Home Schooling

🔭 WATCHERS OF THE SKIES – April 2022

On the first Saturday of every month we post educational skywatching notes for the homeschool month ahead. Here’s the monthly northern hemisphere night-sky review for April 2022 from the Hubble Space Telescope’s website — it features the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and the Heavenly Lion (Leo):

And here’s another April night-sky review, courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California — it features early morning planets and mysterious multiple stars in the Big Dipper:

One of the easiest astronomical exercises you and your students can do each month is print out your own copy of the current two-page Evening Sky Map and monthly sky calendar available from skymaps.com:

Each map includes a constellation chart for the month as well as a schedule of upcoming astronomical events and an astronomical glossary. Give a copy to your students and ask them to study it and report back to you on three notable things you can watch for this month. (And as they report to you, ask them questions about what they’re telling you.) Do that for a few minutes each month, and before you know it you’ll have a skywatching expert in your homeschool.

The best stargazing nights in April will be toward the beginning and end of the month: the moon was new (and the sky darkest) on the 1st and it will be new again on the 30th. As always, you can look up the moon’s phases in your River Houses almanac and also on the timeanddate.com website. 🌑🌓🌕🌗🌑

April is the middle month of Leo Term, our spring term in the River Houses. Our Great Star for the month of April is Regulus (alpha Leonis), featured in the Hubble video above, and we’ll be writing about it next week. Print your own River Houses Star Calendar and follow along with us through the year as we learn about twelve of the high lights of the northern hemisphere night sky. 🌟

What celestial observations will you and your students be making in your homeschool this April? 😊

❡ All the star-sown sky: Teaching your students to recognize the constellations is one of the simplest and most enduring gifts you can give them. Our recommended backyard star guide and homeschool world atlas both contain charts of the constellations that will help you learn your way around the heavens. Find a dark-sky spot near you this month and spend some quality homeschool time with your students beneath the starry vault. ✨

❡ The starry archipelagoes: For a great weekly astronomical essay, perfect for older homeschoolers, pay a visit to “The Sky This Week” from the U.S. Naval Observatory. These well-written pages, posted each Tuesday, usually focus on one or two special astronomical events or phenomena. If you have high school science students, have them read these pages aloud to you each week, or ask them to study them and narrate a summary back to you. 🌌

❡ Worlds scoop their arcs: Where are the planets right now? Not as we see them in the sky, but rather where are they in their orbits around the sun? Find out at The Planets Today. 🪐

❡ Make friendship with the stars: This is one of our regular Homeschool Astronomy posts. Add your name to our free River Houses mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox every week. 🔭

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And here’s another April night-sky review, courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California — it features early morning planets and mysterious multiple stars in the Big Dipper:

Source: https://riverhouses.org/2022-04-sky/

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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