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The Wonders of a Planetarium and an Observatory

Updated on September 10, 2013
Kristine Manley profile image

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.


Have you ever caught someone just staring into space? Sure you have. I decided to make my staring into space count for something, so I went to an observatory, and the wonders I saw. I noticed that not all stars are the same color; some shine more brightly than others. I often wondered where the Moon went during the day and sometimes I've seen the Moon during the day. How does the Moon shine? When we can't see the Moon where does it go? I know it shows up in different places in the night sky. If possible, visit the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC or an Air and Space Museum wherever you reside, if there is one available to you.

To get the lowdown on upcoming star attractions and planet sightings sign up to receive e-mails from your local Observatories and Planetariums. During certain months you'll be able to see certain planets with the naked eye. The Milky Way is always a sight to see and there are times when you will be able to see Saturn with its magnificent rings. Other interesting observations are meteor showers and lunar and solar eclipses. Children, especially, will have a blast at an Observatory or at a Planetarium.

Have A Street Astronomy Outing For The Neighborhood

If you can't plan a field trip then have the field come to you. There are Astronomy Organizations that have outreach programs. They will bring binoculars and telescopes to children's events, schools, churches, parks, birthday parties and other events to teach your group about the wonders of the night sky. For the kids, make star shaped cookies and have Moon Pies, I couldn't resist the Moon Pies.

Binoculars or Telescope - Which one do I choose?

The instrument of choice is determined by what object or objects you would like to view.

  • If you want to veiw remote objects or objects that are very far away then a telescope would be the instrument of choice.
  • For an overview of the galaxy, binoculars are the best to use because you are seeing with both eyes.

What's the difference between an Observatory and a Planetarium?

  • An Observatory - is a place where terrestrial and celestial events can be viewed. Celestial events include phases of the Moon, meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, and comets.
  • A Planetarium - is a theater that can mimic the Universe. This is where multi-media special effects come in. You'll have a unique experience of the Universe through the use of video, slide shows, music, narration, and computer animations. Planetariums are popular with classes and other groups who are studying Astronomy.


Bushnell Powerview 8x21 Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular (Black)
Bushnell Powerview 8x21 Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular (Black)

Bushnell PowerView binoculars offer the best of both worlds, combining contemporary styling and design with traditional Bushnell quality and durability. This particular PowerView binocular offers an 8x magnification and a 21mm objective diameter. The fully coated optics, meanwhile, guarantee superior light transmission and brightness, helping you see just about any target, whether you're searching for birds or trying to get a better view of the stage. And users will love the easy-to-use center focusing system, which adjusts quickly to keep your subject in sharp view. Additional features include a nonslip rubber armor housing that absorbs shock while providing a firm grip, a neck strap and a carrying case for easy transport, and 9mm of eye relief.



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    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Nina, watching the stars is a cheap enjoyable outing. I do it on Summer nights with some friends.

    • zanin profile image

      zanin 6 years ago from London, England

      I'm glad I read this hub. I am going to add 'watching stars' as part of our trip for summer holidays. Can't afford to hire anyone, or go to Planetariums or Observatories. I think a few books from the library and some binoculars will make a perfect evening trip out. Very useful hub. Nina

    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi kirsteno, thanks. I'm sure your son will love going to an Observatory. I was extremely fascinated when I first went to one.

    • kirsteno profile image

      kirsteno 6 years ago

      Those are some fabulous ideas. I home school and my son is fascinated with all things science. I need to get on the ball, and take him to an observatory!