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Presents...

3 Check It Out! 4 Sky Hunter 6 Moonstruck 7 Space Rap 8 10 Out-of-This-World Facts 10 Stargazing with Binoculars 11 Space Weather 12 Puzzles 14 My Trip into Space 16 The Perseid Adventure 19 Spot a Shooting Star 20 Finding Four Moons 21 Which Way Did You Say? 22 What Are You Thinking, Benjamin? 24 Look at the Stars from Bed 26 The Night Sky 28 Cowboy Clark & Larry 29 Kids Corner 30 Puzzle Solutions 2


Zurijetz/Shutterstock.com

Have fun outside with your family on a warm, clear night. Bring a blanket or a chair. Settle down, get comfortable, and look up. You will discover a whole new world. Millions of stars will be sparkling, and the moon may be glowing. You might even see another planet. You will want to be away from tall buildings, trees, and bright lights. As you gaze into the deep, black sky, write down what you see. Later, draw a picture or write about what you saw and send it to us. There are meteor showers, which take place in different months. We have a listing inside this magazine. These are often called shooting stars. They usually burn up in the atmosphere. During the meteor showers, there may be as many as 150 an hour! Stargazing is fun for everyone. Read this issue of Fun For Kidz about Astronomy, and you will be ready to study the stars. And it is so easy, only a few steps away in your backyard.

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by Bunny Schulle I’d like for you to meet an old friend of mine, and I hope he’ll become your friend too. His name is ORION, (oh-RYEunn), and he’s the hunter of the sky. On a clear night in the winter, when the stars are twinkling, I’ll show you how to find him.

Illustration 1 First, look for the three stars in Orion’s belt. They form a straight, slanted line like this, and each is about the same brightness. (See Illustration 1.) Then, to the north of his belt, you’ll see his shoulders, and to the south are his feet. The star in his left shoulder is a reddish color, and it is called Betelgeuse (BEETel-jooz). Some kids call it “Beetlejuice”! The star in his right foot is a brilliant blue-white and is named Rigel (RYEjul). These are the seven brightest stars in Orion. (See Illustration 2.)

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Photo of Orion

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That doesn’t look much like a hunter, does it? But Orion is heavily armed. He holds a raised club and a shield. He also has a sword hanging from his belt. All of his weapons are fainter stars and are hard to see unless the sky is very clear.

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With a good imagination, you may see the connecting lines (which are only in your mind) that make Orion the hunter he is. (See Illustration 3.)

Illustration 3

Maybe people of long ago saw Orion as a hunter because of the other constellations around him. If you follow an imaginary line up from the three stars in Orion’s belt, you come to the orange-red star Aldebaran (al-DEB-a-run), the angry eye of the constellation Taurus the Bull. You can see his V-shaped horns. Orion is shielding himself from Taurus with his right arm, but his left arm is upraised, ready to club that bull if he comes any closer. Of course, he hasn’t moved for thousands of years!

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A hunter should have hunting dogs, and if you follow another imaginary line going down from Orion’s belt, you will come to the brightest star in the night sky. It’s named Sirius, and you say it as if you’re “serious.” It appears bright because it’s one of our closest star neighbors. Sirius is in the collar of a constellation called Big Dog and is therefore sometimes called the “Dog Star.” (See Illustration 4.)

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illustrated by Alan Wassilak

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Now you can become a Sky Hunter. Pick a clear night, and go outdoors to meet Orion, his hunting dog, and the bull. They will always be there, unchanged, for you to enjoy. Take pride l tai in pointing out your twinkling new friends.

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BULL Rigel

Sirius ORION

Illustration 4 BIG DOG

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by Kelly Musselman

How much do you know about our moon besides the idea that it isn’t made of green cheese? Check out this trivia quiz to find out if you’re moon “struck” or moon “stuck.” What’s a blue moon? When does it happen, and is it really blue? A blue moon is the second full moon in a single month. It doesn’t happen that often. In fact, it happens only about every 2.75 years. Over the next five years, there will be blue moons on October 31, 2020, August 30, 2023, May 31, 2026, December 31, 2028, and September 30, 2031. Because 29.5 days must pass between full moons, February can never have a blue moon.

What is another name for our moon? The Latin word “luna.” What is the study of the moon called? selenology What was the name of the first lunar module on the moon, and where did it land?

A blue moon isn’t blue in color. If the moon ever seems blue in tint, it is from effects, such as dust, in Earth’s atmosphere.

The Eagle landed on the moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s words were, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

What is a harvest moon?

Which two planets have no moons? Which planet has the most?

A harvest moon is the full moon nearest the time of the autumn equinox (around September 23). In the Southern Hemisphere, it occurs in March, near the spring equinox. Because of its early rising in the sky, the harvest moon provides extra light after sunset for farmers to get their harvest in.

Mercury and Venus have none. Jupiter has the most with 79. What famous words did the first man to step on the moon say? What did his partner, Astronaut Edwin Aldrin, Jr. call the moon?

The next full moon after the harvest moon is called the hunter’s moon.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong

The moon waxes and wanes. What does that mean?

“Magnificent desolation” – Edwin Aldrin, Jr.

Waxing is when the moon seems to grow larger, the time between the new moon and the full moon. Waning is when it becomes smaller between the full moon and the new moon. What is meant by a new moon? This phase happens when the side of the moon that is lit by the sun is turned away from Earth, and we see only the dark side. You know what a crescent moon looks like. What is a gibbous moon? It occurs when more than half of the moon is visible.

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How many astronauts have walked on the moon? Who was the first? Twelve men have walked on the moon. Neil Armstrong of Apollo 11 was the first on July 20, 1969. The last was in 1972. What order must Earth, the moon, and the sun be in for a lunar eclipse to happen? The order should be: the sun, Earth, and the moon, so the moon is in the shadow of Earth.


Mercury, Mercury – one, two, three, I want to learn astronomy! Venus, Venus – clouds, but no rain, You can only go there in your brain. Earth is my very favorite one. It’s the third planet from the sun! Mars is the one we’ll go to soon, 2030s – past the moon! Jupiter has a big red spot. Many people thought it was hot! Saturn is a beautiful thing – Many moons and many rings! There are three more you should know – Uranus, Neptune, and dwarf Pluto!

by A. Fran Booth illustrated by Shannon Comins

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by John Hudson Tiner illustrated by Joan Waites Do you have a pair of binoculars? If so, you may have used them to look at birds and other things during the day. Binoculars are good for stargazing too. Some celestial objects are best seen with binoculars. A good pair of binoculars is more powerful than Galileo’s first telescope! Think of all the things he discovered: the four brighter moons of Jupiter, mountains and craters of the moon, the phases of Venus, and thousands of new stars along the Milky Way. Why don’t you use your binoculars tonight to discover these wonderful sights? Look at the moon first. What a view! Mountains reflect light like crinkled tinfoil. Dark seas, called maria (Latin for “seas”), look like pools of chocolate. Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis) has no water. Instead, it is a circular sea of cooled lava. Look at the moon with your binoculars. Mare Cisium is the circular sea on the right. When the moon is full, three craters are easy to find. Tycho, near the lower edge, has long streamers. These are called rays and are chalk colored. They spread halfway around the moon. Near the center of the moon is Copernicus. It is a blaze of white. Compare it with the inky-black of Plato, which is at the top of the moon.

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The moon is only one-fourth the size of Earth, but its mountains are as tall as those on Earth.

A high moon mountain may catch sunlight while still in darkness. See if you can spot the speckle of a peak poking out of darkness into light. Long ago, early astronomers thought the moon was a round ball without mountains or valleys. Your binoculars prove how wrong these astronomers were. Now turn to the planets. Check at your library for an astronomy magazine. It will tell what planets can be seen and where to look. Jupiter is brighter than any star, except for our sun, of course! The color is white with a twinge of yellow. Jupiter has four bright moons. The largest one, Ganymede, is easy to see with binoculars. Look for a tiny pinpoint of light beside Jupiter. This moon circles the planet once each month. Venus is fun too. As Venus circles the sun every 243 days, the planet changes phases like our moon. Venus is the brightest planet. You can see Venus during the day with binoculars if you know where to look. After you’ve examined the planets, there’s more. Turn to the stars. Your binoculars reveal objects that can’t be seen otherwise. Sweep along the Milky Way. Streams of stars fill the view. Share your discoveries with a friend. Together you’ll find new surprises. Happy hunting!


Space Weather by Victoria Schoennagel

To most of us, the sun looks like a simple, glowing ball of light in the sky. The sun is actually constantly moving and changing in the center of the solar system. Scientists study these changes very closely. Sometimes the sun’s surface erupts and sends hot gas and particles toward Earth. The day-to-day changes of the sun’s surface determine the weather in space. Scientists call this “space weather.” You would probably bring an umbrella to Sunspots normally school to stay dry if appear and disappear your local weatheron the sun. person predicted rain. Astronauts planning trips to explore in space have to think about weather, too, but they can’t rely on an umbrella. Instead, astronauts avoid danger from being exposed to space weather by moving to protected parts of the Space Station. Scientists try to predict space weather and estimate when the sun will erupt so that astronauts limit their exposure. It’s impossible for scientists to predict exactly when an eruption will occur, but they can get a good idea by tracking sunspots.

The sun can violently erupt and send hot gas into space.

Solar wind is another part of space weather. Hot particles travel away from the sun’s surface during an explosion, or solar flare. This creates the solar wind. Has your TV or phone service ever seemed to go out randomly? It’s possible that the interruption was caused by the solar winds reaching Earth. Now you know why the sun is such an impressive star in our solar system. It’s responsible for the weather in space. Space weather can affect people on Earth and astronauts in space. Scientists will continue to study and predict the changing activity of the sun, the brightest object visible from Earth.

Hot gas and particles travel on solar winds toward Earth when the sun erupts.

Sunspots appear and disappear on the sun like freckles in the summer. Every 11 years, the number of sunspots increases and decreases in a cycle. The sun is more likely to violently erupt when there are more sunspots.

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ELEMENTARY ASTRONOMY by Evelyn B. Christensen

by David Sung

Fill in the squares so that each row, column, and 9-square section has the letters A-S-T-R-O-N-O-M-Y (2 O’s in each).

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When you’re finished, find the word ASTRONOMY, either across or down. Can you also find an astronomy-related word in the last line?

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A-maze-ing Astronomy by Guy Belleranti by James F. Browne

Find your way through the letter maze by connecting letters to spell out the following astronomy-related words: PLANETARIUM, TELESCOPE, MOON, CONSTELLATION, STARS, EXPLORE, SUN, MILKY WAY. You may move forward, backward, up, or down, but no letter may be connected more than once. Write the leftover letters in the blank spaces to spell out something useful to all astronomers.

Start P

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Finish

Something useful to all astronomers: __  __ __ __  __ __ __  __ __ __ __ __ __ __  __ __ __ __ __

My sister doesn’t want her pickle, so I say to my mom, “Would Jupiter pickle on my sandwich?”

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__ __ __ __ __ __ __,  __ __ __ __ __,  __ __ __  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __  __ __ __ 

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CHROMOSPHERE CONSTELLATION TROPOSPHERE CASSEGRAIN by Jean Knabbe LIGHT-YEAR Look forward, backward, up, down, and ROTATION SPORADIC diagonally to find the words in capital NEUTRON letters. After all the words are found, SIDEREAL the remaining letters will spell someSOLSTICE thing relating to astronomy. SUBTEND SUNSPOT CLUSTER HALF-life C O N S T E L L A T I O N D METEOR L H T E E I O N H A L O D N THEORY NEBULA U I R S B N D E U M B R A E ZODIAC S S A O U U O E T U A E E T PULSAR T N C T M R L Z S E R D H B BASALT E Y I R Y O C A Y E L A A U ZENITH R N D A O F S T H A L S M S UMBRA ZONES A E A T R U H P E F A T E O LOBES S U R S N G S R H L H B T L CRUST L T O S I O E E T E O U E S TIDES U R P L P D N S I L R V O T HALO HEAD P O S O I E Y K S R S E R I CORE T N R S E N O I T A T O R C STAR H T I N E Z O D I A C O R E TAIL SKY BAR ION __ __ __ __ __  __ __  __ __ __  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Word Search Puzzle

by Kelly Musselman See if you can find these solar-related words in the puzzle below. Look up, down, diagonal, backward, and forward. The leftover letters will spell an out-of-this-world fact.

ECLIPSE SOLAR SUMMER SUNSHINE HEAT SOLAR FLARE SUN SUNSPOTS HELIUM SOLSTICE SUNBEAM TEMPERATURE HYDROGEN STAR SUNLIGHT THERMOMETER

T H G I L N U S E S S

H E Y S T O P S N U S

E L M D T A H L M N O

R I A P R A S M S S L

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by David Lindo

A fraction-nition is a puzzle that has a hidden word or phrase in it. The puzzle may be a new word, a daffy definition, an old friend, or a complete surprise. Working on the puzzle lets you practice your reading and math skills at the same time. Please read carefully. Find the letters described by the fraction given in each statement. Print the letters you select, in the order provided, in the boxes below the puzzle. What did you find? Were you surprised?

For answers to these puzzles and riddles, navigate to page 30!

What kind of beam doesn’t weigh anything? The last 1/4 of BOOM The middle 1/5 of CROWS The first 2/7 of ONSHORE The last 1/3 of SOB The first 1/4 of EASTWARD The middle 1/7 of FARMERS Answer:

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by Carol Larrabee  •  illustrated by Joan Waites

I wish that I could meet Some little green kids from Mars. I’d ask them all about Their home among the stars. I’d ask if I could take a ride In their ships with flashing lights. I’d bring my warm pajamas. I’d be gone for several nights . . .

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I think I’d better plan ahead And pack a picnic lunch. I’d hate to be way out in space Without Earth food to munch. I wonder if they’d like to try Some peanut butter, jelly, and bread. I should take lots of popcorn And licorice, both black and red. I wonder if they have on board Refrigerators, oven, and dishes. Or maybe great big food machines That grant all your food wishes. And when we’re way, way out in space, Away from the sun’s bright light, Will bedtime really matter If we can’t tell day from night? I wonder how we’d celebrate My favorite holidays. Will someone bake a chocolate cake, My favorite for birthdays?

Will there be a place to swim and splash And a place to play baseball? Will I miss the snowy winters And the colored leaves of fall? Maybe I’d better ask to go No farther than the moon. I’ll leave a note for Mom and Dad . . . “I love you – be back soon!”

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by Lillian T. Drake  •  illustrated by Ginny Pruitt The back window in Brad’s room is wide open. A stack of books holds the plaid curtains to one side. Brad has placed a wooden box on the ground beneath the window sill.

“You awake?” Peter whispers.

The nine-year-old shivers in his bed, but he is not cold. He is dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. A breeze pulls in a whiff of smoke from the evening barbecue. Brad yanks the sheet up to his chin.

“Are you sure it’s going to happen?” Brad asks.

I’m not sure I want to do this, he thinks, but his brother, Peter, has said, “Tonight’s the night. We’re going.” A noise in the hall startles him. He curls into a ball, shuts his eyes, and pretends to be asleep. The door to his room squeaks as it opens. He doesn’t move. Someone bends over the bed. Brad feels warm breath and smells charcoal. Dad must have found out, he thinks.

Slowly, Brad opens his eyes. “Good,” Peter says. “It’s ordained,” Peter says. “Did you print out the maps?” “Ordained?” Brad questions, not knowing what Peter means. “This could be trouble.” “Would I steer you wrong?” Peter asks, but doesn’t explain. Yeah, Brad thinks, as he slides out of bed. Peter leans on the sill and looks up at the night sky. The air feels cool. Brad looks doubtful. “Trust me. Just you wait,” Peter assures him quietly. “It’s OK. I’m with you.” The clock on Brad’s desk reads 1:45 AM. Brad falls back on the bed. Peter turns on his flashlight and scans the computer printout maps on the desk. Which way is north? he wonders. He remembers that the sun rises at the front of the house. North will be on my right when we leave, he figures. He sees Brad falling asleep. “Don’t,” he says, shaking him. “I’ll check to see if the coast is clear.”

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In his stocking feet, Peter makes his way down the hall. The floorboards of the country house creak as he edges his way to his sister’s room. He enters. He smells perfume. Margo is asleep. Good. He tiptoes to his parents’ bedroom. Waits. Enters. His mother turns in the bed. He leaves quickly. His mother can hear butterfly wings. “Up, kid,” Peter says when he returns to Brad’s room. “This is it. We’re going.” Brad shuffles his feet into sneakers. Peter gathers the maps and flashlight. He throws a sleeping bag out the window and slides over the sill on his stomach. His feet find the box. Brad hesitates and then follows. The night sky is clear. “Awesome,” Peter whispers. Turning to the north, he walks slowly to the edge of the yard. He drops the sleeping bag on the ground and crouches on top. Brad sits down beside him.

Fluttering birds’ wings make Brad jump. “What’s that?” he asks at the call of the hoot owl. “What’s that?” he asks as the grass moves without a sign of a breeze. “Garter snake, maybe,” hisses Peter. “It won’t hurt you. Look up!” Brad quickly turns his eyes to the silent arch of sparkling sky. Then the night explodes. Alarms go off. Lights all over the house flash on. The patio door opens. “What’s going on?” yells Dad, his voice heavy with sleep and loud with irritation. “Yikes,” Brad screeches. “Why did you set alarms? I thought you told me not to tell. This is trouble.” Peter yells and points to the north. As if on call, brilliant Perseid meteors – three, four, five at a time – streak through the blue-black sky. “They need a little excitement, that’s all,” whispers Peter. “Yeah,” says Brad, “if you like Dad excited.” Peter sees his dad marching toward them. He is not looking up. Mom and Margo are hurrying to catch him. Before his dad can say a word, Peter shouts again. “Look!” He points to the north.

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All eyes follow the trail of light streaking across the sky. Then they see another and another.

“OK, guys, but next time, remind me ahead of time,” Dad says and sits down beside them.

Dad stops in his tracks. “So this is what this is all about,” he says.

“How did you know Dad wouldn’t be mad?” whispers Brad.

“The sky is the theater of the universe,” Peter tells his dad. He waits for the reaction. Dad keeps his eyes on the sky.

“Because he showed me this play five years ago,” Peter says as he wraps his arm around Brad. “See, you can trust your big brother.”

“I’m glad you awakened us,” Mom whispers. She holds Dad’s arm. “It’s been a long time.” “Yeah,” Margo agrees. “Yeah. I can’t believe you remembered the Perseid meteors.” “It’s ordained,” Brad tells them.

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“Shooting stars” are not stars at all! They are pieces of rock or iron called METEOROIDS that are traveling through space. When small meteoroids come close to Earth’s atmosphere, they move so fast that friction makes them catch fire. They glow and eventually burn up. If you are looking at the night sky when this happens, you’ll see a streak of light. This is what we call a shooting star. Scientists call it a METEOR. These tips will help you spot a shooting star: Go to bed late or wake up early! The best time to see a shooting star is after midnight. The peak time is usually just before dawn. Shooting stars last only a few seconds, so keep your eyes open. Most come from one direction, so you’ll have to be looking the right way. A full moon makes it harder to see shooting stars. On those nights, go to a dark location. Be patient. You should still see a few good ones.

Sky2015/Shutterstock.com

Meteor showers come around the same time every year. This list gives the PEAK DATE AND TIME to see shooting stars from five different meteor showers, although you can see them a few days before or after these dates. Take along something to lie on to avoid a stiff neck. Then enjoy the show!

Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower (southeast sky) 2020 – between 2 AM and dawn on May 5 10-40 shooting stars an hour

Perseids Meteor Shower (northeast sky) 2020 – between 2 AM and dawn on August 12 60-100 shooting stars an hour

Orionids Meteor Shower (south sky) 2020 – between 2 AM and dawn on October 21 10-70 shooting stars an hour

Geminids Meteor Shower (northeast sky) These are often the brightest and most colorful meteor showers of the year! 2020 – ALL NIGHT on December 14 80-120 shooting stars an hour

2021 Quadrantids Meteor Shower (north sky) Between 2 AM and dawn on January 3 50-100 shooting stars an hour

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by Mary Beechie Schmidt illustration by Pamela Harden

It’s easy to find our moon in the night sky. How would you like to find four moons? It’s not difficult to do. All you need is a pair of binoculars and the right time of year. The four moons orbit, or circle, the planet Jupiter. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. How large? Suppose Jupiter were a giant gumball machine and Earth were a large gumball. It would take 1300 Earths to come close to filling it! As the most massive, fastest spinning planet, Jupiter does everything in a big way. No wonder one moon was not enough for the “king of planets.” The four moons you will see are called the Galilean (gal-uh-ley-uhn) moons. They are named after Galileo, the brilliant Italian astronomer who discovered them in 1610. The moons’ names are Io (eye-oh), Europa (yoo-roh-puh), Ganymede (gan-uh-meed), and Callisto (kuh-list-oh). Galileo used a homemade telescope. Binoculars guarantee a better view than he had. Follow these clues to discover for yourself the wondrous sight of Jupiter and its Galilean moons.

1. Jupiter is not visible from Earth all year long. These are the dates Jupiter will be at its biggest and brightest in the night sky:

2020: July 14  •  2021: August 19  •  2022: September 26 2. Jupiter is the third brightest object in our night sky. Only our moon and the planet Venus

are brighter. Venus might fool you into thinking that you are seeing Jupiter, but Venus has no moons.

3. Don’t let stars fool you, either. Stars twinkle. Planets don’t. 4. The Galilean moons look like tiny circles of light on either side of Jupiter. You might see fewer than four moons if one or more are behind the planet.

Jupiter’s Galilean moons are the only ones visible from Earth. Actually, Jupiter has 79 known moons! Maybe one day, you will be the astronomer who discovers Jupiter’s 80th moon!

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by B. L. Warren • illustrated by Pamela Harden

Would you like to visit a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Here are the directions. First, pack lots of snacks, then board your ship and set sail. Go straight for a while. When you get to some really huge waves with lots of white caps, turn left. No, that won’t work, will it? Fortunately, we have maps, charts, instruments, and computers to guide our travels. But what did people in ancient times use? They invented devices to help, but they also had something else. For as long as anyone has tried to trek across a desert or sail across an ocean, people have looked at the North Star to determine direction. Polaris, our current North Star, is located at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper constellation. Other bright stars are helpful, but they change positions in the sky as Earth rotates. Most other stars (including our sun) appear to rise from the east horizon and set in the west. But because the North Star is almost exactly above the North Pole, it stays in the same place as Earth spins under it. Polaris is not the brightest star, but no matter where you observe it from, it marks due north – for now, anyway. Eventually, Polaris will give up its title of pole star. That’s because while Earth rotates, it also wobbles on its axis. This means that the star closest to being over the North Pole hasn’t always been Polaris. The star Thuban in the constellation Draco was the pole star when the Egyptians began building pyramids over 4500 years ago! About 1000 years from now, the next star to inherit the title of pole star will be Gamma Cephei in the constellation Cepheus. It’s not very bright, but it’s a star’s position, not its brightness, that matters. All the stars that ever have been (or ever will be) the pole star are in six constellations. Polaris and the other stars that have marked the North Pole will eventually get another turn at that important job. But it’ll be a while. It takes Earth almost 26,000 years to make one complete wobble and angle its pole toward all the different pole stars. The time Polaris has to wait until its next turn is really spaced out!

With a parent, go to facebook.com/funforkidz to find out how to spot the North Star in the night sky!

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What Are You Thinking, Benjamin? by Jennifer Reed • illustrated by Pamela Harden

What are you thinking? The wind whispered in Benjamin’s ear as he raced down the slope to the Patapsco River. Benjamin thought about his father and grandfather, who were once slaves. He thought about what it must have been like to be chained and dragged to a platform, a thousand eyes staring at you. Chills ran down his back. We are all created equal, he thought.

human. She took his hand. “Where have you been, child?” she asked in a raspy voice.

The sun nearly set behind the hills and trees as Benjamin made his way back home to the simple log cabin that his grandmother built when she was freed. She, too, had been enslaved. She had been an indentured servant for seven years, sent to the New World from England for accidentally spilling milk.

“What are you thinking?” asked the school teacher. He handed Benjamin a slate and a piece of chalk. Benjamin had learned to write and do arithmetic. He thought about numbers and problems all the time, always asking questions.

Through the door, Benjamin saw his grandmother, Molly, sitting by the fire. She beckoned him in. Her skin was wrinkled like Benjamin’s shirt. She understood what it was like to be owned by another

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“Down by the river,” Benjamin answered, as he sat by her side. He was ready for a lesson. Together they prayed and studied the Bible until supper. The next morning Benjamin rose early, did his chores, and raced to school. He loved to learn.

When Benjamin was 22 years old, an acquaintance named Josef Levi gave him a watch. As Benjamin held the watch in his hand, he ran his fingers over it again and again. “What are you thinking?” asked Josef. “What is this?” Benjamin asked. He had never seen a watch before. “It’s a watch,” said Josef. “It can fit inside your coat pocket.” Benjamin was amazed that something so small could keep time. “It is yours,” said Josef, as he handed the watch to Benjamin. As soon as Benjamin got home, he carefully took the watch apart to see how it worked. Then he carved similar pieces out of wood.


“What are you thinking?” asked his mother. Benjamin spent many hours carving the pieces. “It’s a surprise,” said Benjamin. Soon he proudly displayed his surprise to the family. It was the first striking clock to be made completely in America. It kept time to the hour for the next 40 years! Major Andrew Ellicott, a cousin of Benjamin’s neighbors, and Benjamin worked with Pierre L’Enfant in designing the new capital city, Washington D.C. One morning, in 1791, Andrew knocked rapidly on Benjamin’s door. “Wake up!” he hollered. Andrew needed Benjamin’s help. L’Enfant, George Washington’s architect, had been dismissed from the project due to his temper. He took all the plans with him! “What are you thinking?” asked Andrew. “I think there is nothing to worry about, friend.” Benjamin sat down and drew out all the plans from memory. He had saved the government time and money.

does not determine one’s mental capacity. This almanac will be my proof. How can a man say that all men are created equal and own slaves? he thought. Benjamin sat up late many nights thinking about these things. On a warm autumn night, October 9, 1806, Benjamin sat in the open grass near his home. He watched the night sky, unable to take his eyes off the glory of it all. He counted the stars as they shown brightly and recorded them in his notebook. They seemed to be twinkling at him and asking the same question he had heard all his life: “What are you thinking, Benjamin?” He smiled, thankful for his life, thankful to be blessed with a strong mind filled with curiosity. With his telescope by his side, nothing could be more gratifying than watching the heavens come to life. He quickly wrote, “Ah, why will men forget that they are brethren?” That night was Benjamin Banneker’s last.

Benjamin remained in the log cabin near his favorite river. He continued to farm, just as his parents and grandparents had. But his interests grew, and he became fascinated with astronomy. He compiled his results and published them in his Almanac, a yearly calendar with important information such as astronomical events and sunrise and sunset times. He correctly predicted a solar eclipse in 1789. Benjamin sent his Almanac to Thomas Jefferson with a lengthy letter. I have to show that skin color

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by Tom Fox Did you know you can see Draco the Dragon on every clear night? No, Draco isn’t a fire-breathing dragon that will give you an instant haircut. It’s merely the name of a constellation. What are constellations? They are groups of stars that have been given names. Unlike real stars, however, constellations exist only on paper and in the minds of people. These groupings of stars are just handy inventions to help map the sky.

The Big Dipper

The Big Dipper constellation is one of the easiest to spot. All you need to do is face north on any clear night. In most of the country, it can be seen all night. However, in the deep South, it can be seen for only part of the night. The Big Dipper consists of seven stars and is really just a part of the constellation known as Ursa Major, which means “great bear.” By the way, the middle star of the handle of the Big Dipper is really a double star called Mizar. You can really impress your parents and friends The two most familiar constellations are once you can point out this constellation to them. the Big Dipper in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Cross in the Southern Constellation Maker Hemisphere. If you live in Australia, you It may not be as exciting to view a homemade constelcan see the Southern Cross, but not the Big lation on your bedroom ceiling as it is to look at the real Dipper. If you live in the United States or Europe, you can see the Big Dipper, but you thing outside, but it is more comfortable. And it will help must live south of Brownsville, Texas, to see you recognize constellations when you see them in the real night sky. the Southern Cross.

WHAT YOU NEED: z z large cylindrical container, such as ones that hold 42-oz. Quaker Oats z z aluminum foil z z rubber band THE FOLLOWING PARTS ARE USED FOR THE LIGHT SOURCE: z z 6 volt lantern battery z z PR13 flashlight bulb z z 2’ stranded electric wire z z electrical tape z z slide switch, available from Radio Shack: part # 275-401 (Note: You can also simply twist the outside wires together when you want to use the Constellation Maker.)

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Making It As shown in Diagram 1, a rubber band is used to fasten aluminum foil over the opened container. Holes which correspond to the more important constellations are made in the foil with a pin. For the light source, a flashlight can be used. However, a flashlight does not make the best type of light for the Constellation Maker. A better light source is simply a small flashlight bulb. See Diagram 2. The battery and the light bulb are placed inside the container, while the switch is outside the container. Template 1 shows the major summer constellations in the United States and Canada as they appear around 10 PM. Make a photocopy of the template, and place it over the aluminum foil. Use a pin to make a tiny hole where a star is indicated. Make the hole a little larger where the template shows a bright star, which is indicated by a small square instead of a circle.


Cassiopeia Template 1 Enlarge this template to the size of the opening of your 42-oz. Oats container. Place the photocopy over the aluminum foil, and use a pin to make holes where the stars are indicated by a circle or square. The lines and names in yellow are included to help you recognize the constellations.

North Star (Polaris)

Cepheus

Big Dipper

Little Dipper

DON’T ADD THESE TO THE FOIL! A square indicates a brighter star. Make hole slightly larger in the foil than the stars marked with a circle.

Draco the Dragon

Diagram 1 Aluminum foil with pin holes that represent constellations on top (See Template 1.)

secured with rubber band

empty 42-oz. oats container

INSIDE VIEW

6 BA Lan Vo TT te lt ER rn Y

light bulb

Connect wires as shown. Also see Diagram 2 to see how to connect the light bulb to the wires.

Using the Constellation Maker To look at the stars from bed, follow the instructions here to create a constellation maker! The “stars” you’ll see on your ceiling aren’t real, but they will help you to recognize constellations when you see them in the real night sky.

Diagram 2 Stick wires through hole in the side of the container.

Use scissors to carefully strip away insulation from end of wires. Use electrical tape to fasten the bare wires to light bulb, as shown.

optional switch

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by Marsha L. Nelson

Stargazing is a perfect hobby for anyone. You have built-in equipment to start with: your eyes! So take those eyes, and go outside some night. You’ll discover a whole new world – one without televisions or CD’s, but one with satellites, snowballs, and dust. It is best to stargaze on a clear night, away from the lights of towns and cities. But even if you do live in a city, do not become discouraged. The sights can still be beautiful. Let’s start with the moon, the closest object usually found in the night sky. It is the satellite of Earth. It rotates around Earth in an orbit. The moon goes through phases. Sometimes it’s seen as a sliver of brightness, and at other times, a big, brilliant ball hanging in the sky. We can see shapes on the moon, sometimes called “the man in the moon.” These are actually mountains, valleys, and great craters left by debris from space. Earth has only one satellite – our moon. Other planets have moons too. Jupiter has 63

26

confirmed moons, and Saturn has 61 moons that we know of! Could you imagine looking out into the sky and seeing several of our “moons”? Sometimes you might see another planet slowly orbiting the sun as Earth does. It’s hard to distinguish planets from stars, but there are some clues. Planets do not twinkle, like the nursery rhyme, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Planets are much closer to us than any star. Some planets seem to shine brighter than a star. The Milky Way appears to be an unusual cloud that hangs in the night sky, like a band, from horizon to horizon. Actually, this is our galaxy. The sun, the planets, and their satellites are just one tiny speck in our galaxy. When you look closer, you will find that the “cloud” is really stars and dust – millions and millions of stars. Some stars are much larger than our sun. They can be the size of the orbit of Jupiter.


Some can be much smaller and denser, and one teaspoonful could weigh millions of tons! Beyond our galaxy lie many more galaxies, with more stars and planets. One is quite visible to the unaided eye. A galaxy called Andromeda looks like a faint cloud in the sky or a smudge on your eyeglasses, if you wear them. Think about addressing an envelope. You write the name, street, box number, city, and state. Imagine if you were sending a letter to someone in another galaxy. Your return address would need to include Earth, Solar System of the Sun, and the Milky Way Galaxy. You would definitely need a larger envelope! The night sky holds many interesting views for everyone. You may even want to discover more about satellites, planets, and stars on your own. They’re only a step away in your own backyard. illustrated by Joan Waites

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“Who’s making all that racket?” Cowboy Clark barked, sticking his head out the window. Sleepy-eyed, Larry from next door looked out his window. It was dark, but he could just make out the silhouette of a cat sitting on the short fence that separated his home from Cowboy Clark’s. “Looks like it might be Mrs. Whiskers,” Larry yawned. “Well, what in tarnation is she going on about?” Cowboy Clark responded. “Evening, boys,” Mrs. Whiskers purred, pointing to the sky. “Do you see that? It’s spring, and Leo, the most ancient of the constellations and my personal favorite, is arriving. I always welcome Leo, otherwise known as Leo the Lion, with a song.” “Confound it, Mrs. Whiskers, stop all that caterwauling,” Cowboy Clark bellowed. “I’m trying to get some shuteye. Got a busy day tomorrow.” “Oh, really? Will it be another day of running in circles and chasing your tail?” Once more, Mrs. Whiskers began to yowl at the top of her lungs. Which was good because Cowboy Clark couldn’t hear Larry laughing at Mrs. Whiskers’ joke. “You know,” Cowboy Clark barked, “Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, and it’s known as the Dog Star because it sits in the constellation Canis Major, or the Big Dog. You don’t see Larry and me barking at the Dog Star every night.” “That’s true, Mrs. Whiskers,” Larry piped up, a little ashamed that he had laughed earlier. Mrs. Whiskers pranced across the top of the fence, then stretched out her body, extending and contracting her claws. “Well, it might be the Big Dog, but no one takes it Sirius-ly.” She chuckled, “Get it?” “I oughta come out there and show you how serious a big dog can be,” Cowboy Clark barked. Larry shook his head and gave a little snort before going back to bed. He knew Cowboy Clark and Mrs. Whiskers could, and probably would, go all night.

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Hey, Kids!

Send us your stories, photos, drawings, poems, and jokes & riddles for publication! We can’t wait to see what you send in!

written and illustrated by Emeka Ilochonwu, age 10

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Dear Ziggy, My name is Michael, and I am in grade 4. I am 9 years old. My family lives in Ontario, Canada. My favorite things to do are play kickball at recess and read about animals. I want to be a vet someday. I have a dog named Sadie. Your friend, Michael Contino

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A-maze-ing Astronomy on page 12

The Sun's the One on page 13 T H G I L N U S E S S

H E Y S T O P S N U S

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The sun is Earth's closest star.

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A SKY MAP SHOWING WHERE PLANETS, STARS, AND OTHER THINGS ARE FOR THAT MONTH

Find the Astronaut on page 12

_M _OON __

Fraction-nition on page 13 What kind of beam doesn't weigh anything?

MOONBEAM Word Search on page 13

C L U S T E R A S L U P T H

O H I S N Y N E U T R O N T

N T R A C I D A R O P S R I

S E S O T R A T S S L O S N

T E B U M Y O R N I P I E E

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L O D O L C S H S E N Y O O

L N E E Z A T P R E S K I D

A H U T S Y H E H T I S T I

T A M U E E A F L E L R A A

I L B A R L L A H O R S T C

O O R E D A S T B U V E O O

N D A E H A M E T E O R R R

D N E T B U S O L S T I C E

STUDY OF THE UNIVERSE

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Photo Credits: www.ForestWander.com 4 (top); NASA/JPL/ USGS 6 (background); ©Mike Lewinski/flickr.com/[CC BY 2.0] 10 (background); SOHO (ESA & NASA) 11 (3 insets); Jupiter’s Colourful Palette: ESA/Hubble [CC BY 4.0] 16.


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V i s i t U s O n l i n e !   F a c e b o o k . c o m / F u n F o r K i d z • w w w. F u n F o r K i d z . c o m Vol. 19 No. 3 • MAY/JUNE 2020 Publisher: Thomas M. Edwards Editor: Marilyn Edwards Associate Editor: Diane Winebar Graphic Design: Gaurakisora Tucker Marketing Director: Jonathan Edwards Circulation Manager: Mark Studer Science Editor: Larry White Science Illustrator: Alan Wassilak Cowboy Clark & Larry Editor: Lisa Rehfuss Cover Artist: Chris Sabatino

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Astronomy  

Go outside on a clear dark night. Now look up. The sky is filled with stars, planets, meteors, and other thrilling things to see. Constellat...

Astronomy  

Go outside on a clear dark night. Now look up. The sky is filled with stars, planets, meteors, and other thrilling things to see. Constellat...

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