The Taurid meteor shower has begun and is due to peak in the UK in the very early hours of Sunday 13th November 2022. Although the Taurids aren’t known for an impressive, dramatic display they do provide a regular sprinkle of meteors throughout October and November so lots of opportunities to spot a shooting star! 💫
When the Earth moves through debris left from passing comets, those particles burn up from the friction with the air when they pass into our atmosphere and create beautiful shooting stars. In the case of the Taurids, the debris is left by the Comet Encke.
☄️Find a dark site with an unobstructed view of the sky. ☄️The best time to see the shower is in the early morning of the peak day, which this year is the morning of the 13th November (the night of the 12th November). ☄️Fill your view with the sky and wait! Lying on the ground is a great way to see as much as possible. ☄️The Taurids are not particularly dramatic but they are wide spread so keep your eyes peeled. ☄️Blanket optional but highly recommended. Reclining deckchairs make an even more comfortable way to view the sky. ☄️Remember to wrap up warm!
The Perseid meteor shower is a spectacle not to be missed as, if conditions are right, it’s a great opportunity to spot lots of bright meteors – 60 or more per hour!
In 2021, the Perseids are visible between 16 July – 23 August, but in 2021 the meteor shower reaches it peak on 11th/12th and 12th/13th August.
Here are some top tips for how to spot meteors:
☄️ Research the best time to spot the meteor shower – for the Perseids in 2021 in the UK, this is in the early hours of 12th and 13th August. The days leading up to these dates could also be good opportunities to see a good show. ☄️ Ideally, the sky should be dark. You’ll get a better view away from streetlights and when the Moon is not full. The Moon sets by 10pm in mid-August in the UK, so the sky will be darkest after that time. ☄️ Fill your view with the sky and wait! Lying on the ground is a great way to see as much as possible, or get comfy in a deckchair. ☄️ Give your eyes 15 minutes to get used to the dark ☄️ Check the weather forecast – a clear sky will give a better view. ☄️ Look low in the north-eastern sky to spot the Perseids, although they can appear anywhere in the sky.
The best time to spot the Lyrid meteor in the UK in 2021 is on the night of 21st – 22nd April. This year, it coincides with a gibbous Moon, which means that the night sky will be bright, which makes spotting meteors a little harder – but don’t be deterred! Follow these tips from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich for the best chance of meteor-spotting.
☄️Find a dark site with an unobstructed view of the sky. ☄️The best time to see the shower is in the early morning of the peak day, which this year is the morning of the 22 April (the night of the 21 April). ☄️Fill your view with the sky and wait! Lying on the ground is a great way to see as much as possible. ☄️Look towards the Vega constellation – here’s a handy map showing how to find it at this time of year thanks to Astronomy Now. ☄️Blanket optional but highly recommended. Reclining deckchairs make an even more comfortable way to view the sky. ☄️Remember to wrap up warm!
Add a sprinkle of science to your child’s bookshelf this autumn with these three inspiring titles from Wren and Rook.
Launch yourself into the great unknown with Space Explorers by Libby Jackson. Marvel at 25 extraordinary true stories of humankind’s thrilling journey to the stars which have been brought to life by Léonard Dupon’s beautiful illustrations.
In An Engineer Like Me by Dr Shini Somara and illustrated by Nadja Sarell, Zara’s journey around the city sparks some serious curiosity: How do roller coasters do loop-the-loops? How do planes stay up? As she marvels about how they work, Zara learns about some of the brilliant engineers who have shaped the world around her. This inventive book is packed with engineering explanations and challenges get future scientists thinking.
A Climate in Chaosby Neal Laytontackles the huge issue of our warming planet by explaining what it is, what’s causing it and – most importantly – how we can all help to keep Planet Earth happy.
Want to win all three books for your family? We’ve got five bundles of three to give away to Whizz Pop Bang fans!
To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this question in the comments:
Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here!
Who was Stephen Hawking, and why was he famous? As budding scientists themselves, your children are bound to ask questions about the man in the wheelchair with the strange voice. And rightly so, for this is a man to be talked about and remembered for so many ground-breaking discoveries in science.
On the way to school yesterday morning, as we heard the news of Stephen Hawking’s death, my children asked why he died. This is a perfectly reasonable question, and one I answered with suggestions as I didn’t know exactly why he had died. We listened to the news reader and tried to make sense of a man who defied the doctors’ words and went on to live for an ‘extra’ 53 years.
“Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research,” Stephen said.
“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
Alok Jha explains why black holes are doomed to shrink into nothingness then explode with the energy of a million nuclear bombs, and rewinds to the big bang and the origin of the universe.From The Guardian.
A brief timeline of Stephen’s life and career
Stephen Hawking is a British theoretical physicist, he was born on January the 8th, 1942.
Hawking has made many important contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity. He is also well known for his bestselling book ‘A Brief History of Time’.
Helped by the success of his book ‘A Brief History of Time’, Hawking has released other books aimed at making his work accessible to a wide range of people, these include ‘The Universe in a Nutshell’, ‘A Briefer History of Time’ and ‘George’s Secret Key to the Universe’, a children’s book with a strong focus on science.
Hawking has worked extensively on the subject of black holes, providing theories for their behaviour, including the idea that they emit radiation.
Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a type of motor neuron disease that has left him almost completely paralysed.
Some of the awards Hawking has received for his work include the 1979 Albert Einstein Medal, the Order of the British Empire (Commander) in 1982 and the 1988 Wolf Prize in Physics.
Famous Stephen Hawking quotes include:
“There ought to be something very special about the boundary conditions of the universe and what can be more special than that there is no boundary?”
“I don’t believe that the ultimate theory will come by steady work along existing lines. We need something new. We can’t predict what that will be or when we will find it because if we knew that, we would have found it already!”
“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen.”
“It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”
“I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”
What was it like having Stephen Hawking as your Dad?
Lucy Hawking describes the moment her famous scientist father, Doctor Stephen Hawking, was asked by a child – what happens if you fall into a black hole?
“As a child you could ask any question you wanted – and get a reply,” she said.
One of the many books written by Lucy and Stephen Hawking:
George’s pet pig breaks through the fence into the garden next door – introducing him to his new neighbours: the scientist, Eric, his daughter, Annie, and a super-intelligent computer called Cosmos. And from that moment George’s life will never be the same again, for Cosmos can open a portal to any point in outer space . . .
Written by science educator Lucy Hawking and her father – the most famous scientist in the world – and illustrated by Garry Parsons, George’s Secret Key to the Universe will take you on a rollercoaster ride through space to discover the mysteries of our universe.
Stephen Hawking quotes your kids will like…
On the universe: “It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”
On persistence: “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” – at an Oxford University Union speech in 2016.
On curiosity: “So remember, look at the stars and not at your feet.” – at the Sydney Opera House in 2015.
‘Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.’ Stephen Hawking’s words are an inspiration to us all regardless of our age, abilities or dreams.
In conjunction with our Planetary Adventures edition (issue 28) we ran a competition to win Star Finder for Beginners, signed by Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE! Maggie is a presenter on BBC Four show Sky at Night, and is passionate about inspiring kids, especially girls, into science.
To enter the competition Whizz Pop Bang readers answered the following question:
What are stars made of?
A) Hot gas
B) Shiny aliens
c) Sparling Moon dust
The correct answer is of course hot gas! Well done to everyone who entered ?
Here our the five winners, who will each receive a signed copy of Star Finder for Beginners. Happy star-gazing! Thank you to DK Books for supplying the prizes, and asking Maggie to sign them for our lucky mini scientists.
As the nights draw in and it gets dark earlier it’s the perfect time to pull on your hats and gloves and get outside to start stargazing! Before you venture out we’ve got some top tips from space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE. And if you’re keen to learn more about the night sky, enter our online competition to win a copy of STAR FINDER FOR BEGINNERS signed by Maggie ? ? ?
KIDS! Do you love star-gazing and finding out all about the wonders of the night sky above us? Have you ever tried spotting a constellation? With this brand new book you’ll learn how to identify ‘pathfinder’ stars and discover more than 20 constellations. Also includes a glow-in-the-dark night-sky viewer!
The good news is we have five copies signed by BBC TV star Maggie Aderin-Pocock, so get your entries in to win! Simply answer this question by leaving your answer in the comment box below:
What are stars made of? A) Hot gas B) Shiny Aliens C) Sparkling moon dust
Whilst Maggie was busy signing the books for our lucky winners we asked her for some top tips for star-gazing, this is what she said…
With stargazing it’s all about location, location, location. Find somewhere away from the streetlights, I try to go to the back garden or go with an adult to an open field.
It’s good to have a clear night, cloud stops us from seeing the stars and if the moon is too bright it can also be hard to see the stars.
If you do get a clear night it can be cold so wrap up warm, but remember to let your eyes adjust to the dark. If you need light carry a red torch as this has less effect on your eyes as they adapt to the dark.
Best of all enjoy yourself. There is so much to see with just our eyes, the Moon, stars planets and comets. Have fun!
School’s officially out for the summer!!! WHOOOPEEEEE! Get ready for summer science fun with Whizz Pop Bang and our awesome experiments to do in the garden, at the beach, in the park or at the kitchen table when the skies are black…
Science outside: ☀️ Make a solar oven and bake cookies in the garden ☀️ Forensic science blood spatter test ☀️ Minibeast habitats ☀️ Butterfly banquet ☀️ Lay a pitfall trap ☀️ Make your own pooter (a special pot for collecting insects)
In the dark: ⭐️ Hold your own stargazing party ? Night time safari
At the beach: ? Take the super strong sand challenge ? Sandcastle secrets for Whizz Pop Bang scientists! ? Sand ripples in a bowl ? Panning for gold ? Shake it up!
Wet weather science: ☔️ Make a snoop-o-scope ☔️ Take your own finger prints ☔️ Make your own pond skater ☔️ Fireworks on a plate ☔️ Take the paper clip challenge ☔️ Penny drop ☔️ Whooshing pepper ☔️ Make an ocean in a bottle ☔️ Make a water-powered boat ☔️ Make an octopus
September is the ideal time of year for a stargazing party; it’s cheap, easy to host and the kids get to stay up ‘late’ which is always deemed to be fun in itself!
Inside issue 13 is the ultimate guide to the night sky, along with a pull-out stargazing map to help the kids decipher the constellations and find out how to spot Mars, and depending on the conditions, maybe Saturn too!
We’ve put together a party planner for your science party with a difference, including the recipe for planet cake pops to impress all your party guests. And don’t forget to order copies of Whizz Pop Bang science magazine for really cool goodie bags, order single issues here.
For your stargazing party you will need:
Blankets to lie on in the garden
Binoculars (and a telescope if you have one or can borrow one)
Flasks/cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows
Jam jars and tea lights to decorate the garden, and lead the way to the stargazing blankets
Planet cake pops already made and ready to eat
Glow in the dark stickers or glow sticks to play with together
Tell your guests to bring a jumper and a wooly hat so they don’t get too cold!
The ultimate evening to hold your stargazing party will be on Saturday 10th September as the Moon will be visible in the evening sky and it will be dark by around 8pm.