The Night Sky

This week’s night sky
(Northern Hemisphere)


“You cannot teach anybody anything. You can only help them discover it within themselves.” ~~ Galileo ~~ (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642)
I love to go outside on a clear night and observe the stars and planets. Last night the incredibly beautiful full moon was so bright that it was hard to see any constellations! I took a walk in the moonlight and thought about how strong the light from our sun is that our moon can reflect enough light for me to see where I am going at 10:00 at night. Awesome! In the 7th grade science curriculum, Oak Meadow students investigate the moon, its phases, and its gravitational pull on Earth. Students also learn to compare the characteristics of the planets in our solar system. The study of astronomy is so fascinating!
Sky viewing is a great time for gathering friends on an evening and doing some star watching. If you know there will be a clear night for star viewing, it’s a great time to HAVE A STAR PARTY!
Send invitations, make “star” snacks, and put lots of blankets on the ground for friends to sit down on for good viewing. It’s fun to have some binoculars, a telescope, or one of the free astronomy apps available. Make sure you have flashlights for looking at books of constellations!
Some towns have astronomy clubs and the people in the clubs are usually very willing to come join in the fun and help answer star gazing questions. The Astronomical Society of Northern New England can be contacted for Star Parties!
“This Week’s Sky at a Glance” at the Sky and Telescope website is really helpful for learning what is visible in your own evening sky. Check it out for the constellation guide covering the whole evening sky. Observing the night sky is such a fun activity on a sparkling clear night!

Summer Viewing!

The night sky in New England, June 30-July 4
from Sky and Telescope
Summer, in New England, is a great time for gathering friends on a warm evening and doing some star viewing. If you know there will be a clear night for star viewing, it’s a great time to HAVE A STAR PARTY! images
Send invitations, make “star” snacks, and put lots of blankets on the ground for friends to sit down on for good viewing. It’s fun to have some binoculars, a telescope, or one of the free astronomy apps available. Make sure you have flashlights for looking at books of constellations! images
Most towns in New England have astronomy clubs and the people in the clubs are usually very willing to come join in the fun and help answer star gazing questions. The Astronomical Society of Northern New England can be contacted for Star Parties!
So if you are thinking of having a party this summer, think about including some star gazing, too!
 
 
 

Astronomy or Astrology?

In my previous post I wrote:
Last week I overheard a boy and girl having a conversation about different planets. They were looking at astronomy books in the library. The boy said, “It’s fun learning new facts about the different planets. I just love astrology.” What do you think? What should the girl reply?”

Thank you to all for your terrific comments!
I was hoping that the girl would say, ” I like learning new facts about the planets, too. I just love Astronomy.”
The two words are often confused by people. In the Oak Meadow science curriculum, you’ve learned that Astronomy is the study of the planets, stars, universes, galaxies, pulsars, and beyond. It’s a branch of physics.
“It does make a certain amount of sense. Astronomy is, strictly speaking, the measurement of the positions of the stars and planets, “ordering the stars,” so to speak. In the old days, interpreting those measurements was called astrology, but nowadays we interpret our measurements, not with numerology and unfounded conjecture, but with physics, and we call it astrophysics” This quote came from Britt Scharringhausen at the website, Ask an Astronomer.
In the the study of astronomy in the Oak Meadow 7th grade science curriculum, there’s an assignment to write a report on a constellation. It’s impressive when a student’s answer is based on the astronomical details and the astrological story of the constellation.
Check out: Curious About Astronomy: What’s the difference between astronomy and astrology?

Curious!

Last week I overheard a boy and girl having a conversation about different planets. They were looking at astronomy books in the library. The boy said, “It’s fun learning new facts about the different planets. I just love astrology.”
What do you think? What should the girl reply? I’m looking for comments! There will be more posted about this in my next post. For now, LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
 

Magic Moon

moon over water

The Moon
by Robert Louis Stevenson

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

In the first and second grades, the Oak Meadow curriculum suggests creating a monthly calendar to observe and understand the rhythmical monthly cycles of the moon. In third grade, the syllabus explores the moon cycle and its effect upon the plants and animals. The fourth grade astronomy block offers a more extensive study of the moon, including a focus on lunar eclipses.
 
bloodredmoon03Next week, a total lunar eclipse will occur in the late evening of April 14th and in the early morning hours of April 15th .  It is known as the blood moon eclipse and will be visible across North America. This blood moon tetrad will reoccur three more times at intervals of six months. The video clip by NASA explains this special event in further detail. Here is another video clip from “The Weather Channel” to further whet your appetite! 

 
Many poets have written inspirational poems about the moon. The famous Robert Louis Stevenson bookStevenson poem, “The Moon”, has even been put into a lovely book format, whimsically illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson.
 
 
 
 
The following poem was written by Olivia Freitas. Perhaps it would be a good one for your children to learn and recite in preparation for viewing this upcoming, extraordinary phenomenon of the magic moon.

Moon

the moon the moon
shining brightly in a pool of water
the moon the moon
glistening so brightly on the ground
the moon the moon
like a white shining marble floating in the sky
the moon the moon
what would we do without the moon

moonspell

^