Introduction: Make Your Own Planisphere
Have you ever looked up into the night sky and wondered where the Big and Little Dippers are? Humans can see thousands of stars on a clear night so making out constellations can be a little overwhelming. Fortunately, you can take a map of the stars with you!
What is a planisphere? How does it work?
A planisphere is just a fancy name for a map of the stars. It allows you to find constellations and stars in the night sky. Just as the stars appear to move across the sky, a planisphere can change just as the stars do! You can use your map all year round and at any time of night. One thing to keep in mind is that planispheres are location dependent. The planisphere you are about to make will be useful anywhere around Kansas City and most anywhere in the continental United States.
A printed PDF of Planisphere sheets that is provided.
Love of Astronomy
Step 1: Download PDF of Planisphere
Step 2: Cut Out Planisphere Pieces
Follow where the guides tell you to cut. Cut around the circle for the paper with the constellations. Cut out the middle of the holder paper and around the top edge. Your pieces should look like the above image. (Remember to cut along solid lines ONLY, while the dotted lines are to be folded later)
Step 3: Fold on the Dotted Lines
Fold the lower half of the paper on the horizontal dotted line so it looks like this.
Step 4: Fold in the Side Wings
Flip the paper over and fold the wings inward on the vertical dotted lines like this.
Step 5: Tape the Wings
Use two pieces of tape to fix the wings down on either side.
Step 6: Putting the Pieces Together
Flip the holder back over and insert the constellation circle. You have made your own Planisphere!
Step 7: How to Use Your Planisphere
Align the time arrows with the month and date you are observing. Lift the planisphere over your head and align the Northern Horizon on the paper with North. Observe all the constellations, stars and deep-space objects in our skies! Have fun!
Turn the constellation circle to important dates such as your birthday. When you do this the planisphere will allow you to see what the night sky will look like on your birthday.