By Meg Thacher
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In this highly visual guide to observing the sky with the naked eye, kids aged 9–14 will delve into the science behind what they see. This captivating book offers a tour of our solar system and deep space, explaining how objects like Earth’s moon were formed and introducing the “why” behind phenomena such as eclipses, northern lights, and meteor showers. Sky gazers will learn how to find and observe planets — no binoculars or telescopes required — and star charts will show them how to spot constellations through the seasons and in both hemispheres.
Activities include tracking the cycles of the sun and moon and observing the sky during daylight hours or on a cloudy night. Includes profiles of professional astronomers and sidebars on space technology and current issues, such as light pollution.
The mission of Storey Publishing is to serve our customers by publishing practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment.
Edited by Deborah Burns
Art direction and book design by Jessica Armstrong
Text production by Erin Dawson
Indexed by Samantha Miller
Illustrations by © Hannah Bailey
Star wheel information courtesy of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Cover photography by Carolyn Eckert (inside back, author); © Dennis di Cicco/Sky & Telescope (back, c.); ESO/S. Brunier (inside, front & back); NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) (back, b.r.); NASA Scientific Visualization Studio (back, t.l.)
Interior photography by:
Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona, 116 t.
Adolf Vollmy/Wikimedia, 115 b.
© Akira Fujii/David Malin Images, 25 l., 89, 97
© Alan Dyer, 91
© AlexaSava/Getty Images, 42
© Ali Candad Photos/Alamy Stock Photo, 30
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/E. O'Gorman/P. Kervella/Wikimedia, 117 (Betelgeuse)
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Andrews et al., N. Lira, 86 r.
© Andrew Hicks/iStock.com, 54
Ann Field/NASA/Wikimedia Commons, 81 (Makemake)
© anothersteph/iStock.com, 18 b.
Courtesy of Aubrey Brickhouse at Brickhouse Observatory on the Meyer's Observatory Field, 117 (Antares)
© Bill Gozansky/Alamy Stock Photo, 58
© chaphot/stock.adobe.com, 17
© Charly_Morlock/iStock.com, 16 b.r.
© Clayton Fraser, 43 b.
© Dave W. G. Smith, Maldon, UK, 87 t.
© Dennis di Cicco/Sky & Telescope, 55 b.
© Dovapi/iStock.com, 16 b.l.
E. Kolmhofer, H. Raab, Johannes-Kepler-Observatory, Linz, Austria (www.sternwarte.at)/CCommons BY-SA 3.0 Unported/Wikimedia, 85 t.
Erich Karkoschka (University of Arizona) and NASA, 78 b.l.
ESA & NASA/SOHO, 59 b.
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM/CC BY-SA IGO 3.0/Wikimedia Commons, 84
ESO/J. Rameau, 86 l.
ESO/Sebastian Deiries, 85 b.; ESO/T. Preibisch, 112 t.
ESO/Y. Beletsky, 64 b.r.
© 2014 by Fred Espenak (MrEclipse.com), 38, 40
© GEOEYE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY, 68
Gregory H. Revera/CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported/Wikimedia Commons, 71 b.c.r.
Greg Rakozy/Unsplash, 8
Haktarfone at English Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported/Wikimedia, 117 (Rigel)
Howard Perlman/USGS, 71 b.l.
© Imgorthand/iStock.com, 31
© inigofotografia/iStock.com, 43 t.
Jan Sandberg/Wikimedia Commons, 87 b.l.
© Jens Mayer/Shutterstock.com, 23 t.r.
Jeremy Stanley/CC BY 2.0 Generic, 9
Jin Zan/CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported/Wikimedia Commons, 81 (Haumea)
JMARS/NASA/Wikimedia Commons, 32 #2, 33 #6
© Jose Antonio Hervás, 63
J.P. Harrington and K.J. Borkowski (University of Maryland), and NASA/ESA, 117 l.
Jstuby at English Wikipedia/CCo/Wikimedia, 34 l.
Kai Pilger/Unsplash, 88
© karinegenest/iStock.com, 16 t.r.
© Kazushi_Inagaki/iStock.com, 28
Khongor Ganbold/Unsplash, 15
Klemen Vrankar/Unsplash, 6, op. 132
© ktasimarr/iStock.com, 18 t.l.
Lawrence Sromovsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison/W.W. Keck Observatory, 78 b.c.l.
© Luis Argerich, 64 l.
Marcelo Quinan/Unsplash, 23 l.
Mars Vilaubi, 25 r., 49
Mbz1/CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported/Wikimedia Commons, 16 t.l.
© Meg Thacher, 123 l.
Mike Kareh/Unsplash, 44
Morn/CC BY-SA 4.0 International, 118
NASA, 27, 32#1, 33 t.r. & b.r., 60 b.c.r., 71 t.
NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 76 b.r.
NASA/Aubrey Gemignani, 55 t.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA EPIC Team, 56
NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, 112 b.
NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), 74 t.
NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 52 t.
NASA/ESA/M. Robberto (STScI/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team, 52 b.
NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University, 32 #3
NASA/GSFC, 10–11, 51 t.l.
NASA/GSFC/CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons, 51 b.
NASA/GSFC/SDO/Genna Duberstein, 64 t.r.
NASA/GSFC/University of Arizona, 67
NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team, 71 b.c.l.
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI, 80 b.c.
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington, 60 b.r., 69
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, 80 all ex. b.c.
NASA/JPL, 60 t.l. & m.r., 70 t., b.l., b.c.l. & b.c.r., 72 b.l., 78 b.c.r., 79 t., b.l. & b.r.
NASA/JPL-Caltech, 60 t.c., t.r. & b.c., 70 t., 72 t. & b.c.l., 75 t.r., 78 t., 79 b.c.l.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona, 72 b.c.r &, b.r.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute, 75 b.r.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, 76 b.l., b.c.l. & b.c.r., 77 b.r.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM, 74 b.r.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill, 60 b.l.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill/CC BY 3.0 Unported, 74 b.l.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA, 81 (Ceres)
NASA/JPL/Cornell University, 74 b.c.r.
NASA/JPL/DLR, 75 t.l.
NASA/JPL/ESA/University of Arizona, 77 m.
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute, 76 t., 77 b.l.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona, 74 b.c.l., 75 b.l.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Idaho, 77 t.
NASA/JPL/USGS, 78 b.r., 79 b.c.r.
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, 26, 32–33, 36, 37, 41, 123 r.
Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, 51 t.r.
NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development (VTAD), 81 (Eris)
NASA/Wikimedia, 34 r.
NASA (image by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter)/Wikimedia Commons, 32 #4, 33 #5
Natarajan.Ganesan/CC BY-SA 4.0 International/Wikimedia, 55 m.
Olaf Tausch/CC BY 3.0 Unported/Wikimedia, 7
© Paul Souders/Getty Images, 47
© Paul Wilson/iStock.com, 18 t.r.
Philippe Donn/Pexels, 21
Philipp Salzgeber/CC BY-SA 2.0 Austria/Wikimedia Commons, 87 b.r.
© Riccardo Beretta/iStock.com, 29
© Science History Images/Alamy Stock Photo, 65
Courtesy of Sebastian Saarloos, 23 b.r.
© SellOnlineMarketing/iStock.com, 48
SOHO (ESA & NASA), 59 t.
Stephen Rahn/Wikimedia Commons, 117 (Vega)
Strebe/CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported/Wikimedia, 57
Image © Ted Stryk. Data Courtesy the Russian Academy of Sciences, 70 b.r.
Visualization by Earth Observatory, 71 b.r.
© wisanuboonrawd/iStock.com, 115 t.
© www.capella-observatory.com, 116 b.
© Yuri Beletsky, op. title page, 61
Text © 2020 by Margaret Glynn Lysaght Thacher
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages or reproduce illustrations in a review with appropriate credits; nor may any part of this book be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or other — without written permission from the publisher.
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210 MASS MoCA Way
North Adams, MA 01247
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Thacher, Meg, author.
Title: Sky gazing : a guide to the moon, sun, planets, stars, eclipses, constellations / Meg Thacher.
Description: North Adams, MA : Storey Publishing,  | Includes bibliographical references and index. | Audience: Ages 9–14 | Audience: Grades 4–6 | Summary: "With this highly visual guide to observing the sky with the naked eye, kids aged 9–14 will delve into the science behind what they see"— Provided by publisher.
Identifiers: LCCN 2020016777 (print) | LCCN 2020016778 (ebook) | ISBN 9781635860962 (hardcover) | ISBN 9781635860979 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Astronomy—Observers' manuals—Juvenile literature.
Classification: LCC QB64 .T45 2020 (print) | LCC QB64 (ebook) | DDC 520—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020016777
LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020016778
What's in This Book?
With most books, you start at the beginning and read through to the end. This book was made to skip around in. The chapters are organized from closest (the Moon) to farther (the Sun and planets) to farthest (the stars).
Hi! Call me Star Dude.
I'll show up now and then to guide you through this book and share some things I know.
Each chapter ends with a section called A Closer Look on how to observe the sky with binoculars.
Your Astronomy Notebook will help you keep track of your discoveries.
Some activities are easy ★ and some are harder ★ ★ ★. Follow the stars.
You'll also find instructions for viewing Special Events like eclipses and meteor showers.
1. Step into the SKY
The Sky Belongs to Everyone
What's Up There?
Astronomy Notebook: Start a Sky Journal ★
Where to Sky Gaze
Darkness and Light
Finding Your Way around the Sky
TRY IT: Cosmic Protractor ★ ★
Astronomy Notebook: Be a Weather Watcher ★
TRY IT: Watch Day Turn into Night ★
TRY IT: Make a Red Flashlight ★
Journey into Our Home Galaxy: The Milky Way
SPECIAL EVENT: The Aurora
A CLOSER LOOK: Binoculars
2. The MOON
Astronomy Notebook: Make a Moon Diary ★
Our One and Only Moon
TRY IT: Do a Moondance ★ ★ ★
Sightseeing on the Moon
How the Moon Formed
Astronomy Notebook: Picture the Moon ★
SPECIAL EVENT: Lunar Eclipse
A CLOSER LOOK: The Moon
3. The Sun
Astronomy Notebook: Make a Sunset Calendar ★ ★
How Seasons Happen
Telling Time by the Sun
TRY IT: Track the Sun ★
A Visit to the Sun
How the Sun Formed
SPECIAL EVENT: Solar Eclipse
TRY IT: Make a Pinhole Projector ★ ★
A CLOSER LOOK: Our Sun
Earth's Siblings in the Sky
Star or Planet?
Planets Inside and Outside
Roaming around the Solar System
TRY IT: Make a Scale Model ★ ★
Meet a Planet
Pluto and other Dwarf Planets
Astronomy Notebook: Design Your Own Solar System ★ ★
TRY IT: Be the Solar System ★ ★ ★
How the Solar System Formed
SPECIAL EVENT: Great Comet
Other Suns and Their Solar Systems
A CLOSER LOOK: The Planets
5. Stars and Constellations
Star Light, Star Bright
How Stars Move During the Night
TRY IT: Find North & South Using the Stars ★
Astronomy Notebook: DIY Constellations ★
Why Humans Invented Constellations
The Zodiac and the Ecliptic
TRY IT: Make Your Own Star Wheel ★ ★
Seasonal Sky Gazing
How Stars Are Born, Live, and Die
SPECIAL EVENT: Meteor Shower
A CLOSER LOOK: Deep Sky Objects
Appendix: Find Out More
TRY IT: Throw a Star Party ★ ★
Meteor Shower Calendar
TRY IT: Make Dew Shields ★ ★ ★
The glossary has definitions of words you may not know — and words that astronomers use in a different way from most people. (In the book those words are highlighted , like this, when first used.)
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Share Your Experience!
Step into the Sky
Our universe is filled with stars, planets, and all sorts of amazing stuff — and you can see them no matter where you live. You don't need fancy tools: just look up.
The Sky Belongs to Everyone
Long ago, kids knew all about the night sky. They could find north and tell time by the Sun. They knew which constellations came with which season.
Of course, this was easier before the invention of streetlights. The sky they saw was speckled with thousands of stars. These days, we can see only a few hundred from our cities and suburbs. Many people live their whole life without seeing the Milky Way.
But no matter where you live or how many stars you can see at night, you can observe the sky. You can do everything those kids from long ago could do — and more! We've learned a lot about the universe since our ancestors started sky gazing.
This book is about astronomy, the study of stars, planets, and space. Astronomy is interesting for its own sake, but it's also an important part of human history. Ever since there were people, we've been looking at the stars: tracking and recording their motion, making pictures and stories out of them, and wondering why they are there.
The sky inspired us to invent math and physics so we could explain what caused nature's patterns, starting with how objects move across the sky. It got us thinking about more than just what to eat and where to live; it showed us our place in the universe.
You can observe the night sky anytime, anywhere — for free! Start a habit of looking up at stars whenever you step outside at night.
If you want to watch a meteor shower or have a sky-gazing party, pack some extra stuff to keep yourself comfortable outside at night.
You might want to bring:
- water and a snack
- a sky map or Star Wheel (see chapter 5)
- a blanket
- a red flashlight (see Make a Red Flashlight)
- a regular flashlight
- bug repellent
- a pencil
- your Astronomy Notebook (see Start A Sky Journal)
Or you can just step out onto your fire escape or porch and look up!
For more tips on throwing a star party, see Throw a Star Party.
What's Up There?
No matter how dark or light your sky is, you can always observe the Sun and Moon! And even from a lit-up place like a city or large suburb, you can see the brightest planets, stars, and meteors (flashes of light caused by bits of rock from outer space entering the Earth's atmosphere), and even the International Space Station.
From a darkish place outside the suburbs, you can see most of the constellations (groups of stars that look like a picture). You can also see meteors and human-made satellites. If it's dark enough, you may see a faint trace of the Milky Way, the galaxy we live in. (A galaxy is a huge star system containing gas, dust, and hundreds of billions of stars.)
If you have the chance to visit a place that is very dark at night, like a national park, you will see the Milky Way clearly, with its many stars and dust lanes. Star clusters, nebulae (clouds of gas and dust), and even galaxies may be visible as well.
The word nebula
"Packed with fun activities and fascinating facts, Sky Gazing is perfect for sharing with kids or letting them enjoy on their own. By inviting us outside to look up in wonder, Sky Gazing inspires our best defense against the continued growth of light pollution and the loss of natural night: a love for the sky gained by knowing it firsthand. You couldn’t ask for a better guide to that experience than Meg Thacher’s marvelous book."
— Paul Bogard, author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light
“This title is a bonanza for upper-elementary or middle school independent reading, especially for students with an interest in the sciences.”
— School Library Journal, starred review
- On Sale
- Oct 13, 2020
- Page Count
- 132 pages