Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1-12-09 Venus - Polaris Street Astro

What do Venus and Polaris have in common, and how are they different? Well to most folks they are just points of light in the sky, one is a famous star - the other is a planet. Ok, but what else do you know about them? Not much is the usual answer. In fact upon interviewing my guests this evening most said that they have never even heard of Polaris! How can this be? Is this just the luck of the draw in regards to my visitors, or are we in a really bad state of ignorance concerning the cosmos? Time to go too work!
Here's how it went tonight:
Interview - what do you know.
Model with the inflatable Earth it's spin and axial tilt.
With the inflatable Earth and star wheel model the turning sky, with the pivot point of Polaris as the key focus.
Let's find Polaris: Fist out at arms length - face north - four fist width up. "Hey this is easy!" "Wow"!
Telescope view of Polaris: "Oh my God!" " It looks like a diamond!" "How cool !"
Do you see that tiny star to Polaris's right - that's it's partner! "No way" " This is awesome!"
Let's compare our Sun which is a star with Polaris: Sun/Earth model and a length of yarn do the trick. Most visitors are VERY impressed with comparative sizing of these two stars! The ladies in the picture were totally blown away, and went off telling others to stop by and learn!
And we have not even made it over to Venus yet!


Guitar Dad said...

Hi Richard. Thanks for visiting my site and leaving such a nice comment. Your blog looks great and I look forward to digging into it. As you suggest, I will continue teaching my kids about astronomy, and learning more about it myself. It truly is astounding and quite intoxicating, if you ask me. Keep up your great work!

Sidewalk Universe said...

I am always walking around in a astro-intoxicated state! Some of the symptoms: always looking up, on the web a whole bunch, astro books and magazines piled up by my bedside, and sleep deprived!