Sunday, June 24, 2007


After all of the fun she had stargazing last Monday, Elise decided she wanted another go of it this weekend. Saturday afternoon, she took a two hour nap. So, after a fun dinner with Cousin Geetha (who is now in town and celebrates her birthday tomorrow), we put on some warmer clothes and hopped in the car to search for a patch of darkish sky. The park we found wasn't bad, but the well-lit tennis courts guarantee that we'll be finding a different stargazing location in the future.

Elise was thrilled to be able to impress us with her knowledge of the moon and Venus-she knows where they are no problem. I tried to introduce her to Saturn, but by that point she was most interested in picking clover flowers and it likely didn't stick.

The Schmiedeskamp grandparents found a telescope at a garage sale that should add an extra dimension to our visit later this summer. If her reaction to a pair of toy binoculars is any indication, Elise will likely introduce us all to a new form of space flight when she sees this telescope. Not bad for $3. Top that, NASA!

Today, when Elise wanted to play with her new (also $3 coincidentally) binoculars she exclaimed happily that she could go out and look at the sun! Aaaaaaaugh! I must have been a little too serious in my lecture about NEVER looking at the sun because she got very quiet and wanted to snuggle on my lap for a good long while. I thought she was going to weep. But you know, even at the age of three-and-a-half, she gets it. Unlike some people. Given the seriousness of this, I think we'll even wait awhile to do anything with pinholes and cardboard, just to make sure there is absolutely no confusion.

Speaking of eliminating confusion, I've found a couple of astronomy blogs that I really like. The first is called Star Stryder. She has nice explanations of some concepts that are pretty key to understanding basic astronomy, and I like her writing style. Worth checking out!

The second one is called Bad Astronomy. Very informative, very readable, and the occasional fun tidbit thrown in.

Finally, if you like looking up in the sky and wondering about what satellites you're seeing zip by, or you'd like to see the Hubble Telescope or the International Space station, Heavens Above is the place to be. You put in your coordinates, and then you can get whole lists of what you'll see when and where. It's pretty fun to watch some of those satellites. I was too busy gabbing at Friday's star party and missed seeing the space station, but thanks to this website I know when to look again.

That's about all for now. I hope you've all had a great weekend!

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