From Here To Kolob



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The very fact that almost certainly, virtually every dot up there in the sky is another star or celestial body that is vastly larger that Earth itself, not by twice or ten times but by factors of hundreds and thousands, can be a mind blowing idea to kids. Children have enough trouble imagining the size of earth itself, much less something on such a grand scope as outer space. 

Constellations also have been important in culture and navigation long before we had sophisticated systems of navigation. Early explorers, particularly by sea, relied exclusively on the night sky to help them find their way to their destination. In fact, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and discovered America, he could not have done it without astronomy and the help of navigation of the cosmos, much of which is made possible because of the important constellations. 

For many of us who are city dwellers, we don t really notice that sky up there on a routine basis. So it might be that once a year vacation to a camping spot or a trip to a relative s house out in the country that we find ourselves outside when the spender of the night sky suddenly decides to put on it s spectacular show. 

Radio astronomy uses sophisticated sensor equipment to study ALL of the frequencies of energy coming to us from the cosmos. In that way, these scientists can see everything that is going on out there and so get a precise idea of how the stars look, behave now and will behave in the future. For some of us who have heard about radio astronomy, we think of it in terms of listening for signs of life in the universe. 

When the next big meteor shower is about to explode over your area, watch the weather for a clear night and get your kids excited about what they are about to see. As the lights begin to go off over head and you create fun and interesting narration to this dramatic display, the children will be addicts for life for the great experiences that can be had as students of astronomy. 

But of the many celestial phenomenons, there is probably none as exciting as that time you see your first asteroid on the move in the heavens. To call asteroids the rock stars of astronomy is simultaneously a bad joke but an accurate depiction of how astronomy fans view them. Unlike suns, planets and moons, asteroids are on the move, ever changing and, if they appear in the night sky, exciting and dynamic.