Practical astronomy is usually taught using optical telescopes or, more rarely, radio telescopes. For a similar cost, complementary studies may be made of astrophysical particles through the use of a modestly sized muon detector. Such a detector records the arrival of cosmic ray particles that have traversed the heliosphere and the rate of muon detections reflects the flux of those particles. That flux is controlled by the day to day properties of the heliosphere which is in a state of constant change as the outflowing solar wind is affected by solar activity. As a consequence, a laboratory muon detector, whose count rate depends on the state of the heliosphere, can be an interesting and useful teaching tool that is complementary to optical or radio studies of the Sun.