Sky Watching with Family

How do you get children interested in looking at the night sky? What are some tools to help them enjoy the experience? Today, we learn about sky watching with children and how to get them excited about it.

The starry sky is rich in myths, creatures and gods. Whether it is the legends behind the zodiac, the Greek and Roman stories of celestial battles and beings, the names of the planets, or the wide variety of tales associated with celestial phenomena, the night sky is interesting. It tells tales of ancient stories, heroes, and legends. Science Fiction stories tell of extraterrestrials, spaceships, invasions and distant civilizations.

Most children are naturally curious about the objects in the sky. You teach them about the Sun, the Moon, and the clouds. You explain why the sky is blue, and why the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. But what about the night sky, which can stimulate their imagination and bring to life the celestial world?

It may be challenging to keep little ones up late at night to marvel a meteor shower, a comet passing by or an exceptionally bright starry night showcasing the Milky Way and all other celestial wonders. But there are several things you can do to make this experience more engaging for everyone.

One comes with naming a star after your child – a gift that is both meaningful and personal. Imagine the childlike wonder and excitement every time they look up to the sky and know that in the midst of thousands of twinkling stars – one shines bright just for them. You can even personalize the gift with a certificate of authenticity to make it more official. This way, the next time you’re singing ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’ – there will be a whole new level of depth to this favourite childhood classic.
This may very well lay the foundation of an interest in celestial bodies and astrophysics that remains with the child for life. As they grow older, you can even consider buying a telescope, so they can look at their star up close. A smartphone also offers a number of ways to enjoy the starry sky with apps that let the child point the smartphone toward the night sky and the images of constellations will populate. Planets will also fill the screen if they are in a position related to where you are standing. The app may also show the ISS orbiting the earth and its trajectory.

Sharing the amazing night sky with children will open up an amazing experience filled with stories, heroes, and legends. But it can also turn into a very personal one with naming a star after them. It’s easy and fun to enjoy the time spent with your child as both of you see the wonder of our universe and know you are a part of it.

Are There Really Unlimited Stars in an Infinite Universe

We know that the universe is expanding because, with a few nearby exceptions, almost every galaxy in is moving away from us and from one another. As distant galaxies appear to be receding even more quickly, there is evidence that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate.

Sometimes, just looking up to the sky is enough to grasp the tremendous vastness of space. With hundreds of thousands of stars, astronomers think that there are more stars in our universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth. And while this number may not be unlimited, it is certainly pretty impressive.
This is a piece of good news for everyone looking to buy a star for a special someone this holiday season. There are 100 billion stars in our very own Milky Way galaxy alone, your friends, family, relatives and even colleagues can enjoy a very special gift.

The space that we can observe, does have a definite size, but it is big enough to house all the stars you would like named after the people in your life that matter. Because the universe was born 13.8 billion years ago, we can only observe objects whose light has travelled at most 13.8 billion years to reach Earth. This portion of the universe is called the observable universe, and it’s the only part of the universe we can know anything about.
Choose from a large private registry service that names clearly visible stars that will follow you wherever you go into the night. You can find and easily retrieve the stars we name at the Star Register page. After you purchase a star as a gift, you can even add a personal message and dedication to make this a truly unforgettable experience for someone.

Many things have come and gone, but history remembers Sirius and all other brightly lit stars that we continue tracing on the sky. Why not build an entire constellation for you, your friends, and family that will keep you looking up every night, from any point of the globe, and feel the love, friendship and closeness – no matter the distance?

The advantages of stargazing

The thrilling alignment of Jupiter and Venus this week promised love, luck and exciting change well into 2018. Not to mention it was one of the best sights in the night sky until the end of this year. The two brightest planets in our solar system put on a spectacular show and their sensational display showed them so close they were almost touching.

Thrilled stargazers across the world had to get up early before sunrise to catch a glimpse of the sky but it paid off. The stunning dance of the planets was just one of the advantages of stargazing. The ensuing effects this astrological phenomenon will create memories that last a lifetime.

The conjunction we witnessed in the sky last week is the most powerful of all planetary relationships.

It happens two or more planets align and fuse their powers, magnifying the effects each would normally exhibit on their own. Wherever one wields its influence, the other does the same.

But what traits do Venus and Jupiter each bring to their celestial union? Since Venus represents love, peace and harmony as well as money and exchange, and Jupiter – growth wisdom, wealth, morality, justice, faith, fortune, success, excess – this is truly a powerful union.

Venus and Jupiter align every year, but their display is only easily visible every 15 to 20 years, as the Sun usually blocks our view. But the effects of the alignment are clear to see.

Last year, they united in Virgo just as a ceasefire was announced in Colombia, ending 52 years of civil war; soon afterwards, Mother Teresa was made a saint.

This alignment has not arrived in Scorpio for more than a decade and this is a unique combination. Scorpio represents power and control, Jupiter is a figure of justice, and Venus helps bring about peace.

So aside from a spectacular sight that illuminated the morning sky, this event is significant in a myriad of other ways. It is one of those rare natural occurrences that can be shared with a loved one to really bring you closer and make you rethink what’s important in life. Because the moment you hold your significant other closer and gaze at nature’s most beautiful night show, a whole new level of appreciation will wash over you.

In fact, few things are as a romantic as a late night stroll underneath the starry sky and there are ways to make such a moment last forever. Why not name a star after someone you hold dear, so every time they look up to the sky – they know just how much they mean to you? We offer a special package with a gift certificate to include a personal message to someone close to your heart.

Make stargazing a truly personal and shared experience of a lifetime thanks to a gift that goes the extra mile.

Amazing Time Lapse of the Northern Lights and The Milky Way

Landscape photography has always been captivated by the beauty of the starry sky, the Northern Lights and the Milky Way. World-renowned photographers venture all the way to the Norway, Iceland and Greenland to capture the perfect shot and tell a story of unknown far-away worlds.

The latest trend in landscape photography are time-lapse videos and photos. They require a serious time investment, but the end result is something truly out of this world. A time lapse of the aurora borealis (the northern lights) and the Milky Way is something that is as breath-taking as it is captivating to watch. And there is an undeniable charm to a starry sky – one that gets people always looking up in awe.

And as life is all about sharing those experiences that are truly meaningful, giving the gift of a star named after someone is as special as it gets. Whether it is to mark an anniversary, a birth, an engagement or a birthday – naming a star is a gift of hope and love. It’s the ultimate way to let someone know they’re loved and cherished. Imagine how every time they look up – they will see one star twinkling for them alone.

And you needn’t worry if you can’t come up with a suitable name for the stars you have purchased! We offer Gift Cards that allow the recipient to register and name their very own star, which will surely add a little sparkle to the whole experience. The best part is, each recipient receives the Gift Pack at their own address for an even more personalized and special gift.

Perfect gift for baby showers, engagement parties, wedding gift and anniversaries –the best gifts are those that show just how much you care in a loving and meaningful way.

Amazing Constellation Facts

We’ve all looked up in awe at the starry sky and wondered about the far-away stars, galaxies and constellations. But in reality we know so little about what’s around us.

Constellations (“set of stars”) are groups of stars that imaginatively been linked together by ancient civilizations to depict mythological characters, animals and objects from mankind’s history. This way our ancestors were able to organize the night sky into a recognizable form to assist in their religious study of the celestial heavens. This had other, more practical, applications as well, such as predicting the seasons for farming, and measuring time or as a directional compass.
In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially recognized 88 constellations. 48 of them alone were recorded by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in his book ‘Almagest’, which was written around 150 AD. Ptolemy’s chart had gaps, but over the centuries new constellations have been added to the list, until it completed the remaining constellations we are now familiar with in the night sky.

orion constell

Our knowledge of the constellations and the stars comes from the Greeks, the Ancient Egyptians, the Mesopotamian and even the Hebrew Bible. Orion is perhaps the most recognizable of all the constellations. The biggest constellation is Hydra – it extends over more than 3% of the night sky, and the smallest is Crux covering a mere 0.165%. Everyone remembers from our school books the famous Ursa Major and Ursa Minor!

ursa major

Centaurus contains the largest number of visible stars at 101; while Canis Major contains the brightest star in the celestial heavens – Sirius. There are 100 billion stars the Milky Way galaxy alone and there is no better gift than to name one after a friend, a loved one, a relative or a colleague. There are so many reasons to sprinkle some star dust on someone special. We are sure that anyone of us has closest people that deserve to be treated in a special way. And with some moments in our life happening only once, such occasions require unique approaches to make these events all the more memorable.

ursa minor

Choose from a large private star registry service that names clearly visible stars that will follow you wherever you go into the night. You can find and easily retrieve the stars we name at the Star Register page. After you purchase a star as a gift, you can even add a personal message and dedication to make this a truly unforgettable experience for someone.

Raritan Valley planetarium to host variety of star and laser shows in Feb

In the month of February there are plenty of reasons to look up towards the starry sky. As Venus and Mars remain faithful companions in the early evening sky – Venus as the brighter of the two will reveal itself in all its icy beauty with the orange Mars staying just above it. And if you feel Winter is dragging on for too long, you can find some consolation in one of the first signs of spring, the constellation Leo, as it appears in the eastern evening sky, and clears the horizon by around nightfall at month’s end.

Star Constellation Leo - Global Star Registry

In the first week of February star gazers will be amazed at Gomeisa, the second-brightest star of Canis Minor, the little dog. It is now in the east at nightfall, above the much brighter Procyon, the constellation’s leading light. Gomeisa is several times larger and more massive than the Sun, so it will be easy to spot.

Another beautiful constellation – Pegasus, the flying horse, stands low in the west as darkness falls and sets before midnight. If you want to catch a glimpse of the mythological creature, simply look for four moderately bright stars that form the Great Square of Pegasus. And just a few short days before Valentine’s Day there will be a Faint Eclipse that will see the Moon lining up for a pass through Earth’s long shadow. As it will pass through the bright outer part of the shadow, few moonwatchers are likely to notice much difference.

Still, these and plenty of other twinkling reasons give you an excuse to head to The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium in Branchburg. There will be several star and laser shows for the entire family in February that are sure to captivate the audiences with revealing secrets about our beautiful and mystic universe.

The Mars mission is drawing near!

The launch date for the highly-anticipated Mars mission is still a decade away but preparations are currently underway to make sure all goes as planned. NASA has announces they are in the process of weeding out volunteers, designing Mars space crafts and planning out the colony.

mars mission mars one

Everyone is curious how the final round of astronaut selection will go since from the 200,000 who put their names down for a one-way trip to Mars – only 660 remain in the running. At the final round of the selection, candidates will be interviewed and have their skills of working in a group tested. Candidates will face harsh, hostile mock-up environment as part of their test to see what life on the desolate planet would be like. At the end of this process, Mars One will consist of six groups of four astronauts each that will start official training for the mission.
Although the first humans are not scheduled to travel to Mars until 2024, there are several missions that will be carried out beforehand to lay down the groundwork. In 2018 a lander will blast off for the Red Planet as a trial-run for vital technologies the mission will need. A communications satellite that will beam messages back and forth will accompany it. 2020 will see an intelligent rover and a trailer sent up there as well to scope a good landing site. This will be followed by six cargo missions to deploy another rover, two living units and two life support units. They will produce a breathable atmosphere in the Mars habitat with a total of 3,000 litres of water and 120kg of oxygen in storage.

mars one

Mars One is still to announce the company that will be commissioned to build the actual rocket humans will travel with. The likeliest choices seem either Lockheed Martin or SpaceX. The trip itself will be made in stages, where the crew’s landing module and main living quarters will be sent into Earth’s orbit and docked together in 2024. Then, the crew will be launched into the orbit themselves, where they will get on board the waiting Mars space craft and head off for their destination.

As the Mars module detaches from the space craft, upon landing the crew will gradually descend onto the surface of the planet. There they will be picked up by the rovers and taken to the habitat. One of their first tasks would be to deploy more solar panels and start attempting to grow food on Mars before the second Mars One crew joins them in 2027.

Black Friday 2016 – History and Hype

black friday

For millions of people Black Friday is synonymous with early Christmas shopping and there is a good reason for that. No longer than a week after Thanksgiving and the shopping craze is drawing everyone in. Black Friday is known as the first Friday after Thanksgiving, and it’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the United States. Typically it falls anywhere between November 23 and 29. It is not recognized as an official US holiday but many employees have the day off with the exception of those working in retail (for obvious reasons).
The term “Black Friday” first came into use in the 1960s to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. “Black” was a way to mark stores moving from “red” to “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Later, since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the first Friday after Thanksgiving came to be known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.
In the 1960’s, in a non-retail sense, it was also used to describe a financial crisis of 1869: a stock market catastrophe caused by gold spectators who tried and failed to wield the gold market, causing it to collapse and stocks to plummet.

A trend becoming a tradition

black friday

As more and more retailers came to realize they could attract large crowds by discounting prices, this marked the conversion of Black Friday into a day to shop for the upcoming Christmas holidays. Some retailers would put their items up for sale on the morning of Thanksgiving, or send online specials to consumers weeks before the actual event. The most in-demand items are electronics and popular toys, as these are the ones that are usually the most drastically discounted. No other time of the year sees prices across everything from home furnishings to apparel – slashed on such a scale.
While it was originally a US-based event, in the past few years this new tradition has travelled oversees to Europe and continued to expand well into Latin as well as Eastern European and Asian countries. Most retailers have started to open up at 5 am or even earlier on Black Friday to accommodate the hordes of people queuing anxiously outside the windows. Most large ad scans, coupons and offers are put online beforehand to give consumers time to find out about sales and plan their purchases. Some companies, however, hold off that information until the last possible moment to release their Black Friday ads to create a buzz.
As consumer buying habits are changing and more consumers are choosing to shop online, retailers are changing their marketing tactics as well. They roll out “door-buster” deals, such as large flat-screen televisions or laptops for as little as a hundred dollars to draw shoppers to their stores.
The benefit of online shopping is that customers can track stock levels and avoid large crowds that often turn violent. It is a good idea to check for pre-Black Friday or special Thanksgiving sales, so you may not even have to wait until the big day to shop at discounted prices. We hope you enjoy Black Friday 2016 and do not forget to take a look on our Star Kit and our special offers!

What is the Supermoon – The phenomenon explained

This November 14 was an event in every star gazer’s calendar as the world got to enjoy the brightest and most spectacular supermoon in almost 70 years. The phenomenon lit up the sky as it was the first time that a completely full moon has come this close to Earth since 1948. Anyone who didn’t catch a glimpse of the nightly sight will have to wait until 2034 when the next one is expected.

But what exactly is a “Supermoon”? According to scientists, this is a phenomenon that sees the moon slightly closer to Earth in its orbit than average, which leads to a particularly visible effect when this coincides with a full moon. This makes the moon appear bigger and brighter even though the difference in its distance from Earth is only a few percent at such times.

supermoon

Dr Daniel Brown, an astronomy expert at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Observing the supermoon is easier, as the moon remains visible throughout the entire night. As it is nearing winter, it will also be reaching its highest altitudes for the northern hemisphere.”

A supermoon phenomenon occurs when the full moon is within 10% of its closest approach to Earth, perigee, during its orbit. Despite not being particularly rare – coinciding with full moon is a very unusual occurrence and one that is worth observing. The gradual effect that happens once a month means that the moon will appear 14% bigger than its smallest size during the month.


Supermoons are known to bring larger tides because a closer Moon exerts a stronger gravitational pull and creates more variation between the tides. However, despite sensational newspaper titles – this variation is hardly enough to account for massive earthquakes, flooding, or volcanic eruptions.

The effects on Earth from the phenomenon are minor, and based on data from terrestrial seismologists and volcanologists, the combination of the moon’s proximity to Earth in its orbit, and being in its ‘full moon’ configuration (relative to the Earth and sun), does not have any significant effect on the internal energy balance of the Earth since there are lunar tides every day.

Coined by astrologer Richard Noelle in a 1979 article he wrote for Horoscope magazine, the term ‘Supermoon’ describes “a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”

Although originally this name didn’t get much traction, it has since become ubiquitous with skywatchers eagerly anticipating the next supermoon phenomenon.

Famous People Born Under the Zodiac Sign of Scorpio

Are there any celebrities, actors, musicians, politicians or sports stars born close to your birthday, or even on the exact day? Below you will find a listing of famous people born under the zodiacal sign of Scorpio. While some people do not pay much mind to astrological signs and their corresponding meanings, others find it fun and interesting to learn what personality and character traits they share with some of the most famous.

Of course the Scorpio sign is symbolized by a Scorpion, which seems a bit frightening in itself. Those born under this sign are often stubborn, cruel, jealous, possessive and go to extremes. That being said, they have some great characteristics as well which include the ability to focus, determination, charisma, complexity and emotional sensitivity. Do these traits remind you of yourself? Let’s have some fun now and find out who those well-known people are who share your birth sign!

demi mooreSome well-known television and movie actors and actresses born under the 8th sign of the zodiac include Julia Roberts of “Pretty Woman” fame who was born on October 28th, Henry Winkler (the Fonz from Happy Days) was born on October 30th, Sally Field “The Flying Nun” born on November 6th, Richard Dreyfuss born on October 29th, Leonardo DiCaprio born November 11th, Demi Moore also born November 11th, David Schwimmer of “Friends” fame born November 12th, Whoopi Goldberg born on November 13th, Owen Wilson born on November 18th, Jodie Foster born November 19th and Goldie Hawn born November 21st.

Hillary ClintonOthers who join this prestigious list of famous Scorpios include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, born on October 26th, famous jeans designer Calvin Klein born on November 19th, Larry King, host of “Larry King Live” born on November 19th, and director Martin Scorsese who was born on November 17th.

England’s Prince Charles was born November 14th, and billionaire businessman Bill Gates on October 28th. Painter Pablo Piccaso is another well-known Scorpion, born on October 25th. As you can see, there are many important and influential people born under the zodiacal sign of Scorpio!

Have you found anyone in this list that shares your birthday? Many great people were born between the dates of October 23rd and November 21st! Comparing notes between yourself and those who are “famous” can be fun and enlightening. Do not forget also PewDiePie, Drake, Katy Perry, and Kendall Jenner! Hope you have enjoyed this list of famous people born under the zodiac sign of Scorpio!