About Me

Remember to be curious

Cartoon image of Daniel Cummings from Croton-On-Hudson, NY

This site is created and curated by me, Daniel Cummings. It is for teaching about Physical Astronomy ideas and objects.

Made in Croton-On-Hudson, NY. If you’d like to get in touch, please send a message using the Contact Us link.

Pixels are not real

Game pixels and ever-brighter and more detailed phone screens push us further from “regular life” and away from the real, physical world. Here’s a science teacher’s lament in a recent focus group “Kids don’t know how to just be.” They are lacking the power to be still, and be curious, and observe.

I founded Star In A Star to energize astronomy education by anchoring it in the physical world of people, objects, and places.

That “Aha” moment – get it, savor it.

We have all had it – that bright instant (Aha!) when “everything changes” and you see things in a completely new way. This is the experience we have with great teachers – no matter the subject.

This is why I made Star In A Star – to make these experiences easier to achieve and provide tools to make those moments repeatable.

Do Science Every Day

Star spot foot print stencil sidewalk oriented towards chimney on house. The world's simplest observatory from Star In A Star.
Daniel Cummings pointing at Star Spot footprints stenciled onto the sidewalk outside his home.

With Star In A Star, people experience science through original teaching techniques and thought-provoking objects. Our objects spark lasting “aha” moments that fuel imagination, changing science from “something scientists do” to “something that I do.”

Star In A Star objects create a platform for doing “science every day.”

People use physical objects to discover layer upon layer of science. They make fun, repeatable examinations of the natural world – just like scientists do. Enriching objects and kinesthetic learning foster curiosity, encouraging deep questions about how the universe moves.

Learn Physical Astronomy

I started a blog in December 2016 to share this new and unique way to learn and teach Astronomy. The concepts and objects that I create are designed to appeal to a wide audience. The articles, images, downloads, and astronomy tools teach the sky using physical, thought-provoking approaches.

These unique experiences foster insights into how you locate yourself on the Earth, in the solar system, in the galaxy, and beyond.

Get Astronomy Tools, Science Gifts

In August 2018 I launched a line of exclusive science gifts, custom-made astronomy tools and astronomy gifts. Soon after, the Forbes Magazine science writer called the Moon Hat the “best science gift” and we think you’ll agree!

Please visit our store to see the Moon Hat, the Star Spot, the Sun Tracker, and the Soft Earth.

All of these tools and gifts are built for science education. They are reminders to be curious. Astronomy observations can bring scientific thinking to everyday life.

These cool astronomy gifts and tools are guaranteed “Aha! Generators”™ and you can view and order them today.

Read my Astronomy Background

Daniel Cummings with telescope at a Star Party
Daniel Cummings (circa 2008) at a local Star Party

I have a deep and abiding interest in teaching astronomy concepts in a fun way. Before I launched Star In A Star to create Science Education Objects, I invented and ran astronomy outreach programs in the New York Metro area.

I have run programs at the Gustafson Planetarium at the Sharpe Reservation Fresh Air Fund Camp in Fishkill, NY where I have led astronomy education sessions under the historic dome.

In the past, I led outdoor monthly star parties for school and community members in Croton-On-Hudson, NY, Cub Scout and Boy Scout “scale model walks”, overnight star viewing events, indoor and outdoor Summer Camp programming like the “Moondance” and “Starry Night North Star Storytelling”, installation of a 3D immersive sculpture that shows how Orion’s stars are arranged (Orion has an “innie” bellybutton).

I have also run workshops and tutorials on how to use the incredible Stellarium (planetarium software).

In my local community I worked with other STEM educators and the school district to create and brand a new type of Science Fair called “Experience Science.” As well, I wrote and received full funding for a Croton-Harmon Educational Fund (CHEF) grant to purchase 2 large, professional telescopes and astrophotography equipment for the district.

Why I make Physical Astronomy Objects

I approach Astronomy Education in a unique way designed to engage. I call it “Physical Astronomy.” Every product here is born from this core idea.

Yes, you will learn the science of Astronomy, but by using these objects and ideas you will also begin to understand it comprehensively with your body. And where the body understands, the mind follows.

Learn about space and to feel how you fit in it.

Learn ways to begin to know your position on Earth and feel it moving.

You will learn how to conjure a feeling of standing on a globe that is traveling widely and yearly through space, in orbit, around a star.

You will learn to use the moon to orient yourself to the sun.

You will travel around constellations and see the stars in 3D.

You will be able to “see” the Milky Way even when it is behind the Sun.

You will finally really understand what a Light Year is.

Please call or send a message!

Star in a Star
Daniel Cummings
Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520
+1 (914) 266-0033