Space is great – aliens, galaxies, planets and all

space painting funWe’ve had a bit of a space afternoon imagining what aliens might look like if we happened upon them and talking about the moon, planets and the milky way. We had a lot of fun with the paint and paintbrushes, our favourite masterpiece was our 5 year old space lover’s beautiful painting of 2 girl aliens with the moon, saturn with its moons and the milky way in the distance. I’m not very sure of the accuracy of the background (or foreground come to that!) but a lot of messy fun was had.

To top the fun off we went out and had a look at the clear (ish) night sky before bed. We looked at the moon and jupiter (the very bright star currently just below the moon) and venus (the bright star to the lower east of jupiter) and looked for different constellations in the sky. I have to admit it was quite a quick outdoor visit as it’s rather chilly but looking at the planets is quite special. We also managed to just about see the smudge of a nearish galaxy just next to the middle star of orion’s sword through our binoculars.

Take a look outside on the next clear night and see what you can see.

For a bit of assistance in looking at the night sky and where to find what, we love the Stellarium planetarium tool for your PC (it’s free!). There’s also lots of great info on the BBC Space website and for some great images of planets and galaxies, just search Google images – try saturn, jupiter, the moon and the andromeda galaxy for starters!

Children love both the idea of aliens and also to look at the night sky – especially if there’s a mug of hot chocolate after! It’s never too early to get children excited and interested in the great wide world we live in – we love our 2 year old pointing at jupiter and venus and naming them correctly and the excitement he gets EVERY time he sees the moon.

Take a look at the night sky tonight!

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