Oct 01, 2013 05:26PM
Clear Skies, Cool Nights Open Vast Vistas
The magical night sky is a perfect playground for a child’s imagination.Wishing upon a star is an iconic activity steeped in everyone’s childhood desire to attain happiness and fulfillment. Actual stargazing can help make parents’ dreams for their children’s well-being come true, as well.
Children are exposed to imagining the larger celestial realm through popular films, science fiction literature and pop songs, plus more tangibly via current sky events. Consider news of the meteoroid that exploded over Russia in February and the latest images from the surface of Mars beamed to us by the NASA rover Curiosity. Experiencing the excitement of early knowledge can bolster academics while fostering a calming sense of the order of nature’s rhythms.
“Astronomy ties into every educational domain—physics, geometry, algebra, history and ecology,” advises former elementary school teacher Hiram Bertoch, of West Valley City, Utah, owner of the KidsKnowIt Network, which maintains 10 free children’s learning websites, including KidsAstronomy.com. Standing in awe at the wonders of the universe can also instill a centering sense of humility in the face of such grandeur.
Autumn is one of the best times for channeling youngsters’ intrigue in constellations, given the clearer skies and comfortably cool nights. This year, families can anticipate a special viewing of the Comet ISON, which is expected to be visible from much of the United States in late November.