Marianne J. Dyson

Stars & Galaxies


Book 8 of the Space University series

Stars and Galaxies was book number 8 of Scholastic's Space University book club series. It was originally published in 2008, but is unfortunately out of print and no longer available for order through Scholastic's Book Club.

One of the activities published in this book was "Map Out the Local Group." I have revised and updated that activity and included it on my Hands-On Activities page.

I was also a science consultant (meaning I created some or all of the activities and experiments) for books 9, 11, and 12 in this series.

Each book in the set of 12 books came with a box called the "Space Case" that contained items needed to conduct the experiments and activities in the books. (Some activities only required household items — i.e. not all the activities required items from the space case.) If you find a used copy of one of these books through Amazon, be sure to check if the space case is included. However, most of the items in the space case, such as the prism glasses that came with Stars and Galaxies, may already be in your possession or can be purchased separately through various vendors. Here's what came in the Stars and Galaxies space case:

An Astroblaster — this is a set of 4 balls on a stick that could be made from existing rubber balls of decreasing size. The bottom ball was the biggest and it was impaled with a stick. The other three balls had holes all the way through and slid down the stick with the smallest ball on top. The whole stack was dropped, and the top three balls would then shoot upward, simulating the collapse and explosion of a supernova.

Two magnets — these magnets were shaped like donuts and painted so one side was red and the other blue. These were slid down a pencil with the same colors facing each other so they would repel — one would "float" above the other unless it was pushed real hard and forced down, simulating the forces involved in nuclear fusion.

Diffraction (prism) glasses. These glasses were used to reveal the rainbow in white light and the emission lines of other light sources. Prism glasses can be purchased from this vendor: http://www.teachersource.com/LightAndColor/Spectra/PrismGlasses.aspx.

Magenta filter. This was used in conjunction with the diffraction glasses to show how filters work.

The book contains lots of great information in a very friendly graphical format — i.e. the space case isn't required to enjoy it. Each book and its space case originally cost about $13.

Each book was stand-alone, i.e. though I love owning the whole set, owning books 1-7 is not necessary to understand and enjoy book 8. I have some extra copies of Stars and Galaxies and also Mars, though I don't have extra space cases. (The Mars book requires 3D glasses to view some pages.)

I am happy to answer any questions children or parents may have about the content or activities in books 8, 9, 11, and 12.

The 12 Space University books were "The Explorer's Guide to..."

  1. The Universe
  2. Space Travel
  3. Earth's Neighborhood
  4. Search for Life in the Universe
  5. Other Worlds
  6. Life Aboard the International Space Station
  7. Amazing Astronomy
  8. Stars and Galaxies by Marianne Dyson
  9. Out-of-this-world Science (Marianne Dyson, consultant)
  10. Cosmology
  11. Mars (Marianne Dyson, consultant)
  12. The Future in Space (Marianne Dyson, consultant)

More Information

Amazon Review: "Fun Book" Craig B. Clark said of The Space Explorer's Guide to Stars and Galaxies (Space University) which he reviewed November 21, 2011. He posted, "Well written book, it will be fun and informative to share with my grandchildren. Good selection of topics and it goes beyond most books for younger readers."

Recommended Links

Hubble images

Chandra images

Connect: Twitter Facebook