For live links, click to: riverhouses.org/2019-11-sky
On the first Saturday of every month we post educational skywatching notes for the homeschool month ahead. This month, a very special and rare astronomical event will take place on Monday the 11th: a transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun. It should be visible all that morning across most of North and South America (and the next one will not occur for another thirteen years). Here are some advance details that will help you plan your homeschool viewing:
We’ll be posting more about the Mercury transit as the date approaches.
Here’s the regular northern hemisphere night-sky review for November 2019 from the Hubble Space Telescope’s website:
And here’s another November night-sky review, courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California — it features both the Mercury transit and also our Great Star for November, “the Demon Star” Algol:
One of the easiest things 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. (Monthly maps for the southern hemisphere and the equatorial regions are also available.)
The best stargazing nights in November will be toward the beginning and the end of the month: the moon will be full (and the dimmer stars less visible) on the 12th. As always, you can look up the moon’s phases in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books) and also at the excellent timeanddate.com website.
November is the third month of Cygnus Term, the first of the four terms (quarters) that make up the River Houses year. Our Great Star for the month of November is Algol (beta Persei), “the Demon Star,” which we’ll be writing about next week. Print your own River Houses Star Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) 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 month? 😊
❡ And all dishevelled wandering stars: 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 (riverhouses.org/books) 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 beneath the starry vault. 🌌
❡ Watchers of the skies: This is one of our regular Homeschool Astronomy posts. Add your name to our free River Houses mailing list (riverhouses.org/newsletter) and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox every week. 🔭