Big Dipper & Southern Cross
A Star Activity

In this star activity you will create the two most famous constellations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Sailors have used these constellations to navigate the oceans for thousands of years.

Star activity, Big Dipper & Southern Cross, Photo by Myrna Martin

Materials

  • Blue paper
  • White paper
  • Sticker stars (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Colored felt pen
  • Glue

Directions

  1. Draw two circles on the white paper and cut them out.
  2. On one of the circles create the Big Dipper.
  3. If you have sticker stars glue them to the paper or draw the stars on the circle with a felt pen.
  4. Glue this circle on the top half of the blue paper. Beneath the circle write Northern Hemisphere, The Big Dipper
  5. Place stars on the second circle to represent the Southern Cross.
  6. Glue this circle on the bottom half of the blue paper. Beneath the bottom circle
  7. Write Southern Hemisphere, The Southern Cross

Science behind the activity

Both constellations have been used by sailors to guide them at night because they are visible all year in the hemisphere where they are visible.The Big Dipper is part of the Great Bear Constellation. Line up the stars in the dipper and they point to Polaris, the North Star.

Astronomers have officially named 88 constellations and the Southern Cross is the smallest. There is no polar star in the Southern Hemisphere so sailors lined up the center two stars of the kite shaped constellation with two other pointer stars to find the South Pole at night for navigation.

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Star Activity, The Big Dipper and Southern Cross Create the two constellations that have guided sailors at night for thousands of years in this inexpensive and fun activity.