Astronomy at Home

Explore the night sky using our online resources and make-and-do activities specially designed by astronomers at the Royal Observatory, all from the comfort of your own home. 

Make your own constellations!

Constellations are groups of stars that can resemble different things when you connect them together. While different cultures throughout history have created their own constellations, most of these star patterns represent animals, people and monsters from mythology, or objects. There are also asterisms in the night sky, which are patterns of stars that are sometimes a small part of a constellation. Constellations and asterisms were a way for people to weave different myths and beliefs into the night sky and they were a convenient way to help with navigation at night. Today, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) recognises 88 constellations in our skies! 

If you want to learn some of the brightest and easiest constellations and asterisms to spot in the night sky from the Northern Hemisphere, then check out our activity for making a star scope: Star Scope The constellations and asterisms for the activity can be found here: Constellations and Asterisms Sheet

Some of these star patterns can be found in the night sky...tonight! For an in-depth look into the night sky during the month, check out our Night Sky Highlights

 

Find out about what stars are really like!

When you look up at the night sky, the stars might look like they are all very similar to one another. Stars can actually be different colours, different sizes, they can be different temperatures, and they can live for different amounts of time. They can also act completely differently!

Watch our video 'The Story of Stars' to learn more about the different types of stars. Then colour and complete our ROG star cards to show the differences between three stars: Otis, Georgie and Markus. You can find the cards here: ROG star cards

 

Explore the Solar System by making your own Solar System in a Box!

Our Solar System is made up of a star, which is our Sun, and the eight planets. If you'd like to explore the Solar System up close, then check out our video. Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Brendan will recreate the Solar System in plasticine form to demonstrate the science of light and dark, and light and shadow, in space. Families can recreate their very own Solar System in a Box!

Want to learn more about the sizes of the planets in our Solar System? Use simple fruits to represent the planets and see just how different the sizes of the planets are with our online resource here: Solar System Fruits

 

Learn about the Phases of the Moon using Light and Shadow!

The Moon is orbiting the Earth every day, but why does it look like it is changing shape in the night sky? Take a look at the video below to explore how the location of the Moon helps determine the phase of the Moon we see in our sky. 
 
 
If you'd like to learn more, then please take a look at our education activities for children that are 7-11 years old and 11-14 years old, here: Moon Key State 2 and Moon Key Stage 3. And don't forget to keep an eye out for the Moon tonight. What shape is the Moon? Draw it and try to figure out the Moon phase.
 

Make sure to keep in contact with us on Twitter during #AstronoMay! 

What is your favourite planet? And your favourite phase of the Moon? Make sure to send us your answers and any photographs of your handmade Solar System or drawings of the Moon to us on our Twitter Handle @ROGAstronomers.  Also if you have any questions, then please send them to us on Twitter! Our astronomers at the Royal Observatory will be tweeting every day during the entire month of May, talking about our weird and wonderful Universe and answering your questions. New family activities will be launched every weekend in May!

Twitter

Check out our other #AstronoMay activities on our website: AstronoMay at the Royal Observatory

Want to learn more about astronomy?

Please make sure to check out our Learning at Home page, where you can find a range of educational activities and resources for all ages and key stages. These resources have been made by Royal Observatory astronomers in collaboration with our teacher forum. Find it here: Royal Observatory Learning at Home