Instructions for how to make and use a planisphere

Instructions for how to make and use a planisphere
Download the template [PDF, 3.3 MB]

In this activity you will make a planisphere – a map of the sky that can tell you the constellations that are visible at different times of the year. This activity ties into the accompanying video, so make sure you watch that for full instructions. 

You will need: 

  • Printed planisphere template 
  • Scissors 
  • Tape 

Activity instructions 

  1. Cut around the outside of the planisphere template. Don’t cut along the dotted lines! 
  2. Cut out the oval shape out from the middle of the template. Be careful with the scissors when making a hole through the paper. 
  3. Cut out the planisphere disk. 
  4. Fold the flaps backwards along the dotted lines. 
  5. Tape the corners of the flaps together to make a pocket. 
  6. Slide the disk into the holder. If it doesn’t quite fit, trim a little more paper from the edges of the disk. 

How to use it 

First you need to set the date and time. If we want to see what’s up in the sky at 10pm on 25th April, find this date on the outer ring, and turn it until the date lines up with 10pm. Now hold the planisphere over your head and look up at it. Turn so that the North arrow on the planisphere is pointing North. You can use a compass app on a phone to find where North is. 

Now anything in the centre of the oval cut out would be directly over your head, and anything near to the edges of the oval would be near to the horizon in that direction. 

Downloadable Planispheres Instructions (PDF)