Books by Philip S. Harrington

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Astronomy For All Ages

Cosmic Challenge

The Deep Sky: An Introduction


The Illustrated Timeline of the Universe

The Space Shuttle

Star Ware, 4th edition

Star Watch

Touring the Universe Through Binoculars





Discovering the Universe through Activities for Children and Adults


Are you a parent, teacher, or maybe a scout leader who is looking for new and different ways to pass on an interest in the night sky to a child?  Inside ASTRONOMY FOR ALL AGES are more than 50 "get-acquainted" activities that are designed for adults and children who want to learn about the night sky together.

The activities range in difficulty from simple enough for elementary students to complex enough to challenge the inquisitive high-school mind. Some require special tools and equipment, while others need only this book, a clear sky, and a sense of curiosity. All are designed to be performed by adults and children together. You will find that by doing so, the curious nature of the children's minds will spark the imagination of everyone involved. The universe is, after all, a place of wonder.

Each activity is rated according to its level of difficulty. The simplest, listed as "elementary," are designed for children from ages 7 to 10. The "intermediate" activities are suitable for ages 11 to 14, while "advanced" activities are appropriate for those between ages 15 and up. Keep in mind that these ranges are only suggestions and can be varied if desired.

Here's a short list of some of our more popular activities. Many make great science fair projects.

        Section I: The Naked-Eye Sky
        •  Use a star map to read the sky
        •  Find the constellations and bright stars of each season
        •  Build your own planisphere
        Section II: The Moon
        •  Follow Jack and Jill and the Moon's phases
        •  Find where the astronauts landed on the moon
        •  Observe lunar eclipses
        Section III: The Sun
        •  How NOT to look at the Sun
        •  Estimate the Sun's period of revolution
        •  Make a sundial
        •  Figure eight in the sky -- making an analemma
        •  Chase solar eclipses
        Section IV: The Solar System
        •  Observe each of the bright planets
        •  Weigh yourself on other planets
        •  Look for micro-meteorites
        •  Build a pocket solar system
        Section V: Deep Space
        •  Seeing double!  Observing double stars
        •  Families of stars - observing star clusters
        •  Clouds in space - observing nebulae
        •  Distant islands of stars - observing galaxies
        Section VI: Optics and Astronomy
        •  Fun with optics
        •  A telescope and binocular primer
        •  Build your own 6-inch reflecting telescope
        •  Discover ROY G. BIV - build a spectroscope
        •  Take photographs of the night sky
All readers should start with the basic naked-eye activities found in the beginning of the book. Learn to recognize the night sky as you do your daytime world.  Then, once you are familiar with the naked-eye night sky, graduate to those activities that require more in-depth observations of the heavens.

Note that some of these latter activities require the use of a telescope or binoculars. If you don't own one, perhaps consider purchasing one by following the advice found later in the book. Or, for those who are so inclined, how about building the telescope that we detail in one of the activities instead?  Making a telescope is a great family project.

  • Paperback: 214 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.64 x 11.04 x 8.54
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; ISBN: 0762708093; 2nd edition (September 2000)

Library of Congress Catalog Data

LC Control Number: 00041087
Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Brief Description: Harrington, Philip S.
Astronomy for all ages : discovering the universe through activities for children and adults / by Philip Harrington and Edward Pascuzzi.
2nd ed.
Guilford, Conn. : Globe Pequot Press, c2000.
ix, 214 p. : ill., maps ; 28 cm.
CALL NUMBER: QB63 .H317 2000