Things to make or read
Over time, I will add resources to this website that will help you explore the night sky. And if you are a teacher, you will find the resources helpful in your teaching of some sections of the Australian Curriculum: Science Earth & Space Sciences component.
Amazing Space! Student Newsletter
Download a free ‘Amazing Space!’ student newsletter for each term. The newsletter’s content will vary but currently includes finder charts for planets visible to the unaided eye (in the early evening sky), where to look for easily recognisable constellations and Moon phases for the months of that term. Go here to download the newsletter.
Moon Phase Flip Book
Do you remember the old fashioned flip books? Here is a chance for you to make one with an astronomical theme – the phases of the Moon! I have prepared one for both the Southern and Northern hemisphere.
Simply print the four pages (free to download and use for non-commercial purposes), cut apart the 32 images and glue them onto thin card. Staple or use a rubber band to secure the left hand side of the bundle and flick away! Note that you have will need to download the correct version for your hemisphere (Adobe Acrobat format).
Moon Phase Recording Chart
You can also download a ‘Moon Phase Recording Chart’ which allows you to record or draw the phases of the Moon on a daily basis from the period just after New Moon through to the Full Moon phase. On that download page, you will also find the dates in the 2015 calendar year in which the chart is designed to be used over.
Southern Cross Finder – South East Queensland Version
One of the first things that most people learn to do when they are getting started in astronomy is to learn where the Southern Cross is. Being able to identify the Southern Cross is interesting as well as useful if you happen to be out bush walking and get lost without a compass. You can use the Southern Cross to find South which may help you get home. Note that this version of the Southern Cross finder is optimised for residents of South East Queensland (Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast regions).
The Southern Cross Finder is free to download and use for non-commercial purposes.
Scale model of the Sun, Earth and Moon system
Space is big! Just how big is difficult to comprehend. One starting point on the journey to attempt to understand how big space is is to look at the distance between the Sun, the Earth and Moon. If you have a few spare minutes, a 25 meter measuring tape and access to a printer (to print two A4 pages) you can make your own simplified model of the Sun, the Earth and Moon.
The scale model of the Sun, Earth and Moon is free to download and use for non-commercial purposes.
Scale Model of our Solar System
The disadvantage of the above model is that it only includes the Sun, Earth and the Moon. I have prepared a second model which includes all major objects in our solar system plus the dwarf planet Pluto. It only requires a fifty meter piece of string, sticky tape plus the two pages of planet and the Sun labels.
The scale model of our Solar System is free to download and use for non-commercial purposes. Go here for the instructions.
Make a 3D model of the Southern Cross
Make a 3D model of the Southern Cross which shows you how the stars of the Southern Cross are really distributed in space.The 3D model of the Southern Cross is free to download and use for non-commercial purposes.
Make a ‘Tin Can Planetarium’
Use inexpensive materials to make a simple tin can pinhole planetarium that can be used to project the stars of a single constellation onto a flat surface such as a wall. Alternatively, you can simply look into the tin can and see the constellation pattern.
Making this pinhole planetarium will also help children in the Scouting movement earn their astronomy badge. Go here for the instructions.