Astronomers say there are 300 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Just let that sink in for a moment. Close your eyes and imagine what flying through space must look like. To our eyes they are teeny tiny insignificant specks in the sky, but image them for what they really are – massive, glowing giants.
For those of us who live in a city or suburb, those tiny insignificant specks in the sky may not seem very awe-inspiring. It should be on everyone’s bucket list to, just once, stargaze in an open field, on a clear night, away from the city lights, like our ancestors used to do. This is especially important for our children. Why?
1. Stargazing gives them a chance to see God’s handiwork.
How anyone can see an image of our sun and then a clear sky packed with similar stars and not recognize God’s handiwork is beyond me.
2. Stargazing can show a child his importance.
I don’t know if there is life beyond our planet or how much of it, but if you think about it, it is pretty amazing that you were created and were chosen to be placed on our particular planet. Our little planet, in our little solar system, in this massive universe of ours. Little ol’ you.
3. Knowledge of astronomy is a wonderful scientific background.
Even if your child doesn’t plan on being an astronomer, knowledge of the chemistry and physics of space will help them in any scientific career.
4. Scientific discovery.
Today, each one of us is affected in some way by an advancement in astronomy. Those advancements, in medicine and energy for example, began with stargazing.
5. Stargazing is an enrichment.
Similar to music or art, some people say it is an unnecessary waste of time, but I believe it is an enhancement to your life, and a way to enrich not only your education, but your relationship with the Creator.
6. Problem minimization.
Looking at the vastness of the universe makes us realize that our little problems are pretty insignificant sometimes. This concept can be used to help teach our kids not to sweat the small stuff.
7. Amateurs can make contributions.
Very few fields actually accept help from amateurs, especially kids. There are numerous scientific websites that ask for help in their astronomy research projects. For example:
If you are looking for the perfect book to help you get your kids started with stargazing, I’d like to share Starfinder from DK Publishing with you. The book contains a very important tool – a sturdy, removable and easy to use planisphere. A planisphere is a star chart that can be set to show the location of objects in the sky for any given date and time. You rotate the wheel to place the time next to the date and you have your sky in the viewable window.
In addition to the handy planisphere, the book contains monthly charts to show exactly what both the northern and southern hemisphere look like, how-to sections on observing the Moon, planets, and other major aspects of our solar system. Also, it teaches you not only how to identify constellations, but the history of those constellations as well.
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