Great stars above!

From our place beneath the heavens, the stars seem to be tiny pinpoints of light. People have seen patterns in the stars for thousands of years. In the storytellers' imaginations, warriors and princesses, flying horses and laughing coyotes all found their way to the stars. Some soothsayers still tell fortunes based on the mysteries of astrology, or the alignment of the planets.

Astronomers know that the real mysteries of space are much greater than the accidental alignments of the stars. Stars, in all their blazing glories of red, blue, green, yellow, and more, are pulsing and moving, swirling around in their galaxies which, in turn, move around the Universe. The stars themselves may be ages old, but we continue to learn more about them all the time. Recently, scientists discovered ten new planets--one of which is orbiting a very young star.

The Milky WayBy using a lot of patience and smarts, astronomers are learning more than ever how the Universe is put together. You, too, can study the stars. A simple telescope is handy, but your naked eye can teach you much about the stars in our neighborhood of the Universe. Don't be discouraged if you live near so many houses that the light drowns out the heavens. Your parents may be able to take you on a special stargazing trip to the countryside, or you could join a local astronomy group to learn even more.

However you want to discover the heavens, these books and Web sites on our CRRL Kids: Search for the Stars list can get you star-ted out right.