Materials for Outreach - Making a Star Frame

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Franklin Gonzales and Aida Bermudez of the Florida International University Astronomy Club making constellation finding Star Frames during an Astronomy Day outreach event.

Star Frames are used as a teaching aid to recognize contellations of stars in the sky. They are clear frames with dots painted on them to match a contellation pattern in the sky when held at arm's length, and can be made from inexpensive items that are easily found in the home.


To make a Star Frame you will need a metal wire coat hanger, some clear plastic wrap, tape, and white correction fluid (e.g. "white out"), or glow-in-the-dark luminous paint (available from hobby stores), and a paint brush.

Bend a coat hanger into a rectangle with the hook made into a loop/handle at one corner, and cover it with plastic wrap, so that you have a single thickness of plastic wrap tightly stretched across the frame. This provides a clear "canvas" on which to paint dots in the correct pattern to match the stars in the constellation that you are working on.

To get the correct pattern of stars, you can hold the star frame against the sky at arm's length and touch the clear plastic with the paint brush on each bright star, or you lay the star frame over a printed star map that is correctly scaled, and then paint the dots over the stars on the map.

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