Here are some things to do from home if you have been inspired by your visit to the planetarium and want to find out more.
Look at the night sky
Our view of space changes all the time as the Earth rotates on its axis and orbits the Sun. You will also see different things depending on where you are on the Earth.
For more detail, try using Heavens-Above
. This excellent website lets you put in your location and the date, and then tells you how to spot star-patterns, satellites and all sorts of things. You can print out star-maps to help you find your way around the sky.
You can see so much (coloured stars, planets, nebulae, satellites, meteors, galaxies and more) just with your eyes, but if you can get hold of binoculars or a telescope then you will be amazed by how much more can be seen. Here's some advice from the University of Manchester for anybody thinking of buying binoculars
or a telescope
Try to spot the International Space Station or other manned missions. NASA
tells you where to look.
Read the latest space news
A great Space Blog
from the Planetary Society (for older readers)
Or catch up with what NASA
are doing on their YouTube videos.
Join a club / go to an event
There are lots of clubs and societies in the region. Note however that most astronomy societies have a lower age limit for members.
There are also many local astronomical societies around the UK who do lots of different things. To find one wherever you live, look at HantsAstro's AstroSouth directory for societies in the south of England or on the Federation of Astronomical Societies website for national coverage.
In Hampshire, you could find:
Other societies in the region:
Finally, check out the Society for Popular Astronomy http://www.popastro.com/
who have just started a kids section. They have plenty of information about how to get involved with astronomy.
Be part of a research project
YOU can contribute to important scientific investigations. There are lots of images of space that need to be analysed, but sometimes computers cannot work as well as a human brain. You can volunteer to help by looking at images online in your own time, maybe even getting your name on a research paper. Here are three projects you could be part of:
(Oxford University) – identify different kinds of galaxy
(Royal Observatory Greenwich) – spot solar storms. As well as learning new things about our Sun, this project helps warn astronauts if there is dangerous space-weather coming their way.
Or look out your window for this one: Moonwatch (HM Nautical Almanac Office)
- spot the new crescent moon
Consider a career in astronomy
Find out what life is like as an astronomer by catching up with their cosmic diaries
on this well-designed web-site.
Find out more about space
And our friends at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, have some great online factfiles
(aimed at ages 16+).
Planetarium software for your computer (all free)
Remember - never install software onto any computer without the permission of the owner!
- a view from Earth, great for finding out what you can see tonight.
World Wide Telescope
from Microsoft lets you explore the night sky and zoom in to find interesting objects, with links to pictures and information.
Other fun stuff
Solar system visualiser
- watch planets and moons orbiting in our solar system and also around other stars! See the shapes of the orbits and how fast the objects move as they go around. Very simple to use.
Great little interactives
– find out about loads of different space topics by playing with these neat gizmos. Mostly for KS3+.
There are lots of events websites where you can find out about things that are happening near you. Among other places, you can find Winchester Science Centre events on:
If you know any other websites that you think should be on this list, let us know
! Also it is inevitable that some of these links will get out of date. Please let us know if you spot any so the Science Centre can avoid other people being disappointed.