Counting the Stars

Have you ever tried to count the stars in the sky? There are so many! Once in a while, 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.

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