What Is Astronomy

What is astronomy? Astronomy is the science of studying all the material beyond our planet's atmosphere. This includes the sun, the planets that orbit our sun, the moons that orbit our solar system's planets, other solar systems, other galaxies and outer space formations.

Most children are fascinated by the subjects discussed in astronomy lessons. When sharing astronomy lessons with your children, you can explore many concepts that are otherwise difficult to tackle.

The Scale Of The Universe: You can explain the concept of drawing something to scale as you tell children how many earths could fit inside our sun and how many miles away the sun is from the earth. The answers, by the way, are that 1 million earths can fit inside the sun, and the sun is 90 million miles away from the earth.

The Size Of The Universe: Take your kids for a one-mile walk as you discuss the whole idea of how BIG the universe is. Then tell them how many miles away the sun is and how many miles make up the earth's circumference. Have them try to figure out how they could possibly make a solar system to scale-and let them see that it's impractical to do so. You can see a to-scale model online by visiting phrenopolis.com. If you happen to live near Aroostook County, Maine, you can visit the largest to-scale solar system model. If you don't, you can get more information about the model from the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Nuclear Energy: Explore the concepts of nuclear energy as you discuss the energy of the sun and other stars. If possible, visit a nuclear power plant nearby, and ask questions about the similarities between the energy produced by nuclear power plants and the actual sun. If you don't have a nuclear power plant near you, check out this virtual tour at dom.com.

The Lives Of The Stars: Check out the Hubble Space Telescope online, and look for planetarium exhibits for constellation shows. As you and your kids learn more about the science of astronomy, you may want to check out local asteroid shows and start watching the stars and planets through a telescope at night.

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