A part of our mission at David Chandler Company is to help children develop a life-long interest in the sciences. We also believe that children have amazing powers of observation and the ability to retain much more information and detail than many children’s games give them credit for. That is why we have often been disappointed in the few astronomy related games we have seen marketed for younger children. Most of the images are cartoonish, very subjectively drawn, and often downright inaccurate. We wouldn’t even think of trying to teach astronomy with these over-commercialized products, there is no way one could recognize actual constellations using their images!
This was the inspiration for our version of the classic matching game using a selection of well-known northern hemisphere constellations. We adapted the same highly accurate and respected map projections we use on our renowned star chart, The Night Sky planisphere, to these game cards. The constellation asterisms (figures) are drawn the same as on our planisphere and the relative size of the stars in each asterism accurately reflects the magnitude (brightness) of the actual stars. Even the positions of background stars surrounding the figures are technically correct. All of this means that one should be able to recognize the patterns of the actual constellations in the night sky after becoming familiar with the images on our game cards. To take this a step further, each card has astronomical coordinates in the lower right corner so you can use a planisphere (ours, hopefully) to find out where to look for the actual constellation and when it will be visible.
To add additional visual interest we commissioned well-known astronomical artist Garret Moore to provide artwork depicting the mythology associated with each figure. The images evoke the popular mythology in a child-friendly, but not cartoonish manner. Each card is titled with the IAU accepted name of the constellation as well as with the colloquial reference. For example, the card for Gemini is also titled “The Twins”.