STEAM | 6 November 20153 Tips for Night Sky Watchers from Author Raman Prinja Share article facebook twitter google pinterest It’s National Non-Fiction November, and children everywhere are getting excited about the amazing world we live in. Today Professor Raman Prinja, author of Night Sky Watcher: Your Guide to the Stars and Planets, shares his enthusiasm for astronomy and explains why the subject is so accessible and appealing. He is also on a mission to inspire children to look upwards! Professor Prinja even includes his 3 Tips for Night Sky Watchers . The book is currently on the short list for the prestigious Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize . The winner will be announced on 16th November. Meet the Author I wrote Night Sky Watcher because I really wanted to show how anyone can get outside on a clear night and study the stars and planets; that’s the beauty of astronomy—you can just look up and start exploring. The night sky is a great cosmic laboratory that allows us all to enjoy science, without the need for expensive equipment. You can just look up and ask wonderful scientific questions such as why do the stars have different colours? And why are some stars bright and others so faint? You can easily explore craters on the Moon, figure out why the stars move across the sky, and ponder over stars light-years away that may have their own solar systems and planets. And as you free your imagination staring deep at the star-filled sky, you might just catch the International Space Station, gliding across—many of us did just that in bright London skies this August! A truly amazing spectacle! Night Sky Watcher is a guide to the night sky that shows how easily the sky can be explored and enjoyed, even if you live in towns and cities. I am a Professor of Astrophysics at University College London (UCL) and I’ve studied stars, galaxies and the Universe for most of my life. I’m keen to share my enjoyment of this science with young people (and their parents and teachers). I’m heavily involved in science outreach. I strongly believe that increasing public awareness of science is one of our most important responsibilities as scientists. By showing and making accessible the discoveries of science through the outreach-level books that I have written, I hope to inspire both children and adults to learn more. In my recent books for young people I have been keen to discuss the latest and most exciting discoveries in astronomy. Space is not only rich in awesome facts, but it also displays astoundingly beautiful objects, fierce forces, and tremendously powerful events. It’s great to get these across in my books. For example in Night Sky Watcher, and in my previous book series Universe Rocks (also with QED Publishing), the young readers come across the latest frontiers of Space, including Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, galaxies that are crashing into each other, and dark energy that’s pushing the Universe apart faster and faster. In these books I also greatly value using lots of hands-on activities to help the readers understand the important ideas and concepts. I believe children generally fall in love with science at a fairly young age. Their interests in subjects such as physics, biology, maths and engineering are well formed by the age of 14. So I’ve been writing books like Night Sky Watcher to catch them young! I hope that my books will help to raise the aspirations of young people and get them hooked into pursuing science careers; much as the way I was as a 13 year old using his first telescope in the back garden! It is wonderful to imagine that 30 years from now when a future astronaut about to embark on her first voyage to Mars is interviewed about what inspired her interest in Space, she may reply, “I remember really getting fascinated about planets and stars by reading a little book called ‘Night Sky Watcher’ written by some guy many years ago”! 3 Tips for Night Sky Watchers 1. Be Curious—you should never lose your curiosity about the Universe around you. 2. Have Patience—nothing you can do about cloudy and rainy nights! You just have to bide your time, wait, and try again. 3. Focus on Having Fun—enjoy the experience of looking at objects in the night sky. It’s a beautiful Universe, and each time you go night sky watching there’s more to discover. Night Sky Watcher (currently available in the UK and publishing in the US in 2016) Author: Raman Prinja Format: Paperback / softback, 120 Pages ISBN: 9781781716571 UK Pub date: Aug 4, 2014 US Pub date: Jul 2016 Publisher: QED Publishing Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.