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Activities

Observing the night sky

Background

The night sky is full of stars. Like the sun, stars rise in the east and set in the west. Depending on their size and temperature (how hot they are), stars appear blue, red or yellow. 

Aim

To observe that stars are not all identical.

To observe that stars move in the sky and have a definite path. 

Activities

Observe the eastern sky in the late evening, when the sky is still lit. Do you see any stars? Keep observing the same part of the sky as it gets dark. Observe the first star you see. Note down the time. Continue to watch as it grows more and more dark and keep your attention of the first star you saw. Do you see other stars in the neighbourhood? Among them do you see any star brighter than the first star you saw? Draw sketches of the sky you watched at various times and represent each star with a dot. A bigger dot for a bright star and a smaller dot for a less bright star. Note down the time too.

Choose a star in the eastern sky. Find a way of remembering which one it is (it will be easier if you choose a bright star). Every hour, watch where in the sky your chosen star is. Is it in the same place it was when you first observed it?

On consecutive days, make similar observations of the eastern, western, northern and southern skies at 7 and 10 O’clock. Draw sketches of the sky. Mark all the bright stars. Mark all the stars that appear red, blue or yellow. Do not forget to note down the date and time of your observations. After a month, repeat the same activity. Do you see any differences in your sketches?

Choose some stars in a small region of the sky. Draw imaginary lines between them to form a figure. It could be as simple as a triangle or as complicated as the head of an animal. Observe if this figure changes during the night.Observe the same region over many days. Does your figure change? 

Related Questions

If the sun is also a star, why does it appear in the day and not at night?

What happens to the stars during day time?

The sun and the moon appear to be almost the same size. Does this mean that both of them are at the same distance away from the earth?

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