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Monday, 8 May, 2006

Planet Hunting
by Alessandro T. (Age 10)

Something special happened tonight.

As we were driving home after fetching Dad from work, I told him about my astronomy class with Mr. Esler.  He asked me if I had seen the telescopes at Countdown. (our local supermarket)  I said: "Yes, I had."  Mom and I went into Countdown on the way home as we usually do every night.  I raced to the spot where I had seen the telescopes.  There was only one left.  I hoped that it would work well!

After tea, I set the telescope up and went outside.  I felt really excited the first time that I saw the craters on the moon and called out to my mom and Misty to come and have a look.

While I was looking for Jupiter, I saw another bright dot in the sky.  I moved my telescope towards the dot to get a closer look.  I focussed on this small, yellow object.  It was just a star!  As I was planet-hunting, this didn't hold my interest for long.

I then spotted Jupiter.  I could just see its bands of colour and three of its many moons around it through my telescope.  The dark red bands are called belts, and the lighter bands are called zones.  I felt really lucky to see this and once again, summoned my whole family to share in this sight.

I decided to look for Saturn, Uranus or Neptune.  I came across a blue dot and thought that it could be Neptune.  Some clouds blocked my view before I could focus on it.

Waiting for the clouds to pass, I went inside and had a cup of warm Milo.  Afterwards, the clouds had moved and I was able to focus on the blue object.  It was also another star as it was very small, had no bands or other planet-identifying features.  Planets have no light of their own.  They reflect sunlight and don't twinkle like stars do.

I packed up my telescope and went in for the night.  As the telescope was covered with dew, I left it in front of the fire to dry.

The name planet comes from the word meaning "wanderer".  I wonder if this is due to the fact that planets move around in the sky?  This is what my mind is doing at the moment, wandering.  Lying in bed, I am thinking about all the items in the sky still waiting to be explored and found.  My mom is wondering when I'm going to go to sleep.  Astronomy class has definitely sparked an interest in space for me! - The End


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Last Updated:
8 May 2006

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