An easy DIY Constellation Projector you can make at home!
The fascination with space, stars and planets is very strong in our house as our daughter discovers more about the world around her inspired by Amber the Astronaut.
There are several picture books on high rotation in our house so this week I decided we would take it further by making a DIY Constellation Projector and printables.
You can use a torch or (as we did) the light from a cellphone to project our FREE constellation printables up on a wall in the dark.
What are constellations?
Constellations is a collection of stars that are grouped together in the sky in a particular pattern.
Why are constellations important?
Astronomers use constellations to better map the night sky. Stars are like cities on a map and constellations are like countries so using them makes it easier to map the night sky and identify new stars and celestial objects.
Lets make a constellation projector
Download our FREE Star Constellation printables sheets. Sheet A has the three prominent constellations in the Southern Hemisphere and 6 blank templates to design your own creative constellations. Sheet B has the 12 signs of the Zodiac
Step one: Cut out the constellation and glue to a cupcake wrapper
Step two: using a push pin (with chopping board behind it) poke through the dots to make pin holes for the light to shine through
Step three: colour, paint and decorate old cardboard tubes
Step four: use a rubber band over the cupcake wrapper to hold the printable in place (it can also be tape)
Southern Cross or Crux Constellation
As we are based in Australia I created the three most prominent Southern Hemisphere constellations – the most prominent being the Crux, or Southern Cross. When Europeans were first exploring the world, they used the stars to help them find their way. They relied mostly on the Northern Star, or Polaris, to help them. When these explorers traveled to the Southern Hemisphere, they realised that Polaris wasn’t visible to them! They had to find another constellation or star they could use to keep them from getting lost.
Did you know there are only 88 named constellations! Over the course of a year you will see each one of them however when and where in the night sky depends on where on Earth you are standing.
Extend the activity
Using the constellation printables as a guide inspire kids with a variety of different materials to create their constellations – playdough, rocks, push pins ..just about anything can be used to construct a constellation artwork.
Why do we see different constellations at different times of the year?
As well as the daily spin of the planet, the Earth’s annual orbit around the Sun means we see slightly different sections of the universe from one night to the next. It also means we’ll be back where we started in a year’s time, looking at the same stretch of sky.
If you look at the sky from the same place after just six months — halfway through the Earth’s solar orbit — some of the constellations will still be there, some new ones will have appeared and others disappeared.
The best way to get a handle on the regular rhythm of the stars appearing and disappearing is to look at the zodiac constellations.
Please don’t forget to share your creations on social media using the hashtag #inspiredbyokdolls
Printables are for home and educator/classroom use.