With many people across the world staying at home these days, the ESA has curated a selection of activities for you to pass time and learn more about space science in the meantime.
You could start with ESASky, a discovery portal that provides full access to the entire sky. This open-science application allows computer, tablet and mobile users to visualise cosmic objects near and far across the electromagnetic spectrum – from gamma rays to radio wavelengths – as observed by many space science missions, operated by ESA and other agencies, as well as ground-based telescopes.
A classic activity to join scientists and support their investigations from one’s home is citizen science, which enables everyone to take part in real cutting edge research in many fields across the sciences, humanities, and more. There are many citizen science projects available online, most notably on The Zooniverse, the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research.
One of the most famous projects is Galaxy Zoo, launched in 2007 to invite volunteers to support astronomers in the visual inspection and classification of the shapes of galaxies in astronomical images. It has engaged hundreds of thousands of volunteers, leading to dozens of publications based on the input of citizen scientists.
Exploring stars in the Milky Way
Another online resource to learn more about our place in the cosmos is ESA’s Star Mapper, an interactive visualisation to explore the sky as measured by the Hipparcos mission. Hipparcos, which operated from 1989 to 1993, was the first space astrometry mission, obtaining precision measurements of the positions, motions and distances of more than 100 000 stars, and had a major impact on many areas of astronomy research.
Space resources for children
The ESA Kids website, maintained by the ESA Education office, contains lots of material and activities to entertain children at home while schools are closed, and learn about science and space in the meantime, including a monthly drawing competition.