Star Census Log Report
Prairie Wind Homeschool

How many stars are in your night sky locally?
What does twinkling mean?


I estimated, I would count one thousand stars.
I knew that the atmosphere causes twinkling.
I predicted that stars higher in the sky twinkle more.
I predicted that stars twinkle more on a windy night.
I think stars twinkle more at sea level. I think stars change color when they twinkle.

First, I found a toilet paper tube and measured with a ruler the width of the tube. I cut the tube so that its length is three times it width. Next, I found a protractor and marked measurement of 66 degrees, 45 degrees, and 30 degrees. Then, I proceeded to go outside with my flashlight and count the stars at 11:00PM Central Daylight Time and 4:30AM Central Daylight Time on Oct. 2, 1995.

The 11:00PM star counting wasn't that successful. The moon was up and the wind had not calm down here in windy Kansas. My mom wanted me to locate Orion, Taurus the Bull, and count the Pleiads. We couldn't see a thing with the bright 1/2 moon. Orion and Taurus had just risen in the southeast and Mr. Moon was "smack" right in the middle everything. Mom said we would have to try again. She said we would have to wait for the moon to set. We got up at 4:30AM and repeated the star count.

Data for the 4:30AM star count.

  3/4 up  1/2 up  1/3 up  Total

  North           1       3      3      7

  South          10      15      3     28

  East            5       7      4     16

  West            1       1      1      3

  Total          17      26     11     54

  Grand Total  53 * 12 = 648 Stars at Augusta, Kansas

Located at 37 degrees N Latitude
97 degrees W Longitude

We located Orion, Taurus the Bull and the Pleiads. I counted seven stars in the Pleiads. The seventh star kept twinkling in and out. Mom counted six stars in the Pleiads.


It was a clear night, not a cloud in the sky. A mild breeze out of the south.

Light pollution
A First Quarter Moon was shinning brightly in all it's glory at the 11:00PM counting. At 4:30AM counting, the moon had set. We were 2 and 1/2 miles from the town of Augusta, Kans., population 6000 and 12 miles from the city of Wichita, Kans., population 350,000. Augusta is northeast of our location. Wichita was due west of our location. The cities lights interfered with seeing stars in the horizon, especially in the west.

3200 ft. above sea level

rural countryside

I under estimated the number of stars that I thought I would count. I didn't notice any change in twinkling from a high star and a low star. I saw more stars higher in the sky. One Pleiads's star twinkled faster. I did not noticed any change in color when the star twinkled. The wind may have cause the stars to twinkle more. What causes the twinkling in stars? I think that twinkling is cause by factors in the atmosphere,such as light pollution, wind, distance, elevation, and time of night.

I thought the stars were awesome to see at night. I never really looked at them before. I saw several shooting stars. It was a grand sight to see. My mom missed it because her back was turned. I think the stars is one of the most beautiful wonders of the world. It should be the eighth wonder.

I really liked Live From the Stratosphere project, because we got to fly up in an airplane and see the stars and the planets. The experiments were fun. Web Chat was awesome. It was fun talking to other students around the country. I'm looking forward to Live from Hubble Telescope.

Lee Mitchell
6th Grader
Prairie Wind Homeschool

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