On Fridays we will be posting regular homeschool notes on the many branches of natural history, and today we’re going to take a look at the night sky for January, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope’s website:
Teaching your students to recognize the constellations is one of the simplest and most enduring gifts you can give them. This month, spend a clear evening outside learning to recognize Taurus, the ancient constellation of the Bull.
The planisphere on the front of your River Houses star atlas (riverhouses.org/books) will show you that Taurus is high overhead in the late evening this month across most of the Northern Hemisphere. The face of the bull is the V-shaped cluster of stars called the Hyades—find them with your students, and find the bright star Aldebaran. Pages 16–17 in your star atlas provide more information about Taurus, one of the most enjoyable constellations to view with both the naked eye and with ordinary binoculars.
¶ Wonderful words: Your comprehensive dictionary (riverhouses.org/books) includes proper nouns within the main alphabetical section of the text, so you can always turn to it for the definitions (and origins!) of wonderful stellar names like Hyades and Aldebaran. And if the constellation is Taurus, what might the adjective taurine mean?