Outer space and the Moon in particular have always held a fascination for children and adults alike. We sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to our babies, recite nursery rhymes about cows jumping over the moon and tell them that the Man In The Moon is smiling down on them, creating a sense of wonderment and intrigue surrounding the night sky.
Stargazing and learning about space really appeals to young children as their imaginations are vast and without boundaries, much like the possibilities of outer space. Whereas adults can sometimes find this limitless uncertainty unsettling, children are more likely to be excited and awestruck by the infinite possibilities of the universe and beyond.
“Space really is the great unknown” says Colin Johnston of the Armagh Planetarium, “Its exotic and it’s exciting. What is dark matter? What are black holes? You could have adventures and meet strange creatures in space. It’s a place where anything can happen; children can find whatever they want there.”
Families looking for an out-of-this world experience on October 8 may wish to cast their eyes skywards in celebration of International Observe The Moon Night.
This global event, part of World Space Week, was created to celebrate the recent NASA mission, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a spacecraft which is currently orbiting the Moon, mapping its surface for future landings. Recent images picked up by the LRO included the footsteps of the first Apollo astronauts on the Moon as well as Apollo equipment that has been left behind on the lunar surface.
Hundreds of activities will be taking place across the world to celebrate International Observe The Moon Night including an evening of astronomy at the National Space Centre in Leicester. This free event is open to all and will include an interactive digital tour of the night sky in the on-site planetarium followed by a real stargazing session in the open air.
Malika Andress, Marketing Manager at the National Space Centre says of the event “an astronomy night is something we have been asked for from hundreds of our visitors, who are keen to find out more. We will have experts on hand to explain the equipment being used, what people can see and how to take these skills home with them to keep enjoying astronomy”
With new advances in astronomy and space travel bringing astronauts ever closer to landing on Mars, your child is likely to be part of a new ‘space race’ generation. Nurture your little one’s curiosity about the night sky now and perhaps it may be her pioneering footsteps which inspire future generations to look up to the sky and feel as if anything is possible.
See Junior's favourite children’s books about the Moon