Worksheet of the Week: Connect the Constellation? – Cancer

connect-the-constellation-cancerAs Max and GC travel through the far reaches of the galaxy, they spend a LOT of time looking at the stars. It is very important for them to be able to identify different sets of stars so they know how to properly navigate between planets! For the astronomer in training, you will certainly want to download this Worksheet of the Week and start getting familiar with the constellations you see in the night sky! That way, you will be as sharp as Max and GC in spotting rogue comets, asteroids, and planets in your Spaceport missions! http://budurl.me/MBWorksheet129

Identifying Constellations at the ISP

Have you ever noticed that the stars in the sky form different shapes? Many others throughout history have as well! Groups of stars that form different patterns in the sky are known as constellations. As you might have noticed, we at the International Spaceport are huge fans of astronomy, or the study of outer space. When we have the free time, we like to look out some of the big windows that of the ISP and take a look at some of these constellations! Would you care to join us?
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If you are looking for a reference to some constellations, you can always refer to your friends’ Star Status charts. As you do more kind gestures for your friends, you can fill up these constellations and get even more ideas for stars to look at in the sky. Today GC and I are on the hunt for the Pegasus shaped constellation. Look closely at how the stars of the constellation match the picture of the Pegasus.
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Now we look for a place to observe the stars. This section of the Mutt Training Center would be the PERFECT place for stargazing. Now it is time to relax and focus on the sky…

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Oh look! There it is! Thanks to our handy guidebook, we were able to locate constellations that astronomers around earth have observed for hundreds of years! Isn’t that amazing?

Now that you have an understanding of how to stargaze, you should try it on your own when you are away from the ISP. Use your Star Status charts to find constellations on those upcoming warm summer nights and start your real life star adventures.

The Earth and Moon

In our night sky, there is one celestial body that is easy spot – the moon. Like a large, natural satellite, the moon orbits around our Earth and is brighter than any regular nighttime cosmic object. So what is the difference between our Earth and the moon? Here are some characteristics that distinguish these differences along with some similarities that you can share with your Cadets at home.

Photo by Blatant World

Photo by Blatant World

The first major difference is our atmosphere here on Earth. It holds in the essential gasses we need to breath and helps to distribute thermal energy so that our planet does not get too hot or too cold. It is an important part of what makes Earth livable. The moon has a very thin atmosphere, which causes wild temperatures. On the moon during the day it can exceed 200°F and can drop to as low as -280°F at night! That’s too hot and too cold for any human, plant or animal from Earth to live comfortably.

Gazing at the moon in the night sky, it is hard to tell how big it really is. It is actually only a little over a quarter the size of our Earth, which is smaller than all of the planets in our solar system, with the exception of the dwarf planet, Pluto. But, compared to its counterpart during the day, why does the moon seem about the same size as the sun? Not only is the moon 400 times smaller, but also it is also 400 times closer to the Earth than the sun is! This explains why they look similar in size in our sky.

Believe it or not, the moon wasn’t always a fixture that orbited the Earth. So how did it get there? Scientists believe that the moon was formed from a huge collision that blasted a chunk off of the Earth. The debris was caught in orbit and eventually formed the moon.
It is true that the moon brightens up our night sky, but that is not the only thing it helps Earth with. Acting along with the sun, the moon’s gravitational forces are responsible for our ocean’s high and low tides.

The Earth and the moon are very different in size, atmosphere, temperature, and even terrain. The Earth is a unique planet that supports life and the moon helps the Earth support that life. So although very different, the moon serves a beneficial purpose as it orbits the Earth.

Counting Whales from Space

Who knew there are high tech gadgets to help us count whales? Scientists created a new, high resolution satellite technology to not only just count the number of whales, but to estimate their population size.

Photo by Isaac Kohane

Photo by Isaac Kohane

It has always been extremely difficult and costly to estimate whale population size of marine mammals. This new method is revolutionary in the sense that it is much more accurate and it can cover larger areas at the same time, which is very beneficial for conservation efforts to protect the whale species.

This technique has a 89% chance of identifying probable whales in space. This semi automated method however, still need some manual input to give the most accurate results. Future satellite platforms will provide even higher quality imagery.

Nothing but Red Skies

A red sky in our atmosphere here on Earth is a beautiful sight at sunrise or sunset and it is also indicative of the weather changing. But on other planets and stars, a red sky may not seem as glamorous or simple. An example of a strange celestial body, called a brown dwarf, with unusually red skies was discovered recently by a team of astronomers.

Photo by JanetR3

Brown dwarfs are actually not planets or stars. They fall in a category in between the two because they are too big to be called planets, but they do not possess the right properties to fully transform into stars either. A Brown dwarf’s size is in between a star, like the Sun, and a big planet, like Jupiter. Sometimes they can be referred to as “failed stars” since they lack the energy source a star has making them cold and not as visible in our night skies.

A particular brown dwarf caught the eye of astronomers recently because of its very red appearance in comparison to others. Using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) located in Chile, astronomers were able to observe this peculiar sight. They found that a thick layer of clouds in the brown dwarf’s atmosphere was causing it to look red. But these clouds aren’t the same as the ones we are used to here on Earth—these clouds are made mostly of mineral dust and the size of these dust grains are what makes the brown dwarf appear red.

The Astronomers found that the brown dwarf’s atmosphere is very hot and extreme, containing gases not suitable for us here on Earth to breath. Not only is the brown dwarf too hot for us to survive there, but it also has very large particles that dominate its atmosphere. Ouch!

Observing these celestial bodies, along with other planets and stars, will give us great insight as to how these extreme atmospheres work. Scientists can also better understand the range of the many atmospheres that can exist in our galaxy.

My Pod: Your Home Aboard the Space Station

Every Blaster needs a break from working to save the I.S.P. and your Math Blaster Pod is the perfect place for a peaceful retreat. Here, Blasters can throw their own Pod parties to celebrate their accomplishments, invite over their in-game B.F.F.s, or just relax and decorate their humble abode. For some tips and tricks to mastering this area of the Space Station, here is a video on what to expect while in My Pod!

Make it your own –  A Blaster’s Pod is their home away from home and can be customized with all the things that make a Cadet calm, cool and ready for adventure! While you’re settling in, you can fulfill one of GC’s Missions and grab new furniture from the My Pod Store or rearrange existing furnishings for a brand new feel! With all the options for beds, tables, seating, and lighting or gadgets, Cadets can personalize their Pods to make it truly their own!

Seeing Stars – Your Blaster can track their Star Status on their very own chart located in their Pod. You can collect more Stars by helping out fellow Cadets in caring for their Monster Mutts or by visiting other Blaster’s Pods and ranking them!

A change in scenery – Is your Blaster enjoying their view of space from their Pod? Perhaps you would rather relax in a Pod underwater. Whichever it may be, Cadets can change their Pod Location to suit their mood. Grab different Locations off the My Pod Store to switch through sceneries!

Click here to learn more about your Pod!

Build Your Own Planet

What is a simply DIY craft project that you and your space-crazed kid can complete together? Try making this easy, mess-free solar system to hang in your Blaster’s room!

Materials

The materials you need to complete this galactic task are as follow:

  • Color paper
  • Scissors
  • Compass or several circular objects (mugs, bowls, plates, etc.)
  • Pencil
  • Fishing line
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Star-shaped stickers (optional)

StackedStapledFishing Line

Steps:

  1. To create our hometown, Earth, you will need blue, green, brown, and white colored paper.
  2. To be precise, you can set your compass’ width to be 7 cm, which means the diameter of your circles will be 14 cm in total. Or you can use a large mug instead, and trace the outline onto the colored paper by using your pencil.
  3. Using your scissors, cut out the circles. Then, fold them in half.
  4. As shown in the image, stack the paper and staple across the crease that you just folded to keep the paper intact
  5. Then, fold the paper backwards to create a 3-dimensional shape.
  6. Tie the fishing line around the center seem.
  7. Tie a knot and your Earth is completed!
  8. Optional: You can purchase star-shaped stickers and use it as a label for the planet and to cover up the knot you tied in step 7.
  9. Repeat steps 1 to 8 to create Saturn, but this time, use orange, yellow, brown, and white colored paper instead, and set your compass’ width to 10 cm, or find a bigger circular object.
  10. To create the ring, simply create two circles in white and brown respectively that are just a tiny bit smaller than the ones you did to create the spherical shape of Saturn.
  11. Glue them together by slightly overlapping them, and slide it over the 3D Saturn.
  12. Repeat steps 1 to 8 to create the other planets, but make sure you alter the measurement of your compass slightly to show the scale between the different planets.

Complete

Note:

  • The more circles you cut out, the more detailed your planets will look, but it will also be harder to staple all the paper together.
  • Assist your kid when using the compass – the sharp tip can be hazardous.