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Granny star-gazing through her telescope

Learning with Granny!

Last month we showed you some familiar constellations.  You can Refresh your memory by entering here.
"Once you are familiar with the names and positions of the constellations, you can start to learn the names of the stars and be able to identify them in their groups. You can then look at the star maps for the time of the current year and enjoy being able to recognise the whole southern sky at a glance".

There are many more constellations visible in the evening sky, but look at Granny's drawing to get an idea of what a star chart looks like. This is just one 'picture' of a sky which is changing slightly every night." Enter here for the picture.

Have you ever heard of or been to a Planetarium?

To see the whole magnificent 'performance' of the changing skies - you will have to spend a long time watching the slow movement of the stars. However, you could visit a Planetarium - which is a big domed building where images of stars, constellations, planets are projected for people to enjoy and learn from.

Enter here to see the planetarium Granny has drawn a planetarium without the wall so you can see what it looks like inside. Click on the picture to see a planetarium.

Once inside, you feel like you are in a cinema - nice comfortable seats - but no screen. When the lights dim, you will look up and see a most incredibly realistic performance take part on the domed ceiling. 

Reproduced in this artificial sky, you will see all the constellations, the moon, the planets moving across. A voice on a loud speaker will inform you of what you are seeing overhead all the time while you gaze in wonder.
This magic is achieved by using a very special, highly technical expensive piece of equipment, a projector that captures every single star that can be seen with the naked eye and records the information to show at anytime in the future. Some of the projectors are called Zeiss Projectors and one can be seen in the centre of Granny's picture if you look carefully. These projectors have also recorded events that happened in the past in the skies, so watch for notices of programmes on show at planetariums - you will be amazed at what you will learn. 

Granny suggests that you become acquainted with the constellations right outside your own back door first and then if you are near a Planetarium, it's a wonderful thrill to be able to identify them as they move across the twinkling dome 'ceiling'. 

Did you see the Solar Eclipse?

Enter here to see the full picture of the solar eclipse "The sun is our closest star and has been of great interest recently because of the eclipse. This is what a total eclipse looks like - CLICK on the picture."


Granny viewed the eclipse by projecting the sun's image on to a sheet through her binoculars. Never look at the sun directly and never through binoculars. You can however project the sun's image onto a cardboard and you can use binoculars to do so. - "I had stuck one lens to the card with presstick and got a very light image of the eclipse." Visit this page if you are for instructions but let an adult help you. Click on the picture to see how she did it.

I love to hear from kids who did manage to see the eclipse. E-mail granny at

This Month's Poem

Solar Eclipse

Can you imagine in years gone by
When a strange phenomenon appeared in the sky?
On a warm sunny day - not a cloud in sight
A strange eerie event gave many a fright.
X 2 X
A dark disc appeared at the side of the sun 
The women called the children and started to run
The birds stopped their singing & retired to their nest
And the animals thought it was time to rest.
2 X 2
All became still in the untimely twilight
For just a short while all thought it was night
A ring of gold could be seen by those with no fear
As they watched and hoped the sun would appear.
X 2 X
Soon the dark disc was gone and the sun shone once more
And life carried on as it had done before
Man sought the answers to set his mind free
And we are so privileged - you will agree
2 X 2
SCIENCE now let's us join in the fun -
of sharing the knowledge of an

by Jenny Marais 21st June 2001

Visit us next month to find out more on astronomy.  Granny looks forward to letters from teachers and pupils and is happy to answer your questions. Simply e-mail her at

Until Next Month...

Granny Jenny



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