You don’t need a clear, country sky to get up close and personal with the stars. Use these fun constellation projectors to bring the magic of the night sky indoors!
What you need
- Non-LED flashlight
- Black acrylic paint
- Black cardstock
- Small hole punch or thumbtack
- White pencil crayon or marker
Adult supervision may be needed when handling scissors.
- Remove the top of the flashlight to access the bulb. Often, there is a silver reflective surface on the inside. This will have to be painted over with black paint. Once it has dried, screw the top back on.
- Place the flashlight, bulb side down, on the black cardstock. Use it as a template and trace around it to make a circle. Repeat this as many times as you would like constellations.
- Cut out all of the cardstock circles.
- Using a star chart, pick out your favourite constellations and draw them on the cardstock circles. Make sure to clearly mark where all of the stars are located.
- Using a small hole punch or a thumbtack (placed on a piece of cardboard), poke holes where the stars are located. Make sure they’re big enough to allow light to shine through!
- Optional: using your white pencil crayon or marker, label each circle with the constellation name.
Place one of the constellation circles at the end of the flashlight, wedging it inside the brim. Turn the lights in the room off, and turn on the flashlight. When you point it at a blank wall, you will see your constellation come to life!
Of course, there aren’t really shapes in the sky – they’re just stars that appear to be close together from our perspective. However, grouping them into the shapes of animals, figures, and objects has helped navigators find their way for centuries, just by looking up!
On a warm, clear night (preferably away from a city), bring a star chart along to find your favourite constellations. Now that you have practised with your flashlight, see if you can recognize them in the sky.
No matter whether you use the Greek constellations for your flashlight or another culture’s set, there are always stories rooted in mythology behind why the constellations are what they are. By reading on the different legends behind them, you can use the night sky to tell a story of another time and how they saw the stars.