Tag Archives: astronomy

Star Party: Astronomy Night at Playcard Environmental Education Center, Playcard, South Carolina

26 Feb
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#Kepler sits atop the Starfinder Meade 16

Thursday night, I drove over to Playcard, South Carolina for a star party hosted by Horry County and the Playcard Environmental Education Center.  This free event took place in the open field next to the center, perfect for stargazing.

It was a beautiful night for the event–cloudless, lightly breezy, cool but not cold. The stars quickly came into view as the sun set.

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Setting up

The host astronomers provided a variety of telescopes and binoculars for everyone to try out, and they assisted guests in setting up their own equipment correctly. A decent pair of binoculars is now on my shopping list.

One of the most helpful tips they gave for using binoculars is to look at the area you’d like to view, like the moon, first with your eyes. Keep your sight trained there as you bring the binoculars to your face. This prevents having to crane your head around to try to locate specific bodies through the binoculars. If you look at the area before you bring them to your eyes, the binoculars will already be pointed in the right direction. (Sounds obvious, but I’ve seen many a birder doing the “Where’s Waldo?” through their binoculars.)

Beyond my personal enthrallment with space, the event was an ideal setting to get #Kepler pics and to spread the news about Humans In My House and the Stars Above It. I made coloring books with the illustrations from the novel, packaged them up with a box of crayons and some Red Ink Enthusiast swag, and passed them out to the children in attendance. I made twenty packets and gave away all but two.

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Coloring page from chapter 2 of Humans In My House and the Stars Above It

The event turnout was great, but it’s likely that you weren’t there. If you or your little one would like to get in on the coloring, download the Humans In My House and the Stars Above It Coloring Book or use the new Downloads tab on the menu to print the coloring pages.

My plans for this new tab include adding coloring pages from Humans book 1 and Nova June: Inventor (after it publishes), and kid’s book club discussions/reading comprehension topics for each of my novels, all free to download and print for personal and educational use.

In the meantime, happy coloring!

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Humans In My House, Kepler, and His Namesake

26 Oct

Ever wonder why I chose to name the curious cat of Humans In My House after astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler?

This excellent article by Marcelo Gleiser, written for NPR’s 13.7 Cosmos and Culture, discusses just some of the many reasons behind my choice. Though the opinion article is distinctly political and currently relevant, my motivations to choose the name were strictly related to Kepler’s fields of study and discoveries.

Kepler lived and worked persistently for knowledge, for humanity. It’s a value I believe is important to share with young readers through the curiosity and social consciousness of my characters, starting with Kepler and his human, Emily, regardless of the political climate of Johannes Kepler’s time or ours. Though I would never try to downplay the importance of politics, of policy, or its roles in our society, the moral of the series, especially of volume 2, is not “good politics,” but “good stewardship”–of humanity and of the earth.

The Humans In My House series is available here. Read volume 2, Humans In My House and the Stars Above It, to learn more about Kepler, his namesake, and his advancements in astronomy.

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