Friday, October 12, 2007

Stargazing: three books

Last night Dad came over and took David, Marley, Sam and me to a Night Sky Program put on by the National Park Service. We joined a few other people (22 in all - including children) and watched a powerpoint/slide presentation in the park's small movie theater inside the museum. Afterwards our park ranger took us outside to help us find various important stars and constellations.

When we came out, the skies were dark and the stars were breathtaking. Sam exclaimed, "Oh, Mom! Look at the STARS!" There wasn't a cloud in the sky. No moon. The Milky Way was clear and gorgeous. The constellations of Cepheus and Cassiopeia were bright and easy to spot, as were the Summer Triangle, Cygnus, Draco, and Pegasus.

Because there are no outside lights at Horseshoe Bend Military Park, it was the perfect place for stargazing. And the weather was perfect, as were the incredibly clear skies.

When we got home, I got out three books on stars I have enjoyed before and began rereading them.

The first was H.A. Rey's book, The Stars: A New Way to See Them. I bought this book a decade ago, and it's one of the best homeschool purchases I ever made. Rey describes each constellation and where to find them, and he draws sensible graphic dot-to-dot (rather, star-to-star) images to help one see them. Add to that his easy-to-understand explanations of such things as sidereal days, the equinoxes, the pole star (and how it has changed) and many other facts related to astronomy, and his calendar charts of the night sky, and you have a great book for children and adults.

I also got out Astronomy and the Bible: Questions and Answers by Donald B. DeYoung, which is just what the title says. It's a quick and easy read, and perfect to find short answers to questions about astronomy as it relates to Scripture, and some general science questions, too. I also like it because Mr. DeYoung gives a list of resources for astronomy and creation, a Scripture index, and a good subject index if you don't happen to see your particular question listed in the table of contents.

The last book I actually read this morning while waiting for Joan to get her driver's permit. My copy of The Gospel in the Stars by Joseph A. Seiss is an old one from the 1880's, but it has been reprinted. Mr. Seiss was a Lutheran minister and he explained in his book the significance of the different constellations, the amazing similarity of the names ancient civilizations gave each constellation, and how the story of the gospel is contained in the constellations. Referring to Scripture and ancient pagan myths, Mr. Seiss gives a fascinating look at how "the heavens declare the glory of God."



Blogger Julie said...

On Books: I followed your link and went to "Library Thing". After inputting 200 books from a couple of shelves here, GUESS WHO came up with the most common books with me....YOU!
Out of my 200 free input books, you have 68 of the same. Crazy!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

What fun! You must have GREAT taste in books! ;)

11:02 PM  
Blogger Wool Winder said...

Thanks for the reminder to look up. I'll be sure to look for the stars tonight.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

My favorite constellation is Orion.

Adding your book suggestions to my list, I currently own only one book about the night sky. Every year at Callaway I determine to attend the Discovery lecture on the stars, even bringing the binoculars, but have yet to make it. It doesnt start until 9:30p and by then I'm pooped!

4:32 PM  

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