On the first Friday of every month we post educational skywatching notes for the homeschool month ahead. Here’s the monthly northern hemisphere review for March 2019, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope’s website:
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 March will be toward the beginning of the month — the moon will be new (and the sky darkest) on Wednesday the 6th. As always, you can track the moon’s phases at the excellent timeanddate.com website.
March is the first month of Leo Term in the River Houses, the third of the four terms that make up our homeschool year. Although Orion still dominates the early evening sky, Leo is now rising in the east later in the evening and over the next three months he will be chasing Orion over the horizon to the west.
March is also the month of the spring (vernal) equinox in the northern hemisphere — the astronomical beginning of spring — which falls this year on Wednesday the 20th. (In the southern hemisphere the 20th will be the autumnal equinox — the astronomical beginning of fall.) On the day of the equinox we experience almost exactly twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness.
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. 🌠 🔭 🌌