diurnal motion, daily motion, shadow, Sun, analemma