On the first Friday of every month we post educational skywatching notes for the homeschool month ahead. Here’s a monthly northern hemisphere review for April, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope’s website:
And here’s another April review, courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
For serious homeschool skywatchers, the weekly updates from Sky & Telescope magazine provide a wealth of additional detail. Here’s the latest one:
The best stargazing nights in April will be toward the beginning of the month — the moon will be new (and the sky darkest) on the 5th (today). As always, you can track the moon’s phases at the excellent timeanddate.com website.
April is the second month of Leo Term, the third of the four three-month terms that make up the River Houses year. Leo the heavenly lion is up in the east every evening at sunset now, and by ten o’clock he’s high overhead. Be sure to have your students find him and his great alpha star, Regulus — about which we’ll have more to say soon.
What celestial observations have you made in your homeschool lately? 😊
❡ Watchers of the skies: Teaching your students to recognize the constellations is one of the simplest and most enduring gifts you can give them. The planisphere on the front of your River Houses star atlas (riverhouses.org/books) will let you dial up the northern hemisphere sky for any night of the year, and the descriptions and maps of each constellation will point out the highlights. Find a dark-sky spot near you this month and spend some quality homeschool time beneath the starry vault. 🌠 🔭 🌌