Let’s be stargazers

Suitable for:6 to 10, 11 to 16, 16+

For curious minds, stargazing can be a great introduction to science or classical literature or both. It’s fun, it’s free – it’s basically thinking about the universe with your housemates and maybe drinking some hot chocolate. What’s not to like?

It’s better than TV

There’s more epic drama and bloodthirsty action in the night sky than an episode of your favourite show. This is because a long time ago, the ancient Greeks named constellations (groups of stars) after characters in their myths and stories. For example, Andromeda is a beautiful princess with sea monster problems. Perseus is the hero who slays the sea monster. Pegasus is his flying horse.

Feeling inspired?

Start a Stargazing Diary to record what you see each night. Sketch out the constellations you can see and make a note of their names, and keep looking as different constellations will be visible on different nights. Draw a picture of the moon every day for a week to see how it changes. Write your own myth about one of constellations you see. Share your thoughts and inspire others to look up!

#stargazingsheffield

Night sky with stars
Night sky with stars

The traditional way to stargaze is to lie flat on the ground, if you have a garden you could bring a blanket or a mat. Nights can be cold even in summer so make sure you’ve got food, drink and warm clothes. You’ll need to pick a night when the sky is clear. Torches are a good idea too. If you do not have a garden, take a look at the view from your window.  

There are apps you can get that will tell you what you’re looking at. You’ll also need pen and paper for your Stargazing Diary.

Constellations. Meteor showers. Shooting stars. What you see depends on where you are and what time of year it is. To find out what’s happening in your part of the sky visit the Go Stargazing site, or search the app store for SkyView, an augmented reality app that will help you identify stars, constellations and satellites. And if you’d like to know more about Greek mythology and stars, check out this site.