Constellations in a cup

Hold a galaxy in your hands, with this constellation in a cup activity. Ask a grown up for some help, so you can enjoy the projections together!

Difficulty: Medium

You will need

  • Paper, polystyrene or plastic drinking cup
  • Constellation design
  • Skewer
  • Pencils or crayons
  • A strong torch- smartphone torches work well

What to do

  1. Download and print out the constellation design.
  2. Cut out one of the constellation designs, and glue it, face up, onto the inside bottom of the cup. If you stick the design to the outside of the cup the constellations will be back to front but will still look lovely.
  3. Make small holes where the dots are by carefully pushing a skewer through the dots one at a time. Make larger holes in the positions where there are larger dots (representing brighter stars).
  4. Head to a room you can close the curtains and turn off the lights and turn on your torch.
  5. Put the torch into the cup and shine it onto the wall. The constellation should appear as dots of light. For best results, adjust the distance between the cup and the wall.
  6. If you wish, decorate your cup with the pencils and crayons.
  7. Next time you go star gazing try and spot these constellations!

Due to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, the constellations seen in the night sky change throughout the year. The constellation of Orion can be seen during summer evenings and the constellation of Scorpius is in the sky during winter evenings.

We can’t see these constellations and other stars during the day because our closest star, the sun is so bright. Try turning on the light in your room and see how your constellations look now.

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