Lunar and Planetary Institute


Milky Way Viewing


All the stars we see with our unaided eyes are part of our Milky Way galaxy!On the night of a new Moon, away from city lights, children can find the Milky Way in the sky. Share this special viewing event with children and their families.

The Activity

The Milky Way appears as a dim band of light arching across the sky. Using a sky chart or planisphere (a good one is David H. Levy’s Guide to the Stars) you can locate the Milky Way in your viewing area for a particular night.

After the Milky Way has been located, look at it through binoculars or a telescope. Individual stars should be distinguishable. For help in identifying stars in your location, go to Sky and Telescope to access an interactive sky chart with a customized view of your local sky. Share what you discover!


More Activities


Last updated
January 9, 2007

Ages 5 and up and their families

How Long?
30 minutes or more

What's Needed?

• Planisphere or sky chart
• Clear, dark viewing sky
•Binoculars or a telescope
• Mosquito repellent (optional)
• Snacks (optional)

Connections to the National Science Standard(s)

Standards A&D(grades K–4): Develop explanations using observation. Stars have properties and locations that can be observed and described.

Standards A & D (grades 5–-8): Develop explanations based on observations and communicate scientific explanations. Most objects in the Solar System are in regular and predictable motion.