I love astronomy—and as a homeschooling dad, I love getting my kids excited about astronomy, too. I’ve taught astronomy to kids in our local homeschool co-op at all different grade levels, and I’ve taught over a thousand kids astronomy in my online courses.
Because astronomy is a visual discipline, I use a lot of videos when I teach.
If you’re looking to teach your kids astronomy, these videos were some of my students’ favorites over the years.
Under each video I’ve put a quiz question. Watch these videos with your kids and see if they know the answers to the questions! (Answers are at the bottom of the article.)
1. Revolving Around Polaris
As the earth rotates on its axis, the stars appear to move through the sky throughout the night. Notice, in the center of the screen is the North Star, which doesn’t appear to move as the night passes.
2. Auroras: The Northern and Southern Lights
“Aurora” is Latin for “sunrise.” Over both Northern and Southern magnetic poles, these mysterious light displays have inspired people for centuries. (Note at the end of the video the view of an aurora from high over the earth in the International Space Station.)
3. Lake Ontario on Titan
The moon Titan has liquid methane lakes—the only object in the solar system, other than Earth, where liquid lakes are confirmed to exist. This one, called “Ontario Lacus” (Lake Ontario), was observed by the NASA spacecraft Cassini.
4. Lunar Eclipse
Lunar eclipses have fascinated people for ages. Primitive tribes didn’t know what to make of them! (And there’s even a weird story about Christopher Columbus using this to his advantage among the native tribes of Jamaica.)
This is a time lapse video of the lunar eclipse that took place in December 2010. A lunar eclipse is the Earth’s shadow, cast by the sun, on the surface of the moon.
5. Total Solar Eclipse
In 2017, North America got a front row seat to a powerful event: a total solar eclipse. The sun is about 400 times bigger than the moon, but the moon is 400 times closer to the earth than the sun is, meaning they appear about the same size in the sky. At times the moon will line up with the disk of the sun in the sky, resulting in a total solar eclipse.
This video includes are some scenes from around the United States of people witnessing the 2017 eclipse.
6. Comet Collides with Jupiter
In July 1994, the world watched as a comet, Shoemaker-Levy 9, broke into many pieces and crashed into the planet Jupiter. The impacts of each piece could be seen from telescopes on Earth. (The video has no sound but shows what the comet may have looked like crashing on Jupiter.)
7. Teddy in Space
This is a fun video about an elementary school class that sent a teddy bear into space using a weather balloon.
8. The Solar System to Scale
Nearly every model of the solar system you’ve seen is totally wrong. If you make a model of the solar system to scale, you’d need to make it very, very large (otherwise your planets would be way too small to see). That’s what this video is all about. (If you want to make your own model of the solar system, here’s how to do it.)
9. Singing Stars: How Great is Our God
In this sermon clip, Louie Giglio talks about a possible meaning of Psalm 148:3—perhaps the stars really are singing to God.
10. Planets, Sun, and Stars: A Comparison of Sizes
This video is by far one of my kid’s favorite videos. It shows the relative sizes of planets, the sun, and other stars in our galaxy.
Answers to Quiz Questions
1. The North Star is called Polaris. It doesn’t move because our North Pole points right at it. (Picture standing under an umbrella, spinning it around. The center of the umbrella won’t appear to turn.) This video explains why this is.
2. Auroras are caused by solar wind interacting with energetic particles high in the atmosphere.
3. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is larger than even the planet Mercury.
4. When the sun sets on Earth, often the horizon is red. If you were standing on the moon during a lunar eclipse, you would see the Earth completely covering the sun with a red, sunset glow around the rim of the whole Earth. This red light shines on the moon and is reflected back to us. (Here’s one artist’s rendition of what it might look like from the moon.)
5. True. A New Moon is the phase of the moon where the lit up side of the moon is facing away from the earth.
6. Comets are made of rock and ice.
7. We need to go up about 62 miles (100 km) to get to what’s called the Kármán line, the commonly accepted boundary line between the earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
8. The sun is about 93 million miles away or about 8 light-minutes (the light from the sun takes 8 minutes to get to our eyes).
9. A light year is the distance light travels in a year (5,879,000,000,000 miles).
10. Our galaxy is a spiral galaxy. It is called the Milky Way.
Online Video Astronomy Courses
Want to go deeper in the subject of astronomy with your kids? Let me do the teaching for you! I’ve designed several full-year online astronomy video courses for elementary, junior high, and high school students called Experience Astronomy.