Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Night Sky

Ada and I spent the morning at the St. Louis Science Center. This is one of her favorite activities, and she requests it nearly daily. When we leave, she usually tells me all about how we're coming back later in the day with Daddy and Ellie. (I try to take her down there once or twice a month.)

Today we arrived a little too late for Planets of the Sun at the planetarium so I got tickets for the too-old-for-her Mr. Hubble's Universe show. You can't get up into the Planetarium without tickets for a show (which are free for members - yay!) and I figured she'd like some of the other stuff:
  • A 40 minute dark sky Planetarium show in the Orthwein StarBay including a live presentation The Sky Tonight which explores the current evening's night sky wonders
  • In between star shows take a self-guided tour of the Boeing Space Station and learn about living and working in space
  • Try your hand at various space missions in the SBC Learning Center (for Ada's age this means floor puzzles of the solar system and velcro planets to attach to orbits).

We skipped the Discovery Room today and went to a gravity presentation (the apple splat from 4 stories up with a big hit) and a pharmacology demonstration (too shy, total bust). But mostly we stayed in the Planetarium.

I might have mentioned that Ada loves outer space. She also loves oceans, dinosaurs, and fairies, so she's fairly well diversified. But space is something special for Ada. She likes nonfiction books about space, she has a mobile of the solar system hanging in her room, she can name all the planets and tell you a little something about each of them, she knows that blue stars are hotter than red stars, and so on.

Our good friend, Jessica, was reading to Ada one night when Ada decided to test her babysitter. "What's that?" she asked, pointing to a picture of a solar flare.

"That's a ray of sunlight," Jessica suggested. A completely appropriate response to a two-year-old, I might add.

"No, it's not. That's plasma shooting out." Also true.

Ada knows about the storm on Jupiter, the fact that Uranus has rings, and that it's windy on Neptune. She even knows why Mars looks red.

So we're watching the Night Sky presentation in the planetarium and there's no one else there, just the two of us and the astronomer who's being a good sport putting on the show for such a small audience. I'm digging it and Ada is listening quietly (except for periodic soft bursts of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). I don't know how much she's tracking about the heights of the sun at various times of year but she's really really into the red star that flies all over the whole sky.

The astronomer's laser pointer.


Barrie said...

What a very cool outing. And what a passionate child you have.

RobMonroe said...

I have a book we are considering sending - glad to see that she's still into space! We are debating sending now versus saving for Tgiving time - something fun for her.

Sarahlynn said...

Barrie, oh, yes. She's passionate about everything from butterfly wings to what color cup she drinks from at dinner.

Rob, no rush. I'm sure she'll still be interested at Thanksgiving!

Our Parents as Teachers Parent Educator was just telling us about a cool museum at Dulles with all kinds of aviation and space stuff. Sounded great. Also a bit far . . .

Jessica said...

Hee hee...I remember that. It will go down in history as the day I was schooled by a 2 year old.

I still have her on video listing the planets -- amazing!