If you struggle to spot the saucepan in the sky let alone Venus or the cow jumping over the moon, these three astronomy facts are just what you need to boost your ‘star’ status with the kids.
And Kirsten Banks, an astronomy educator who works at the Sydney Observatory, is just the professional star gazer to help.
Here’s Kirsten’s three out of this world astronomy facts to teach your kids
#1 “The Sun is so big that it can fit 1.5 million Earths inside of it!”
I know what you’re thinking, ‘get outta town’, but it’s 100% true and 5 million light years away impressive.
“I always like to go for the big facts!” suggests Kirsten. And that is one big sun of a gun…
#2 “You can fit all of the other planets in between the Earth and the Moon, with room to spare!”
And if that doesn’t impress their little socks off, teach them to moonwalk while singing ‘Billie Jean’. That’s a joke. Better still, back up your earth to moon distance with a fast fact about American Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969. That’s always reliably impressive.
#3 “When we look out into space, we’re looking back in time!”
Wowser. That’s got to impress them. Even if they haven’t seen and don’t appreciate Michael J Fox in Back To The Future. To explain, Kirsten says “when we look toward the most distant galaxies in the universe, we’re looking more than 13 billion years into the past.”
How To Nurture & Encourage Children’s Interest In Space & Astronomy
Kirsten has more than three ways to pique the children’s interest in outta space. As the current spokesperson for just launched computer game Starlink: Battle for Atlas (PS4, Xbox and Switch), which offers an educational look into the space system, she shares a few more shooting star ideas and advice …
What are some fun activities to educate children on astronomy and space?
A. “There are many great fun activities that you can do with your children to support an exciting learning environment in astronomy and space. One simple thing you can do is go out at night and look up at the night sky, and if the clouds come in to rain on your parade, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is fantastic. Starlink is a wonderful learning environment that promotes imagination and exploration and gets the whole family involved.”
Q. What’s a good age to begin teaching children about astronomy?
A. “I think we should educate kids about astronomy very early in life. Speculating the wonders of the universe can promote an incredible imagination and fulfil a sense of place in the universe.”
Q. You are an astronomy educator. How did your interest in astronomy begin?
A. “My interest in astronomy began when I was in High School. Our whole year group was taken on a trip out of school to the IMAX Theatre in Sydney to watch a documentary about the Hubble Space Telescope. I remember sitting there in the theatre, with the one size fits none 3D glasses sliding off my face, watching as incredible photos of space taken by this phenomenal telescope flashed upon the oversized screen. I realised in that moment that I needed to learn more about the universe, I had to study space and astronomy.”