We’re Starry Eyed in the Maker Shed!

Energy & Sustainability Science
We’re Starry Eyed in the Maker Shed!


We’re pretty grounded folks here in the Maker Shed, but every so often we find our heads in the clouds dreaming of potential kits and projects.  With DIY Space Week upon us, we thought it would be prudent to share some of our favorite space-related goods and why we love them. Our space wares range from the super-technical to items of whimsy, so there’s something for everyone.


We recently acquired some awesome spectrometry tools from Public Labs, a non-profit community of environmental scientists.  Spectrometers split up the many different colors that light is composed of and help you identify the various wavelengths, and are commonly used in astronomy. We have two different kits, the first being a Foldable Mini-Spectrometer that attaches to the camera on your phone to create a simple, but powerful experimental tool. The second is a more complex Desktop Spectrometry Kit, which is assembled in a half an hour and then you can be off to collect spectra. The non-profit also has free software (SpectralWorkbench) and a community to share your results with!

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If you’re looking for some out of this world content, we have tons of titles to choose from regarding space. In particular MAKE Volume 24 orbited around space relations, and is chock-full of projects like a homemade Yagi antenna to to tune yourself into satellite-speak, a DIY ion engine, and backyard astrophotography. Projects aside, the night sky is simply breathtaking, but what are you really looking at? The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders is a perfect (and gorgeous) starting point for someone interested in not just constellations, but star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies as well. 

Serious about space discovery? We have tiered content for whatever level of astronomy know-how you are currently at. DIY Instruments for Amateur Space is for one who’s just dipping their toes into the niche, with information about what you can measure with sensors and as well as the five essential design limits: power, bandwidth, resolution, computing, and legal limitations. DIY Satellite Platforms is for when you are ready to launch your own device into the ether– it’s the first in a line of four titles, and the starter book gives great information about components and sourcing, learning about launch options, and creating a timeline.  The second in the series is Surviving Orbit the DIY Way, which prepares your satellite for launch, testing readiness for rocket thrusts and also giving overview of what space is like and how orbits work. Sandy Atunes, the author of these texts, recently wrote a post with some more great pointers. 

Real Star Planetarium

To bring the wonder of the skies into your home, check out the Real Star Planetarium Kit. This neat DIY contraption is from our Japanese friends at Gakken, who provide us with an awesome line of products.  This rotating pinhole planetarium projects the night sky onto your walls– see if you can spot the Southern Cross!

If space isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry.  We have plenty of other diverting kits in the Maker Shed, stop on by and see if there’s something for you!

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Natalie is a Jill-of-Many-Trades in the Maker Shed, and enjoys dabbling in a wide variety of activities outside of MAKE as well. She frequently finds herself lost in the woods, botching recipes, scaling rocks, and getting her hands dirty making whatever strikes her fancy.

View more articles by Natalie Wiersma


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