Even though star parties and planetarium visits are off the agenda thanks to COVID-19, you can still experience astronomy with your family. (For starters, you can always take the kids stargazing in your own neighborhood.) These local museums and planetariums are hosting virtual star parties, Ask an Astronomer chats and more—and of course NASA has a special site dedicated to teaching kids about space.
The Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas is hoping to resume its monthly star parties in Garland, Frisco, Cedar Hill and Rockwall. In the meantime, its website includes resources for beginning stargazers as well as a jaw-dropping gallery of space photos taken by members.
Instead of its usual monthly star parties at Tandy Hills Natural Area, the Fort Worth Astronomical Society has been hosting virtual star parties via YouTube, where you can chat live with club members as they give you a peek into their telescopes. Look for the next event on the club’s Facebook page.
The University of North Texas’ Rafes Urban Astronomy Center has also put its star parties on hold, but visit the Facebook page for two live weekly events: Weekly Sky Update every Saturday at 2pm and Ask an Astronomer Monday at 5pm. Bring your questions!
Join the University of Texas at Arlington Planetarium for weekly Facebook Live talks (come with questions) and Weekly Night Sky, a series of brief YouTube videos about what you can see in the sky right now.
While the Noble Planetarium remains closed, the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History has educational videos on its YouTube channel, and invites kids to send their questions about space to firstname.lastname@example.org. For kids who want to go more in-depth, round up a few friends and book an hourlong, virtual field trip (themes include stars and civilizations, light pollution, animals in constellations, and what you can see over Texas), starting at $25.
Visit the Perot Museum of Nature & Science’s “Amaze Your Brain at Home” area to find space-themed videos, printables and activities for kids.
NASA’s Night Sky Network has a night sky planner to help guide your backyard stargazing, plus month-by-month Universe Discovery Guides with fun facts and kid-friendly activities. For even more space-focused fun—and answers to some of your young astronomers’ many questions—head to Space Place, a site geared specifically to kids.
Image courtesy of iStock.