Kids Astronomy: Finding Planets

Nothing screams kids astronomy like finding planets! Astronomers look out into the night sky all of the time searching for planets. Stars in the night sky stay in the same spot – but planets? Planets orbit. They are constantly moving their location, and that is what astronomers look for when searching for a new exoplanet.

Finding planets is harder than it looks…or is it? Kids Astronomy is fun with the right tools.

Of course, without the proper tools that task could be seemingly impossible. Just give it a try yourself with our kids astronomy activity. Above is a bouncy ball sky. Among all the stars there is a single planet traversing the image. Can you find it? How long did it take you?

Astronomers use a tool called a blink comparator to quickly find planets. The look at once image, and then quickly look at the other. over and over again they blink the two different images until they can see the planet moving. Think it can’t be that efficient? Just try our blink comparator of the images above!

Time yourself as you search for a single bouncy ball moving across the night sky, I even put hints below to help you, then use our blink comparator and see how quickly you can find it with that tool.

We made three different bouncy ball planet sky comparisons for our next Rosie Lab, where we get to make our own telescopes and investigate the night sky! Make sure to become a Patron to get all our labs as they come out!

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Need a Tasty Activity? Download Constellation Cookies

Hint 1: The ball moving is yellow.
Hint 2: It moves from the left half (top image) to the right half (bottom image).
Hint 3: The ball is in the bottom half of the image for both images.
Hint 4: Look for negative space.