Stepping Stones Museum for Children Invites Visitors to Observe My Sky Exhibit

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The sun sets on the My Sky exhibit at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, CT after Memorial Day – see it soon!

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Families are given the chance to practice science skills that are fundamental to astronomy, science and engineering and are used every day.

There is still time to observe My Sky, an exhibit at Stepping Stones Museum for Children about the universe like no other. After Memorial Day, My Sky flies on to its next destination.

The My Sky exhibit is an immersive and inspiring traveling exhibit designed to engage adults and children in early investigations of astronomical science. It is accompanied by a website,, which includes a tour of the universe; interesting facts about the moon, sun and stars; and offers ideas and resources that parents can use to practice science at home with their children.

My Sky has three primary areas of activity: a skate park, in which children explore the sun; a child’s room, where visitors investigate the moon and the stars; and a backyard that provides experiences about the sun, the moon and the stars together.

In the Skate Park, families explore the sun, both in how one experiences it here on Earth and how it looks through satellites out in space. Visitors are invited to enter a dome where the light of the “sun” traces a path overhead in a matter of seconds, and to observe how their shadows shift and dance as a result. They can stand on a skateboard and create a human sundial, with their shadow arcing across the floor as the "day" progresses. They can even speed up or slow down the movement of the sun to enhance their observations.

Alongside this sun dome is a giant screen displaying stunning imagery of the nearest star as seen by Solar Dynamic Observatory satellites. Visitors can use a spin browser to move through a year-in-the-life movie of the sun and watch it rotate, undulate and eject matter. They are challenged to find solar events like flares, coronal mass ejections, eclipses, solar tornados and more, and they can even observe Venus and the moon transiting across the sun.

This section exposes visitors to astronomical concepts such as the sun appearing to move across the sky during the day, and one can observe this movement by observing how shadows change on the ground; and the fact that the sun is active and constantly changing.

In the child’s room, families encounter a loft bed, underneath which they are challenged both to find familiar constellations and to invent their own new constellations using recognizable star fields. On a nearby desk, families explore the phases of the moon by manipulating a mechanical moon-earth model that, while they turn it, transforms the moon phases as they see them through the bedroom window above the desk.

The child’s room introduces visitors to concepts such as constellations are pictures that people have imagined in the patterns of the stars; phases of the moon are caused by the relative position of the sun, Earth and moon; the moon looks a little different every day, but the same again about every four weeks; the bright part of the moon is lit by the sun; the dark part is facing away from it; and the moon rotates in such a way that one can only ever see one side of it.

In the backyard of My Sky is a dome, in which a giant, 5-foot diameter, topographically-accurate scale model of the moon resides. Children can touch, rotate and really explore this moon and see that it has features like mountains, valleys and craters, just like here on Earth. They can see that the far side of the moon looks very different from the side that faces Earth. This moon model is even lit up in such a way that as visitors move around it, they can see different “phases.”

The backyard also features a beautiful 24-hour day-in-the-life time lapse of the sky that was created by a photographer in Arizona especially for the exhibit, complete with setting sun, rising moon and stars and planets dancing across the sky. Families are challenged to find constellations, planets and more as they watch this movie. Families will also encounter a campfire scene and tents.

The backyard introduces visitors to facts such as the moon is a three-dimensional body with geographical features much like Earth’s; the moon rotates in such a way that one can only ever see one side of it; the far side of the moon is not “dark” – it is just always facing away from us; the patterns of stars in the sky stay the same, though they appear to move across the sky; the moon is sometimes visible during the day; one can see some planets with the naked eye; and the stars do not disappear during the day.

Editor’s Note: My Sky was created by Boston Children's Museum and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and is based upon work supported by NASA under grant award Number NNX12AB91G.

About the company:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501 (c) (3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. Stepping Stones Museum for Children is located at 303 West Ave., Norwalk, CT, exit 14 North and 15 South off I-95. Museum hours are: Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday—Sunday and select holiday Mondays from 10 am-5pm; and Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. For more information about Stepping Stones, to book a field trip or schedule a class, workshop or facility rental call 203-899-0606 or visit

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Linda Kwong
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