Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Birds of Prey and Astronomy Crafts

Here it is August, I’m pretty sure I’ve somehow been teleported to another time zone as summer is spinning by awfully fast. But it’s a fun summer as we’ve been having all sorts of adventures.

Birds of Prey

The Sonora Desert Museum hosts special programs on Saturday nights every summer in the cool (hah!) of the evening. We made dinner reservations and some friends joined us for our expedition.

© Margaret Clifton, All Rights Reserved (used with permission)

We enjoyed a lecture about birds of prey and were able to see the birds up close. In one instance, we watched a Great Horned Owl gobble up a live mouse—kind of icky but fascinating at the same time.

A Harris Hawk has been visiting my yard lately, but I always miss getting a photo of it. I suspect my bird feeders are attracting its interest.

Astronomy Crafting

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

After the birds of prey lecture, we zoomed over to the program celebrating 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

Maggie and I joined the children’s hands-on program and crafted things like the Star Wheel I made above. It was fun even if we were the only adults in a group of kids—we’re kids at heart and learn from such activities, too.

I found the same projects we did at the museum online which makes it nice for sharing with you.

If you’d like to make a Star Wheel yourself (okay, maybe also share with your kids), you can download the project
here. To use a star wheel, you do the following (from Hands-on Universe)

  • Set date and time of night by rotating the Star Wheel in the Star Holder until your desired time of night lines up with the desired date.
  • To find a constellation note which horizon it is closest to and orient the Star Holder so that horizon is near is at the bottom, making that part of the sky to look right-side up.
  • Constellations higher in the sky (closer to the zenith) are closer to the center of the map.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

This is the Star Clock I made from a Sky & Telescope project. Here’s the link to the PDF and instructions for making your own Star Clock.

Since so many children’s programs are offered during the summer, don’t forget adults can join in the merriment, too. These projects would also work wonderfully well for those of you who home school your children. Summer is a grand time, isn’t it?



Thimbleanna said...

Hmmm, not sure I'd want to see a hawk eating a mouse -- on the other hand, like you, I'd probably be fascinated! We needed all your star knowledge two weeks ago when we were in Durango and spent a few hours under the stars looking for falling stars. We couldn't figure those constellations out for anything! ;-)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi June!

You always find fun things to do and fun things to make! I can't wait to see the stars in the wilderness someday.

I saw a red tailed hawk in a local park recently --it was exciting for this city girl to see soemthing like that..lol...future blog post.

Hugs, Pat