Stars, Comets & Meteors
by Megan Mora Fuentes
Next week, in the early morning hours of August 11, 12, and 13, the Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak visibility, offering the perfect opportunity to explore homeschool astronomy and enjoy some summer science fun.
The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year from mid-July to mid-August. Dark skies away from light pollution—such as state parks—abound in rural Virginia. Check out this Homeschool Living for tips on viewing the meteor shower and great resources for incorporating stars, comets, and meteors into a fun summer unit study.
Are shooting stars really stars? Nine planets answers this question and more with information on meteors, meteorites, and impacts. (Note: A quote cited on this page makes reference to evolution.)
This simple experiment uses a few common household items to explore meteor impacts. This is also an excellent experiment to practice using a lab notebook to record data from your experiments. (Click through the series of tabs.)
Comets: Space Snowballs
You can create a model comet out of dry ice—complete with shooting jets–to explore the construction of a comet and allow students to make observations, discuss changing states of matter and demonstrate measuring skills. (Be sure to follow the instructions and safety tips, as dry ice can cause burns if not handled properly.)
Homeschool Astronomy: Stars & Constellations
This comprehensive constellation chart includes maps of the night sky in both the northern and southern hemispheres, as well as detailed information about each of the 88 constellations, such as their locations, their introduction as a constellation, and the stories and myths associated with many of their names. You can also learn about various stars, asterisms, meteor showers—including the upcoming Perseid—and other deep space objects. (I spent a couple of hours exploring this website and didn’t make a dent in the wealth of information available!)
Create beautiful star patterns with this simple, but intriguing science experiment.