art by Phyllis Saroff

Be a Night Sky Explorer

By Sarah Allen; Art by Phyllis Saroff

Want to get to know the night sky a little better? You can start tonight!


Grab a notebook and your favorite pen or pencil, and you’re ready to begin your very own Moon Diary.

1. Start your Moon Diary by looking for the moon one night and recording all the things you notice. Note the date, time, and weather. Is the moon full? Half full? Or maybe gone entirely? What color does it seem to be? Write and draw your observations in your notebook.

2. Take time to look at the moon each night for four weeks. Every night, record what you see. Does the moon appear to be getting bigger? Smaller? Where does the moon appear in the sky? Maybe record what natural sounds you hear when the moon is high in the sky!

3. It takes about 28 days for the moon to make one complete orbit around the Earth. So after four weeks, you’ll have completed your very own Moon Diary! Look back over what you wrote and drew. What do you notice? How does the moon change shape over time? Is the moon rising earlier or later in the sky each day? How does it affect the amount of light in the sky? Maybe you’ll decide to keep going with your Moon Diary. See where the moon takes you!


Some constellations are always visible in the night sky. Others can be seen only during certain times of the year. If you look up in the sky and can’t spot your favorite constellation—or if you don’t have a favorite—don’t worry. You can always create your own indoor constellation! All you need is a toilet-paper or paper-towel tube, a flat piece of cardstock paper or cardboard, scissors, tape, a ballpoint pen, and a flashlight.

build a constellation1. Use the end of the paper tube to trace a circle on the cardboard or cardstock paper. Inside the circle, draw the constellation of your choice, using a dot for each star.

2. With the tip of your pen, poke small holes where you’ve drawn each star in your constellation. Carefully cut out your constellation circle and tape it securely to the end of the toilet paper tube, so it looks like a telescope.

3. At night, with all the lights off, shine a flashlight through the open end of your constellation tube. The light will shine through the poked holes, creating a constellation on the wall or ceiling!


constellation video

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