About Us

Want an unforgettable science experience? Bring Star In A Star to your school, camp, or after school program.

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

This site is created and curated by me, Daniel Cummings. It is for sharing and teaching Physical Astronomy concepts.

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

The Star In A Star Mission

Game pixels and ever-brighter and more detailed phone screens push us and our kids 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 breathe new life into early astronomy education and anchor it in the physical world of objects and places.

The “Aha” moment

We have all had it – that bright instant (Aha!) when “everything changes” and you see things in a completely new way. This is the history of Science and Technology – ideas and processes can be re-invented, renewed, and improved. This is the experience kids 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 for a teacher or a parent or a kid to make those moments repeatable.

Science Every Day

With Star In A Star, kids (and their adults) experience science through original teaching techniques and thought-provoking products. Our products and events spark lasting “aha” moments that fuel a child’s imagination, changing science from “something scientists do” to “something that I can do.”

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

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

The Physical Astronomy Method

I’m Daniel Cummings. I started this blog in December 2016 to share this new and unique way to understand (and teach) Astronomy. The teaching concepts and products that I create are designed to appeal to a wide audience. The articles, images, downloads, and astronomy tools teach about 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.

Astronomy Tools, Astronomy Toys, Astronomy Gifts

In August 2018 I launched a line of my exclusive, custom-made astronomy tools, astronomy toys, and astronomy gifts. Please visit our store to see the Moon Hat, the Star Spot, the Sun Tracker, and the Soft Earth.

All of these tools, toys, and gifts are built for science education – I call it “science intervention.” This is a way of using astronomy to bring scientific thinking to everyday life.

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

Physical Astronomy Events

Daniel Cummings with telescope at a Star PartyIn addition to making objects to teach astronomy for kids, I offer camp and school programming for 1-2 hour daytime events. Also, I can host formal and informal star parties at night, taking groups on constellation “tours” and storytelling.

You can also see me any time of day or night under the Gustafson Planetarium at the Sharpe Reservation Fresh Air Fund Camp in Fishkill, NY where I lead astronomy education sessions for up to 48 people under the historic dome.

Past events include: 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” (also available in the Winter and Spring off-seasons), installation of a 3D immersive sculpture that shows how Orion’s stars are arranged (Orion has an “innie” bellybutton).

I also run workshops and tutorials on how to use the incredible Stellarium (planetarium software), Universe Sandbox (a videogame-like physics simulator), World Wide Telescope, and ESA Sky.

In my local community I’ve 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’ve written and received full funding for a Croton-Harmon Educational Fund (CHEF) grant to purchase 2 large, professional telescopes and astrophotography equipment for the district.

Physical Astronomy Education

I approach Astronomy Education in a unique way designed to engage kids (and their parents). I call it “Physical Astronomy.”

Yes, you will learn the science of Astronomy, but 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 walk 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.

What people are saying

Daniel Cummings moon phase immersiveYou are indeed ‘The Star Man’ bringing stars on a cloudy night. I loved your use of multimedia and thought the planetarium software and storytelling worked well. I learned new things and know everyone learned and enjoyed. Well done! Thank you Dan.”  – Cathy Deutchman, Camp Director Sprout Westchester, Croton, NY

The program was great! Thanks for inviting us. I most enjoyed learning the story behind the constellations.” – Selcuk Eren, Parent

I enjoyed the visual of how the stars rotate around Polaris.” – Lane Shea, Parent

“Wow! What’s that? How do you do that?” – Kids when they see the laser pointer demonstration

Feedback about the Starry Night Orion’s Bellybutton program

“Dan, what a wonderful evening! My son is still talking about Orion. I loved the ingenuity of your 3D viewing station. Excellent!!!” -Rachel Wimpee (parent)

Mom and Daughter inside the Orion's Bellybutton Sculpture“We all really enjoyed Starry night – it was fun and informative!” -Justine DeLeon (parent)

I liked how fun and educational your show was!– Justine’s child

“It was super fun!” -E.N. (15 year old)

“Thanks for another successful Starry Night. I appreciate the thought you put into making it happen, and your passion for your subject matter. I look forward to the next one!” – Cathy Deutchman – Camp Director Sprout Westchester, Croton, NY

Feedback on “Stars Are Alive” Planetarium show for Girl Scout Troop 1234

Inside view of Daniel Cummings presenting Stars are Alive at Gustafson Planetarium at Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill, NY“I liked the constellation storytelling part the most. The outside presentation was great as well!” – Girl Scout Troop 1234 Section Leader

“Both the indoor and outdoor parts of the planetarium show were fun. I loved every moment.” – Girl Scout Troop 1234 Attendee

Feedback on Celestial Navigation and Tool-making program presented at the Shattemuc Yacht Club

Kamal navigation tool shown by Daniel Cummings at Star In A Star Celestial Navigation and tool-making presentation at Shattemuc Yacht Club“Very interesting facts that most people are not aware of. The Stellarium display was pretty cool. Glow in the dark stars were cool, and the laser pointer really brought them out!” – Bill Goldsmith,  Commodore SYC.

“Very nice presentation. More astronomy at the boat club!” – Ida Heyman, SYC Member

“I liked learning about the deviation of the North Star and the usage of the kamal.” – Brian Aspinwall, SYC Member and parent of 2 kid members who also attended.

We are open to any and all opportunities involving teaching and writing about and especially presenting Astronomy concepts in a fresh new way to open minds. Please call or send us a message!

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