Activities, Kids

Star Gazing And Smores

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Tonight, we crossed off two more summer bucket list things- a bonfire with friends and eating smores and looking at the stars. I actually didn’t think we’d be able to use my dad’s gigantic telescope because when we started our fire, it was still light out. But as the night went on, I brought it out. Thanks to my brother for showing me how to use it because finding planets in a telescope is harder than you’d think it would be.

Whenever we make smores, I buy different kinds of chocolate because I’m not a milk chocolate fan. It’s too sweet for my taste. I’m more of a dark chocolate kind of person, so I bought both kinds and also peanut butter cups because I can’t resist those on a smore. I’ve heard kit kats are good on smores too, but I’ll have to try that next time. As soon as we got the fire going, the kids and their friends got started right away, roasting, or burning, their marshmallows. I designated myself as the giver of the crackers and chocolate and we were off. There was a lot of gooey goodness going on. As soon as everyone had their share of sugar, the kids went inside the house and the adults were left in the silence of the outdoors. It was amazing.

Once the friends started leaving with overtired kids, I thought I’d bust out the telescope since my kids were still awake. I had never used it before, but my brother knew how to get it set up. It took some fiddling, but we finally got everything in it’s right place and were able to see Jupiter and Saturn. The kids were very excited to see them, even though they looked like little light dots inside the eyepiece. With Jupiter, we could see three of it’s moons right next to it. And Saturn had it’s rings that were very visible from so far away. I tried to take pictures through the eye piece with my cell phone, but it did not do it justice.

I have always loved stars. I took an astronomy class in college and I loved it. There is something about star gazing that is so magical, that somehow you are a tiny part of a giant universe, and everything seems so big. I love that stars shine so brightly even though they are so small and might not be seen. It reminds me of a song I learned as a child. The lyrics say,

Ev’ry star is diff’rent,

And so is ev’ry child.

Some are bright and happy,

And some are meek and mild.

Ev’ry one is needed

For just what he can do.

You’re the only person

Who ever can be you.

A shining star, shining brightly,

Not so very far, shining brightly;

Be a shining star. Shine so brightly;

Shine right where you are, brightly!

Saturn Jupiter and three moons

I’m so glad that I made the split second decision to take the telescope out and show my kids the planets in the sky. They were mesmerized by it. They could not believe that the pictures that they had seen of Saturn were the real deal. After seeing it with their own eyes, they could not deny it’s existence. I’m pretty sure the world just got a whole lot bigger for them.

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