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Mapping Historic Skies

Recommended For: Ages 10 and Up

Badges: Citizen Scientist, Pictures in the Sky, Space & the Past

Download this activity as a PDF.


Become a Citizen Scientist! This project is an online collaboration between the Adler Planetarium's Collections department and the Adler-Zooniverse team. With this project you will be helping real researchers learn more about a collection of historic constellation imagery. 

The original idea for Mapping Historic Skies came out of an NEH-funded digitization project at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL. The Adler collections team digitized more than 4,000 historical constellation maps and depictions, covering a span of 600 years and featuring artistic representations of the sky from around the world.


You Will Need

  • A reliable internet connection



What if you could compare depictions of a single constellation across time?

How would they change?

What might those changes mean?



Publications from the Mapping Historic Skies Project:

>Crowdsourcing Knowledge: Interactive Learning with Mapping Historic Skies

>Digital Historic Skies



Mark Constellations

Draw a rectangle around each constellation you see, keeping in mind that there may be multiple constellations in each image.

Identify Constellations

Help identify individual constellations within groups of constellations. In each image, the constellation to be identified is shown in a pink box.

You will first be asked if you can name the constellation in the image. If you are sure of its name, respond "Yes" to the first question, and type the name of the constellation into the text box when prompted. If you are unsure of spelling, feel free to check the list of constellations by clicking on the Field Guide. If you don't know the name of the constellation, that's okay! Respond "No" to the first question, and keep going.

You will then be asked a series of questions about the constellation depicted in the image. The early questions will be very basic, and grow more specific as you progress, based on the answers you give.



Want to complete this task towards collecting a Wondernaut badge? Post a screenshot of your work and tell us about your experience:

  1. What did you learn?

  2. What most surprised you?


Ready to post? Head here!

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