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MAKING THE NIGHT SKY

Were cowboys sick most of the time?

Whip out your astronomy books and look at photos, drawings,
diagrams (or whatever) of constellations, and choose one for yourself. (After all, they belong to us anyway!)

Using the constellation you chose, punch pin holes in the lid of a large oatmeal carton, a shoe box, or a saltbox, in the pattern of the desired constellation. Slightly larger holes can be made to represent brighter stars. A lid can also be made to depict the whole night sky. That would have to be a very large lid.

When the container is placed over a light bulb or a flash-
light, the images can be projected in a darkened room.

Then other students can try to identify the constellations.

If somebody's mom wants to spring for a gigantic pizza pan,
a class project could diagram several constellations on the
pan, and a brave teacher with some sharp instruments could
punch the appropriate sizes of holes according to the diagram and then you'd have a great night sky.

Numerous constellations, such as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor
(also known as the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper), can be seen on a clear night. They are in the general direction of "up."

What is a dipper? A dipper is the ladle that cowboys used to drink water from a well. Cowboys must have had lotsa germs.

So, what are we going to see? Bears or ladles? "Ursa" is a Latin word meaning "bear." So we have "big bear" and "little bear." Bears do not look like ladles. Well, now I see, in the Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, that the Big Dipper is a part of the Big Bear. What part of a bear would resemble a ladle? We can wonder or we can look further and try to make that determination in a semi-scientific manner.

 

 
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