Universe Cycle - Universe (5)
Post Lab 

  • Comparing Constellation Charts with Celestial Globes.
  • Exploring stars.
  • apparent brightness
  • constellation
  • galaxy
  • planet
  • space
  • star
  • Universe


Students learn how to obtain data.


Stars are a basic unit of the night sky. Recognizing individual stars takes careful observation. Locating stars on a map is difficult. You can purchase star charts. However, if you don’t buy the correct latitude and the correct time of the year you are viewing, you many not find the stars. In order to locate position patterns of stars were defined.

The patterns that the stars seem to permanently form are called constellations. There are 88 recognized constellations that help locate and map other objects in the sky. Constellations have their roots in ancient cultures and mythology. These peoples used constellations for navigation, and to foretell changes in the seasons. Currently, constellations are used by astronomers and amateurs astronomers to locate different areas of the night sky.

We cannot see all of the constellations from one point of the Earth’s surface, because some are located close to the poles. For example, the North Star, which helps navigators locate geographic north, is not visible in the Southern Hemisphere.


This exercise allows students to compare different types of star maps. If you have different star finders, bring them in to show students.

  1. Show students the celestial globe model and ask them what it represents. The Earth inside shows how the different positions on the Earth see different portions of the Universe. For example, people in Africa see the southern hemisphere, where Europeans see the northern hemisphere of the celestial globe.
  2. Instruct students to read "Twelve Labors of Hercules."  If you have a projection system, read it as a class.  You may want to assign this as homework before this lesson.  
  3. Give each group of students a Constellation Placemat and inflatable Celestial Globe. First have them locate the characters of Hercules on the map.   
  4. Provide them a  worksheet, so  they can compare the two different types of star maps.  
  5. They should discover that the Constellation Placemat is very simplified whereas the Celestial Globe is very complicated and shows a complete picture of the night sky throughout the year. The Celestial Globe outlines all the sectors of the Universe from Earth. The Constellation Placemat, on the other hand, shows only the constellations in the Northern Hemisphere. The Placemat doesn't show apparent brightness, but the Celestial Globe does. The Placemat doesn't show any galaxies, while the Celestial Globe identifies both their locations and names. Both maps show stars, but only the Celestial Globe shows nebulas and clusters. Students should conclude that the Celestial Globe is much more accurate than the Placemat.

[Back to Universe Cycle Grid]
   [Back to Universe (5)]