Astronomy

Why are three year old eclipse glasses not recommended?

Why are three year old eclipse glasses not recommended?


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NASA's eclipse safety page says that eclipse glasses should:

Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses

Why shouldn't three year old glasses be used? Is it because the coating somehow degrades with time? Were standards changed three years ago such that the older glasses can no longer be recommended? Is there just a stronger concern for scratches or damage over the years? Will eclipse glasses (or other solar filters) purchased today be unsafe three years from now?


According to the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the warning that eclipse glasses should not be used if they are more than 3 years old is outdated (provided that they are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard).

A page on their web site says the following:

Note: If your eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through them for as long as you wish. Furthermore, if the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely. Some glasses/viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn't look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015.


Why are three year old eclipse glasses not recommended? - Astronomy

Families the nation over will be sharing August 21st with their children watching the Solar Eclipse take place. Proper protection for the eyes, especially for little ones who cannot do so for themselves, is essential. The following information has been shared by NASA Education, and various astronomy educators for parents and children alike, and put together here for Peaceful Parenting audiences.

Looking directly at the sun is always unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (totality) if you are in this particular path -- when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face. This minute (or two) of totality will happen only within this narrow path. In all other areas, having solar glasses during the entire eclipse viewing is necessary.

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed, or partially eclipsed, sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as 'eclipse glasses' or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even those with very dark lenses, are not safe for looking at the sun - they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.

Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products. One quick way to tell if the cardboard glasses you may be able to pick up at your local store, library, or museum are reputable is to look for the ISO stamp on the inside of the glasses.

Approximately half of all libraries in the United States (in each state) have solar glasses that they are giving away for free, so check with your local library if you do not yet have a pair. The following retail chains have all been carrying solar glasses for a few dollars per pair:

Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing injury.

Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.

If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.

Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly. If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them. Note: If your eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through them for as long as you wish. Furthermore, if the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely.

Some glasses/viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn't look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time, and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse you'll see the ground dappled with crescent suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves.

A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.

Optical Projection
(inexpensive options for viewing the eclipse):

Read more about Terry Richardson, senior instructor of astronomy and physics at the College of Charleston, who has made sure everyone can afford to safely view the eclipse: http://today.cofc.edu/2017/06/13/solar-eclipse-viewer-diy/

Live video streaming of the 2017 Solar Eclipse: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive

For viewing through cameras, telescopes, or binoculars, using a solar filter sheet is one less expensive way to outfit your gadgets for safe viewing.


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Gov. David Ige announced that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) issued a notice to proceed (NTP) to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Maunakea on Hawaiʻi Island.

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded an assistant astronomer at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy one of its most prestigious awards for junior faculty. Xudong Sun received a $620,590 grant for a five-year term from the NSF Faculty Early Career Development program. The award is bestowed on teacher-scholars pursuing cutting-edge research while simultaneously advancing excellence in education.

April 16, 2019: Scientists Fill Out A Circumbinary Planetary System

A team of astronomers, including Nader Haghighipour from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, have discovered a third planet in the circumbinary planetary system Kepler-47. This discovery cements the system's title as the most interesting of the binary-star worlds, and marks the first complete and dynamically full planetary system around a binary star.

March 28, 2019: Hawaiʻi Team Catches Asteroid As It Self-Destructs

Astronomers once thought asteroids were boring, wayward space rocks that simply orbit around the Sun. New observations are turning these ideas on their heads, showing that asteroids are anything but dull. Asteroid Gault, discovered in 1998, has begun to slowly disintegrate. The crumbling was first detected on Jan. 5, 2019 by the IfA's ATLAS telescopes on Maunaloa and Haleakalā. Spectacular images of asteroid 6478 Gault from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show two narrow, comet-like tails of debris streaming from the diminutive 2.5-mile-wide asteroid.

March 5, 2019: Kepler Space Telescope's First Exoplanet Candidate Confirmed, Ten Years After Launch

The Kepler Space Telescope was launched ten years ago ans has discovered thousands of exoplanets. Today, an international team of astronomers, led by University of Hawaiʻi graduate student Ashley Chontos, announced the confirmation of the very first exoplanet candidate identified by that mission.

February 19, 2019: University of Hawaiʻi Astronomer Awarded Prestigious Sloan Foundation Fellowship

Daniel Huber, an Assistant Astronomer at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA), has been selected for a prestigious 2019 Sloan Research Fellowship, one of 126 recipients across the U.S. and Canada.

January 28, 2019: World's largest digital sky survey issues biggest astronomical data release ever

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, in conjunction with the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA), is releasing the second edition of data from Pan-STARRS &mdash the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System &mdash the world's largest digital sky survey.

January 8, 2019: University of Hawaiʻi Astronomer Receives American Astronomical Society's Highest Award

Ann Merchant Boesgaard, Professor of Astronomy, Emerita at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), has been awarded the 2019 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The Russell Prize is the AAS' highest award, and is bestowed annually on the basis of a lifetime of eminence in astronomical research.

December 17, 2018: Discovered: Most Distant Solar System Object Ever Observed

A team of astronomers has discovered the most distant body ever observed in our solar system. It is the first known solar system object that has been detected at a distance that is more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun.

The new object was announced on Monday, December 17, 2018, by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center and has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18. The discovery was made by Carnegie Observaties' Scott S. Sheppard, the University of Hawaiiʻs David Tholen, and Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujillo.

November 30, 2018: Newly discovered supernova may rewrite exploding star origin theories

A supernova discovered by an international group of astronomers has provided an unprecedented look at the first moments of a violent stellar explosion. The team, led in part by IfA Astronomer Ben Shappee, found a mysterious signature in the light from the explosion's first hour. Follow-up obervations suggest that the traditional original theory for these tupes of supernovae is wrong.

November 28, 2018: Waipahu HS student, Maunakea scholar studies Star Wars planet

The Star Wars universe turned from science fiction to science fact for a Waipahu High School student, who observed a real-life "Tatooine" using one of the largest, most scientifically-impactful observatories in the world.

November 27, 2018: Maunakea Visitor Information Station begins improvements stargazing and operating hours impacted

The Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS) on Hawaiʻi Island will adjust its closing time from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Sunday, December 9, for an infrastructure project that will improve visitor safety and to better protect natural, historic and cultural resources. Preparations will begin in December with construction slated to start in January 2019. The project is expected to take about six months.

November 7, 2018: Best View Yet of Supermassive Black Holes in Merging Galaxies

A team of astronomers, including IfA's David Sanders and former IfA postdoc Mike Koss, have used the W. M. Keck Observatory on Muanakea and the Hubble Space Telescope to complete the most detailed census of supermassive black holes in colliding galaxies. The team's findings support the theory that galaxy mergers explain how some supermassive black holes become so monstrously large.

October 2, 2018: While Seeking Planet X, Astronomers Find a Distant Solar System Object

Astronomers have discovered a new object at the edge of our Solar System. The new extremely distant object far beyond Pluto has an orbit that supports the presence of a larger Planet X. The newly found object, called 2015 TG387, was announced by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center on Monday, October 1, 2018.

Sept. 27, 2018: Fundraising in honor of late Native Hawaiian astronomer passes halfway mark

The University of Hawaiʻi is delighted to announce that the Paul H.I. Coleman Scholarship fund is now more than halfway to the goal of raising a $100,000 endowment to support local high school graduates who choose to study astronomy at UH.

August 15, 2018: ATLAS Asteroid Detection System Will Expand to Southern Hemishphere

The IfA's Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), a NASA-funded telescope network devoted to detecting space rocks that could crash into Earth, will expand into the Southern Hemisphere, which currently lacks a large-scale asteroid-surveillance effort. The additional observatories will not only spot asteroids that could harm people, but also detect comets, supernovae and other benign celestial objects.

August 14, 2018: IfA Graduate BJ Fulton Receives Prestigious Trumpler Award

Dr. Benjamin J. (BJ) Fulton, who received his doctorate from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa&rsquos Institute for Astronomy (IfA) in 2017, has been awarded the Robert J. Trumpler Award, given by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific to recognize a recent PhD thesis considered unusually important to astronomy. He is the third IfA gradute to receive the award in the past five years.

July 16, 2018: Astronomers Find a Famous Exoplanet's Doppelgänger

When it comes to extrasolar planets, appearances can be deceiving. Astronomers from Hawaiʻ and elsewhere have imaged a new planet, and it appears nearly identical to one of the best studied gas-giant planets. But this doppelgänger differs in one very important way: its origin.

July 13, 2018: ATLAS telescope pinpoints meteorite impact prediction

A multinational team of scientists has just found the first fragments of the small asteroid 2018 LA, which exploded harmlessly high above Africa on June 2. The University of Hawaiʻi's Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) telescope took the final images of 2018 LA before it entered Earth's atmosphere and exploded.

July 12, 2018: Hawaiʻi telescopes help unravel long-standing cosmic mystery

Astronomers and physicists around the world, including here in Hawaiʻi, have begun to unravel a long-standing cosmic mystery. Using a vast array of telescopes in space and on Earth, they have identified a source of cosmic rays-highly energetic particles that continuously rain down on Earth from space. In a paper published this week in the journal Science , scientists have, for the first time, provided evidence for a known blazar, designated TXS 0506+056, as a source of high-energy neutrinos.

June 27, 2018: Is the Interstellar Asteroid Really a Comet?

The interstellar object ʻOumuamua was discovered back on October 19, 2017, but the puzzle of its true nature has taken months to unravel, and may never be fully solved. Today, an international team led by IfA graduate Marco Micheli and IfA Astronomer Karen Meech reports that it might be a comet, and not an asteroid as initially thought.

June 20, 2018: UH astronomy graduate students earn worldwide recognition

Four current and former doctoral students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA) have been recognized for outstanding research.

May 3, 2018: University of Hawaiʻi Astronomer John Tonry Elected to National Academy of Sciences

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa astronomer John Tonry has been named as one of the National Academy of Sciences' 84 newly chosen members. Tonry, who has been with the UH Mānoa Institute for Astronomy since 1996, joins an elite group of fewer than 2,400 exceptional scientists worldwide. NAS members are recognized for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

April 18, 2018: UH Astronomers to Uncover the Secrets of Stars and Exoplanets with NASA's TESS Satellite

Today, NASA launched the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), its newest telescope to search for planets beyond our Solar System, and astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy and Maunakea telescopes will be a part of the adventure.

In Memoriam: Paul Coleman

Paul Coleman, an astronomer at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy, passed away at his home on January 16th, 2018. Paul was the first Native Hawaiian with a doctorate in astrophysics. In his 15 years with the IfA, Paul played a key role in our education and public outreach efforts, and advocated tirelessly for astronomy in Hawaiʻi.

February 9, 2018: UH ATLAS Telescope spots SpaceX Tesla Roadster in Flight

The University of Hawaiʻi ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) telescope on Mauna Loa captured images on February 8, 2018 of the Tesla Roadster launched into space as part of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy test.

January 31, 2018: Natural Telescope Sets New Magnification Record

Extremely distant galaxies are usually too faint to be seen, even by the largest telescopes. But nature has a solution - gravitational lensing, predicted by Albert Einstein and observed many times by astronomers. Now, an international team of astronomers led by Harald Ebeling from the University of Hawaii has discovered one of the most extreme instances of magnification by gravitational lensing.


2. Focusing on the Negative

It's easy to hone in on your child's negative actions -- like yelling and screaming -- and ignore the good ones.

Altmann says parents tend to focus on what they don't want their preschoolers to do. "They'll say, 'Don't hit. Don't throw. Don't say 'poopy pants,'" she says.

Fix it: Notice when your child is doing something positive, and reward the good behavior.

The reward for positive actions can be your praise, or it can be giving your child a big hug or kiss. "Those types of things really go a long way with preschoolers," Altmann says.

Tell your child, "I like the way you sat quietly and listened," or "That was good when you were so friendly to the child on the playground."

Continued


Books for Younger Readers

'The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney' (Schwartz & Wade, 2019)

By Alice B. McGinty, Illustrated by Elizabeth Haidle

Age Range: 4-6

How did an 11-year-old English schoolgirl come to name Pluto? In "The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney," Alice B. McGinty recounts one child's history-making turn on a fateful morning in 1930. Although the book is aimed at kids ages 4 to 8, there's plenty for older children to connect with as well. And the vintage-flavored illustrations by Elizabeth Haidle make the experience a visual delight.

Venetia had connected her love of mythology with her knowledge of science to christen the new planet after the Roman god of the underworld, refusing to let her age or gender to hold her back.

McGinley says she hopes Venetia's tale inspires her readers &mdash girls, in particular. "I hope girls read it and feel empowered to be part of the scientific process," she said. "I hope boys read it and feel empowered, too, and understand how important girls are to science."

Read Space.com's interview with the author here.

'Here We Are' (Philomel Books, 2017)

By Oliver Jeffers

Age range: 3-7

"Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth," the latest picture book by bestselling author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, is many different things. It's a love letter to his newborn son. It's a toddler-friendly guide to the big, blue marble we call home. Or, as Jeffers' editor joked, it's a book for "new babies, new parents and misplaced humans." But most of all, it's a manual for how to be a standup human being, one who is tolerant, respectful and unfailingly kind.

Jeffers's jewel-toned renderings, liberally sprinkled with details that invite closer inspection, evoke the planet's immensity with warmth and gentility. Yet for all its enormity &mdash at least, from our vantage point &mdash Earth barely registers in the vast expanse of space. We are impossibly fragile. And, for better or worse, we're all in it together.

"We may all look different, act different and sound different … but don’t be fooled, we are all people," Jeffers writes. "There is enough for everyone."

Read a discussion with the author on the book's inspiration here.

'A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars (Greenwillow Books, 2017)

By Seth Fishman, Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg

Age range: 4-8

In "A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars," Seth Fishman Tackles the numbers that permeate everything around us. Not just any numbers, mind you, but enormous numbers. Gigantic, mind-bogglingly tremendous whoppers of numbers. Numbers that the human mind can scarcely comprehend.

Accompanied by delightful illustrations by Isabel Greenberg, Fishman makes infinitesimal figures like the number of seconds in a year (31,536,000), the distance between the Earth and the moon (240,000 miles), and how many people go shoulder-to-shoulder every day on our big blue marble (7,500,000,000) relatable to the four-to-eight age group.

"A child isn't necessarily going to get the number of raindrops in a thunderstorm (1,620, 000,000,000,000)," Fishman said, "but maybe it'll help them connect with what the word 'trillion' means because they know what a thunderstorm looks like." He also throws in fun facts that pint-size readers will take delight in. Who knew that a great white shark has about 300 teeth? Or that we might eat up to 70 pounds of bugs in our lifetime? Fishman's numbers will thrill, amaze, and elucidate.

Read an interview with the author here.

'I am Neil Armstrong' (Dial Books, 2018)

By Brad Meltzer, Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

Age Range: 5-8

"I Am Neil Armstrong," a new children's book by bestselling author and History Channel host Brad Meltzer, shows kids how never giving up got Neil Armstrong all the way to the moon. Meltzer artfully captures Armstrong's journey all the way from childhood through his historic first steps on the lunar surface. But Meltzer doesn't just focus on those famous steps. He begins the story decades before the Apollo 11 mission with a very young Armstrong trying to climb to the top of a silver maple tree. After falling and getting back up, Armstrong continued this pattern of determination throughout his career. Armstrong's story of inspiration is masterfully executed in this colorful, delightful biography.

Read more about the new book here.

'Margaret and the Moon' (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017)

By Dean Robbins, Illustrated by Lucy Knisley

Age range: 4-8

In "Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing," Dean Robbins outlines the pioneering software engineer's life, from the backyard of her childhood home, where she posed a million questions about the night sky, to the hallways of NASA, where she led a team from MIT to develop the onboard flight software that would land the first men on the moon. When an accident threatened to abort the Apollo 11 moon landing, Hamilton swooped in to save the day with her smarts and preparation. At a time when women were expected to stay in the home and raise children, Hamilton’s role in the Apollo program was "revelatory," according to Robbins. He said he hopes his young readers will find a strong role model in Hamilton, who solved problems large and small with creativity and fearlessness. "In my wildest dreams, readers of 'Margaret and the Moon' will grow up to make the next great breakthroughs in whatever they choose to do," he said.

Read an interview with the book's author here.

'Looking Up!: The Science of Stargazing' (Simon Spotlight, 2017)

By Joe Rao, Illustrated by Mark Borgions

Age range: 6-8

For first through third graders who are curious about the night sky, Joe Rao's fact-filled early-reader chapter book will satisfy basic questions about the sun and the moon, the stars, the planets, comets and meteors in an engaging, age-appropriate manner. The centerpiece of the primer, however, is the section on the total solar eclipse that will take place across the United States on Aug. 21, 2017. Rao debunks the notion that viewing an eclipse at the moment of totality &mdash that is, the few minutes when the sun is fully engulfed by the moon &mdash is harmful to the naked eye. Once the sun is totally covered, you can look and "be amazed at one of Mother Nature's most spectacular sights," he writes. But turn away once the sun starts peeking out lest you be blinded, or use one of the safe viewing techniques he recommends to continue observing the spectacle.

Read Space.com's interview with Rao about the book here.

'Starstruck' (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018)

By Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

Age Range: 6-9

"Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil deGrasse Tyson" by husband-and-wife duo Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer tells the real-life story about a young boy who gazed at the stars one night and has never stopped looking up since.

Lushly illustrated by Frank Morrison in a painterly realistic style, "Starstruck" follows deGrasse Tyson as he works toward adulthood with an eye on unlocking the secrets of the universe, from his first trip to the Hayden Planetarium as a wide-eyed child to a summer astronomy camp in the Mojave Desert in his teens and, finally, back to the Hayden Planetarium, where he lands a job at age 35 and eventually becomes its director.

"We love [deGrasse Tyson's] personality and sense of humor and also the way he can make complex science facts about space easier to understand for the TV viewer," Brewer told Space.com. "He's a genius at distilling information difficult for most of us to grasp. We wanted to try to capture his charisma in a book for children, to inspire them with a hero they should know about."

Read more about "Starstruck" and see images from the book here.

'The Darkest Dark' (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016)

By Chris Hadfield, Illustrated by the Fan Brothers

Age range: 4-8

Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has flown three space missions, commanded the International Space Station and traveled the world speaking about what it's like to fly in space. But before that, he was a young child afraid of the dark while dreaming of exploring the moon. The story of his struggle with that fear is gorgeously illustrated by Terry and Eric Fan, known as the Fan Brothers, who tuck little, menacing aliens into the shadows young Chris's bedroom, and an about-the-author page at the end describes his path to becoming an astronaut for readers who might share that dream.

Space.com talked with Chris Hadfield about his hopes for the new book here.

'Look Inside Space' (Usborne, 2012)

By Rob Lloyd Jones, Illustrated by Benedetta Giaufret and Enrica Rusiná

Age range: 3 and up

For parents of young kids (I am one such parent), Usborne's prizewinning "Look Inside Space" is a must-have to share the history and wild technology of space exploration with starry-eyed tots. The book uses cute illustrations and more than 70 artfully arranged flaps to explore the history of human spaceflight and the basics of stars, planets and other astronomical objects. "Look Inside Space" has a rugged cover (to withstand toddler tantrums), but care must be taken with some its more delicate nested flaps. It is enjoyable to all space fans, but is especially good for pre-school and Kindergarten-age kids just starting out to explore space on their own.

'Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery' (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum/Abrams, 2013)

By Margaret A. Weitekamp, with David DeVorkin, Illustrated by Diane Kidd

Age range: 6 and up

If you're like me, there's a special place in your heart for Pluto, be it a planet or a dwarf planet. In "Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery," authors Margaret A. Weitekamp and David DeVorkin take young readers on a guided tour of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh's historic sighting of Pluto in 1930 to the planet's reclassification to a dwarf planet in 2006, with Kidd's entertaining illustrations leading the way. How did Pluto get its name? It's in there. What exactly is a planet? This book has it covered. Even NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which visits Pluto in 2015, makes a cameo. For the older set, a kicker photo spread on the people and telescopes, as well as a Pluto glossary, make this book an essential for budding astronomers but may be best for kids age 8 and up.

'Little Kids' First Big Book of Space' (National Geographic Children's Books, 2012)

By Catherine Hughes and David Aguilar

Age range: 4-8

This book, by Catherine Hughes and David Aguilar, is a great way to introduce young children to Earth, the solar system and beyond. It features gorgeous images &mdash both photographs and illustrations &mdash and explains tough concepts (such as black holes) in simple, easy-to-understand text. There are also some great tips at the back of the book about how to spark or further kids' interest in space science and exploration.

'CatStronauts' (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017)

By Drew Brockington

Age range: 7-10

Blast off on a space adventure with the most adorable space travelers in the cosmos: the CatStronauts! The graphic novel series tells the story of some incredible spacefaring felines &mdash Major Meowser, Pom Pom, Blanket and Waffles &mdash as they venture to the moon, Mars and beyond. In "Mission Moon," the gang solves a global energy crisis by building a solar power plant on the moon. In the second book, "Race to Mars," they blast off again in an attempt to beat the CosmoCats to the Red Planet.

Space.com spoke with Drew Brockington about his CatStronauts books here. Check out excerpts from "Mission Moon" here.


Best Telescopes For Kids Buyer's Guide

There is something mystical about telescopes. With telescopes, supernovas and stars become something you can almost touch. From the safety of your backyard, you can explore faraway galaxies and mysteries of the universe.

When it comes to kids, they are awed and mystified by the power of a simple telescope. Instead of reading about things in textbooks, they can see them right before their eyes, which piques their interest and curiosity!

If you want to nurture or develop your kid’s interest in astronomy and space, getting them a telescope would be a nice start. With their feet right on the ground, they can travel through the universe with the help of a telescope!

Now comes the million-dollar question: Which are the best telescopes for kids? There are many products out there in the market and it gets tough to choose the perfect one. But you don’t have to worry, because we have got you covered there.

When you go out in the market to search for the best telescope for kids, you will see that there are tons of them available, it gets a bit overwhelming. To help you with that, we have reviewed the best telescopes for kids. You will save a lot of time, energy, effort, and money by choosing one of those given below!

Here, we have all the data you need to buy a telescope for your kid. When you are finished reading, you will find yourself less befuddled by the different features telescopes offer. You will be ready to figure out which highlights are critical for you. We will guarantee that you will be confident as you finally buy a telescope for your kid, and will be content!


Lego Creator 3-in-1 Shuttle Transporter

The little builders in your life will fall head over heels for this Lego Creator 3-in-1 Shuttle Transporter building kit. With the 341 pieces in this box, kids can build a flatbed truck and 10-wheeled trailer that transports shuttles (which they can also build) to their launch site. Breaking the shuttle transporter down, they can then build a two-wheeled rugged truck and the helicopter it transports or a car with caravan.

The realistic-looking shuttle transporter includes vertical exhaust stacks, roof-mounted horns, and a tinted windshield. The shuttle itself also looks realistic, with large engines, opening payload bay doors, working crane and a satellite.


Top Choices for Very Young Kids (4 - 7 Years)

These lower cost instruments are more suited to younger children or for those looking for a less serious and cheaper pair of optics. I have chosen pairs that still perform remarkably well and are still MUCH better than many of the toys that you find on the web:

National Geographic 6x21 Children's Binoculars by Bresser

Made by the German optics company Bresser and based on the very successful Bresser ExploreOne 6x21 Junior Compact binoculars (see below), these National Geographic kid's binoculars maybe bright and colorful, but they are certainly more than just a toy.

Indeed they are a fully functional roof prism compact binocular that have the optical performance that matches that of a standard 'adult' compact binocular at the same sort of price level, and are both my and my 7 year old daughter's top choice for younger children:

What I Like:
As we have already discussed, the 6x magnification is ideal for children, helping them to keep the image shake free and ensuring a wide view to make finding their intended subject easy:

At 360ft wide at 1000yds, the width of view is indeed nice and wide which is great news as I know from my daughter that one of the biggest things that younger kids struggle with is actually finding what they want to look at.

The shape is very compact and thus ideal for small hands and they have a large centrally located focus wheel that is easy to reach. The National Geographic Kid's binocular is also very lightweight, which once again is ideal for youngsters.

I also like the tough housing: The main chassis is made from a polycarbonate plastic and the exterior is rubber armored to withstand the inevitable knocks and bumps.

These instruments also come with a soft carry pouch, wrist strap and cleaning cloth, just like Mum and Dads!

The optical glass that Bresser use in these is coated with an anti-reflective coating for a brighter and better quality image than what you get on the many imitation kids binoculars that don't have any coatings and which are now available.

Just like standard binoculars, these have a diopter adjustment ring to calibrate them to cater for any differences in vision between the left and right eyes.

Age Range
Levenhuk suggest that these are suitable for children of 4 years and above which is about right, however I know from experience that my daughter was capable of using the very similar Bresser ExploreOne 6x21 Junior Compact Binoculars from around 3 years old. Since then we tested and reviewed this exact National Geographic model when she was 7 and whilst she has access to loads of other binoculars this is her favorite.

As for a maximum age, a lot depends on their previous exposure to optics, but these should be perfectly fine for kids of about 10 or 11 years old. For older or more experienced kids, take a look at some of the standard compact binoculars that I suggest below.

One last thing to mention is that these have an IPD range of 5cm to 6.3cm. So, once again perfect for smaller faces with closer set eyes.

Price Range
Absolutely perfect for younger kids and good your the parents bank balance too! Originally priced at around $30 / £30 / &euro30, you can currently find them on offer for about $15 in the US, &euro15 in Germany and Europe and £15 in the UK.

Bresser ExploreOne 6x21 Junior Compact Binoculars

/>Produced by Bresser, these 6x21 Junior Compacts are very similar to the Levenhuk's above.

They come with Bk-7 prisms and has a fully coated optical system that delivers crisp, colorful images to the eyepieces.

The body of the binocular is rubber armored to withstand plenty of punishment.

Bresser Junior Compacts come with a five year guarantee. Also included is a neat carrying case and small wrist strap.

Price Range
These great little binoculars are available for approx $20 in the US and £20 in the UK:

Carson Hawk Kids 5x30 Binoculars

/>Of all the child specific binoculars currently on the market, the Carson HU-530 Hawk is one of my favorites for slightly older kids who are not quite yet ready for standard optics and here is why:

What I Really Like:

Larger Lenses
One of the main reasons for this is unlike the more compact kids binos that you commonly find (like the ones below with 21mm lenses) this Carson Kids binocular uses larger 30mm objective lenses, yet it is still small and lightweight enough for a young person with small hands to steadily hold onto.

There are a number of very important advantages to this which cannot be understated:

  • Firstly these larger lenses are able to capture and let in more light. This helps ensure that a better quality and brighter image is created.
  • Next, the larger lenses also combine with the 5x power to produce a nice large 6mm (30÷5) exit pupil. This not only ensures that more than enough light goes through the instrument and on to the eyes of your child for them to perceive a bright image, but this wide tube of light also makes it MUCH easier for them to line their eyes up with these shafts of light and so see the full image without dark rings on the sides.

5x Power
As already mentioned, a low magnification is what you want for your children and at 5x, I think that Carson have got it spot on here.

This makes sure that the field of view is nice and wide (312 ft. at 1000 yards) which makes it easier for them to find the object that they are looking for and you get far less image shake. This it is easier for Children, who as we know can't keep still to get a nice steady image for a better view.

Carson have used real optical glass on these binoculars (not plastic like some toys have ) and the prisms use BK-7 glass, which is fine, but not as good as the BaK-4 glass used in the Kowa above..

Age Range
The age on the case states that these are suitable for children of 6 years and older.

Price Range
These have a MSRP of $23 in the US, but are now readily available on-line for under $15. In the UK, I have seen them on offer for around £20:


Sometimes, even three-year-olds just want to fit in with the group

Don’t pick your nose. Keep your hands to yourself. What makes children “behave”? New research explains why, as children develop, “because I said so” is no longer enough. Credit: Pixabay

What makes preschoolers eat their veggies? Raise their hand? Wait their turn? "Because I say so" is a common refrain for many parents. But when it comes to getting kids to behave, recent research suggests that the voice of adult authority isn't the only thing that matters. Around age three, fitting in with the group starts to count big too.

That's the finding of a new study by Duke University researchers showing that, by their third birthday, children are more likely to go along with what others say or do for the sake of following the crowd, rather than acting out of a desire to kowtow to authority or heed that person's preferences per se.

"Every culture has its dos and don'ts," said first author Leon Li, a doctoral student in psychology and neuroscience at Duke.

We're not born knowing what to say when someone sneezes, the right and wrong time to wear a hat, or that we should eat with a fork and not with our hands. But most of us begin to pick up on these unwritten social rules when we are very young, and quickly figure out when and how to follow them.

The question, Li said, is what makes young children "behave"? What propels a 3-year-old to use their quiet voice when they'd rather sing and shout? What's really going on when a person covers their cough and a preschooler follows suit, against their own inclination?

Perhaps children this age are not really trying to conform to the accepted way of doing things, some have suggested, as much as they are trying to show regard for adults by doing what they say. Or the child's copycat behavior could be rooted in a desire to feel bonded with that person.

To better understand what motivates preschoolers to fall in line, the researchers conducted a study in the lab of professor Michael Tomasello at Duke, where Li and Duke undergraduate Bari Britvan invited 3.5-year-olds to help set up for a pretend tea party.

Each of the 104 children was given a blue sticker to wear at the start of the study, and told that the people with that color sticker were part of the same team.

Next the researchers watched as the children decided among different kinds of teas, snacks, cups and plates for the tea party, first on their own and then after listening to the choices of other team members.

Sometimes the other team member framed their choice as a matter of personal preference. ("For my tea party today, I feel like using this snack.") Other times they presented it as a norm shared by the whole group: ("For tea parties at Duke, we always use this kind of snack.")

After listening to the choices of others, most of the time the children stuck with their first choice. In other words, children who initially said they felt like using, say, the donut eventually wound up picking the donut no matter what the other person said they were using.

But 23% of the time the children switched their choice to settle for someone else's. And when they did, they were more likely to go along with the other person when an option was presented as a group norm rather than a mere personal preference.

The pattern held up even when the other person was another child, not an adult, suggesting that the preschoolers weren't simply acting out of a desire to imitate adults or obey authority.

Li says the findings lend support to an idea, proposed by Tomasello and colleagues, about how children develop the moral reasoning capacity that sets humans apart from other animals.

When an adult says to an infant or a toddler, "we don't hit," the child generally does as she's told out of deference to that person. But eventually, by around their third birthday, children start to think in a different way. They begin to understand cues such as "we don't hit" as something larger, coming from the group, and act out of a sense of connectedness and shared identity.


Runhappy is a bay horse bred in Kentucky by Wayne, Gray and Bryan Lyster. He is from the first crop of foals sired by Super Saver, the winner of the 2010 Kentucky Derby. Super Saver made a very promising start at stud, with his early progeny also including Competitive Edge (Hopeful Stakes) and Embellish The Lace (Alabama Stakes). [3] Runhappy's dam Bella Jolie won two minor races at Delaware Park Racetrack in 2010. [4] She was descended from Queen Nasra, a broodmare who was the ancestor of many important winners including Balanchine. [5]

As a yearling the colt was consigned to the Keeneland Sales in September 2013 and was bought for $200,000 by Jim McIngvale, [6] who made his fortune in the furniture business. The colt was initially sent into training with McIngvale's racing manager and sister-in-law Laura Wohlers.

2014: Two-Year-Old Season Edit

Runhappy made his first appearance in a maiden race at over six and a half furlongs on the synthetic track at Turfway Park in Kentucky on December 28. Ridden by Adrian Garcia he started second favorite in an eleven-runner field. He went to the front soon after the start and won by eight and a quarter lengths despite showing his inexperience by veering to the right in the straight. [7]

2015: Three-Year-Old Season Edit

On his three-year-old debut, Runhappy was moved up in class for the Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans on January 17. He suffered at least two serious bumps from his opponents and finished ninth of the eleven runners behind International Star. [8] After the race, Maria Borell took over from Wohlers as the colt's trainer. [9]

On his first appearance for Borell, Runhappy won an allowance race over six furlongs on a sloppy track at Indiana Grand Race Course on July 7. On a fast track at Ellis Park Race Course later that month, he won a six and a half allowance, leading for most of the way to beat Springboard by two and three quarter lengths. In both races, he was ridden by Erin Walker. [10]

Edgar Prado took over the ride when Runhappy was moved up sharply in class for the Grade I King's Bishop Stakes over seven furlongs at Saratoga Race Course on August 29. Before the race, Borell explained that she would not use the common raceday medication Lasix, saying, "I don't like drugs and I don't want to run on Lasix if a horse doesn't need it. Runhappy doesn't need it and he's run Lasix-free in all of his starts". [11] Holy Boss, the winner of the Amsterdam Stakes, started as that race's public betting favorite. The other runners included Competitive Edge (Hopeful Stakes), March (Woody Stephens Stakes), Mr Z (Ohio Derby), and Grand Bili (Carry Back Stakes). Runhappy raced in second place before overtaking outsider Limousine Liberal after the first quarter mile. He maintained his advantage and then drew away from his rivals to win by four lengths from Limousine Liberal in a race record time of 1:20.54 with Holy Boss two lengths back in third. [12] After the race, Prado commented, "The plan was to break good out of the gate. He was doing everything so easy and I was very confident in him going into the first turn. When he started pricking his ears and looking for competition, that made me feel good. When I asked him on the top of the stretch and he picked it up, I knew we were in good shape." [11]

On October 2, the opening day of the Keeneland Fall meeting, Runhappy started 7/5 favorite for the Grade III Phoenix Stakes over six furlongs on a sloppy track. Holy Boss was again in opposition, but the main danger appeared to come from Work All Week, the reigning American Champion Sprint Horse. Ridden again by Prado, Runhappy led for most of the way and kept on in the straight to win by one and three quarter lengths from Hutcheson Stakes winner Brabados, with Work All Week taking third ahead of Holy Boss. After the race, Borell said, "He's very talented. He's an amazing horse. I'm so lucky and blessed to have him. Thank you so much, James McIngvale and Laura Wohlers. I'm so blessed." [13] She also reiterated her stand on Lasix, saying, "We've never given him any drugs, and we're proud of that", while Laura Wohlers said, "Maria's very happy about being in a barn that doesn't believe in drugs. She's excited to train clean, and it's good to know he's out there running and that's him". [14]

At Keeneland on October 31, Runhappy, ridden again by Prado, started 8/5 favorite in a fourteen-runner field for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. The multiple Grade I winner Private Zone was second in the betting ahead of Wild Dude (Santa Anita Sprint Championship), Salutos Amigos (Tom Fool Handicap), Limousine Liberal, Masochistic (Triple Bend Invitational Handicap), Kobe's Back (San Vicente Stakes), Big Macher (Bing Crosby Handicap), Holy Boss, and Barbados. Holy Boss took the early lead before Private Zone took over a quarter of a mile from the finish. Runhappy, however, had always been going well behind the leaders and ran on strongly in the closing stages to take the lead 75 yards from the finish and win by three quarters of a length from Private Zone in a track-record time of 1:08.58. Outsider Favorite Tale took third ahead of Holy Boss and Salutos Amigos. [15] After the race, McIngvale said, "We're going to run him next year and see how he does and try to stretch him out [run over longer distance]. Should be a lot of fun. My favorite words are authentic, genuine, real, and transparent. I think if we're going to talk the talk and walk the walk, we've got to do it. No Lasix for us. No drugs. Just hay, oats, and lots of water". [16]

On November 1, the day after the Breeders' Cup, Wohlers, acting as racing manager for McIngvale, dismissed Borell from her position as the colt's trainer. Wohlers claimed the decision had been made prior to the Breeders' Cup. Borell claimed, however, that she had been dismissed because she refused Wohlers' request to send the colt to the track for exercise after finding heat and mild swelling in one of his legs. [17] The ensuing debate between the parties initially played out largely on social media for several days until Borell filed suit against McIngvale on November 10, 2015, alleging breach of contract and defamation. [18] While Borell initially named Keeneland in her suit, requesting that the track hold in escrow a portion of the purse money that was claimed in the lawsuit, [19] the Fayette County Circuit Court held that the court could not order Keeneland to do so. [20]

McIngvale had a long history of summarily firing horse trainers, over 30 As of 2015 [update] , including Hall of Famers Bob Baffert and Bobby Frankel. [19] After Borell was dismissed, Wohlers took over again as the colt's trainer. [17] Runhappy was sent to California, where he won the Grade I Malibu Stakes on December 26, 2015, while giving five pounds to the field. His 3 + 1 ⁄ 2 lengths win was the first Grade I win for Wohlers. His connections stated after the race that they intended to race him in 2016 and attempt longer distances. [21] In January 2016, Runhappy was named American Champion Sprint Horse for 2015 at the Eclipse Awards after taking 255 of the 261 votes. [22] In the 2015 World's Best Racehorse Rankings, Runhappy was rated the joint fifth best sprinter in the world behind Able Friend, Muhaarar, Lankan Rupee, and Chautauqua. [23]