by Hatim Madani

Stars are the jewels of the universe; they enlighten our nights and our paths, enchant our spirits since our early childhood. Children entered a long time ago into a unique relationship with stars. Fascinated by the celestial show, the children cultivate a kind of friendship with the stars which adults do not seem to be able to seize. 

Showing the stars to the children is a way to renew this eternal relationship shared by all the generations of children. However, nowadays this magical relationship which unites them became more difficult to perpetuate; the majority of large cities ‘children miss the opportunity of seeing stars and taking advantage of the beauty of a starry sky.


This unique and eternal friendship has to be protected and encouraged.  In order to do so, we have to help children to be more closer to the stars by giving them above all the opportunity to see them but also by discovering their magic names and the constellations’ legends. 

In the framework of our activities with our school clubs we take advantage of all the opportunities to make the pupils in touch with the starry sky and share this magic contact with stars.  

During workshops organized for pupils, we noticed the particular interest shown in stars and especially in their names; they found them magic and fascinating. At the end of the workshops, after learning the names of some remarkable stars of the sky, the pupils asked us about the names of the other stars. 

Further to this encouraging request, we then had the idea to suggest to the children to discover nearly all the named stars of the sky. This represents in itself the step for every amateur astronomer who wishes to begin to master the sky.


To stimulate them, we thought that the thing could take a challenging side and encourage them even more if we organize a competition. We realized this experience two years ago during a national contest launched during the Global Astronomy Month 2012, and the results were very encouraging, the children had managed to learn a large number of names of stars and constellations and their right positions. Last week we met some pupils who participated to the 2012 contest and we were pleased to see that they still remember a lot of them. 

During GAM2014, and in the framework of our national contest we took the opportunity to include once again a competition about learning the names and positions of stars and constellations beside others competitions of drawing the night sky and writing essays. We distributed to the pupils a sky map which contains the most remarkable constellations and stars of the northern sky.

Carte du ciel 3

The pupils had been trained using Stellarium software as an introduction to the sky.   They asked about the shapes, characters and figures of constellations, the way stars move in the sky and their names.    

Thanks to this competition, we also made children more interested in the stories, tales and legends of constellations.


Stellarium Kids

In a final “examination“ which will be organized at the end of the contest we will choose the best Stars Friends.   

We think our initiative had been appreciated by the pupils and their teachers and we hope we have contributed to strengthen their fascination with the stars.


HatimHatim Madani is a master graduate in International Business and work in private sector.  He was interested in astronomy since he was a kid. He has been involved in the astronomy field trough amateur astronomers clubs. During IYA 2009, He worked in partnership with the National Commission of UNESCO to launch Aldebaran project (project for creation of schools astronomy clubs in the country)  -  Astronomers Without Borders Coordinator / UNAWE Morocco Coordinator


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