Have you ever tried to count the stars in the sky? There are so many! But we know all those stars and have given them names. If you look through a telescope or even binoculars, you’ll see even more stars, because they can see farther-away stars that aren’t bright enough for your eye to see. You’ll be blown away by how many more dots show up. Once in a while, though, even a kid can find a new star. On this day in 2008, 14-year-old Caroline Moore studied photos from her telescope and found an exploding star — called a supernova — that no one had ever spotted before. Then on December 31, 2010, a 10-year old named Kathryn Gray found another one, beating the record for youngest supernova discoverer ever. There are far more stars to find, so grab your telescope!
Wee ones: Once it’s dark out tonight, can you see any stars, or the Moon or any bright spots? Count as many as you can!
Little kids: If in the hazy night sky you can see the moon, 4 stars, and the planets Venus and Jupiter, how many night sky objects can you see? Bonus: If you count up 70 stars in batches of 10, what numbers do you say to count them off?
Big kids: If in one square section of the sky you count 12 stars, then look at it through a telescope and see 4 times as many stars, how many do you see now? (Quick trick: to multiply by 4, you can double the number, then double it again.) Bonus: If you divide the sky into 20 equal sections, and you count 100 stars in one chunk, how many stars can you guess are showing across the whole sky?
Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on…into the hundreds if you’re not tired!
Little kids: 7 night objects. Bonus: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70.
Big kids: 48 stars. Bonus: 2,000 stars — about how many the naked eye can see on a clear dark night.