Sunday, December 23, 2012

Star of Wonder

I took the family to Star of Wonder at Woodlawn Nature Center on Friday night. This star presentation looks at the astronomy associated with a new star rising in the East as part of the tradition of Christmas.

The center was decorated for Christmas and cookies and milk were available. There was a children's table with related coloring activities. While there were children's activities, my children were not as interested in the program. If I only took the older two boys or gave them some type of study guide there might be more interest. The group mentality takes over and all they want to do is wrestle when they're together. I know this is a yearly event, so might prepare them more for the event next year as it is a good way to connect astronomy to our religious and day-to-day lives. It was VERY interesting to me and other adults in the room. The audience came from as far away as Dowagiac, Michigan, as lovers of both astronomy and the holidays.

The director of the center, Fred deFerbrache, based the program on similar presentations at larger astronomy centers in Chicago. The presentation weaves history, astronomy, cultural traditions, scriptural accounts, etc. to show a possible explanation of three wise men and the star they saw.

This was a great addition to our holiday events. It also piqued my interest in astronomy in the area. I wanted to go outside and watch the stars and planets. I enjoy this time of the year, as the stars are out earlier with our shorter days. 

We're rather new to the area, but have enjoyed astronomy in other places at planetariums. Where can we learn about astronomy here? What tips do you have for viewing the stars in the Michiana area?

These are a couple of things I know going on . . . 
Friday, February 8th--Winter Constellations with Elkhart County Parks. 
Notre Dame has a planetarium! There is a show there on January 11th, 2013.
There is also a Michiana Astronomical Society. Click here for more information!