You’ve probably been an astronomy buff for a long time. However, no matter how many years have passed since you first became hooked, there is one moment you will always remember. It’s the moment when you first felt that looking up into the night sky brought you closer to the cosmos. If you’ve only viewed the sky through the glow of city lights, you probably have no idea how tremendously dazzling the night sky is when seen without light pollution.
Of course, many people enjoy looking at the sky through a variety of telescopes and binoculars. It’s not necessary, though, because you can see a great deal with the naked eye if you’re far from city lights. Do you remember the first time you watched the stars on a clear, dark night? Were you lucky enough as a child to see comets, meteors or “falling stars” zipping across the sky? What did you think and feel when viewing the constellations that seemed to have more bright spots of light than you had ever imagined possible? For many of us, these first experiences with astronomy are some of the high points of our childhood memories.
Would you like to feel that amazement again? If you’re a parent, there is no better way to recapture that sense of awe than to share it with your children. Take a trip to the countryside on a clear evening and share your love of astronomy. It’s a good idea to first look at the sky with your kids before leaving home so they’ll truly notice the difference when you are far away from city lights. Your children will be astonished by the difference, and you’ll likely hear a few well-deserved exclamations of “Awesome!”
Your children may be slightly overwhelmed at first by the immensity and majesty of the undiluted night sky, probably because it will be the first time they’ve seen that many stars at once. Be sure to talk about the fact that every one of those little lights in the sky is a star, many with planets orbiting and many much larger than earth. Most children have a hard time imagining the scope of the earth itself, much less anything larger. The fact that there are countless celestial bodies within our sight is sure to be simply amazing to any child.