On the first Saturday of every month we post educational skywatching notes for the homeschool month ahead.
One special event is coming up in a few days, in the early morning hours of Thursday the 10th: a partial solar eclipse! Alas, it will only be visible in the western hemisphere in the northeastern United States and Canada, but thanks to the wonders of the web, you and your students can watch it live from the cozy confines of your home academy. Tune in to the timeanddate.com eclipse page for all the details.
Here’s the monthly northern hemisphere night-sky review for June 2021 from the Hubble Space Telescope’s website — it features the evening constellations of the June including our term-namesake, Hercules:
And here’s another June night-sky review, courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California — it also features this week’s solar eclipse, as well as the rising summer scorpion in the south:
One of the easiest astronomical exercises you and your students can do each month is print out your own free copy of the current two-page Evening Sky Map and monthly sky calendar available from skymaps.com:
- ➢ Evening Sky Maps – Northern Hemisphere Edition (updated monthly)
Each map includes a constellation chart for the month as well as a schedule of upcoming astronomical events and an astronomical glossary. (Monthly maps for the southern hemisphere and the equatorial regions are also available.)
The best stargazing nights in June will be toward the middle of the month: the moon will be new (and the sky darkest) on the 10th (the solar eclipse date, of course). As always, you can look up the moon’s phases in your River Houses almanac and also on the timeanddate.com website. 🌑🌓🌕🌗🌑
June is the first month of Hercules Term, our summer term in the River Houses. Our Great Star for the month of June is brilliant blue-white Spica (alpha Virginis), which we’ll be writing about next week. Print your own River Houses Star Calendar and follow along with us through the year as we learn about twelve of the high lights of the northern hemisphere night sky. 🌟
June is also the month of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere — the astronomical beginning of summer — which falls this year on Sunday the 20th. (In the southern hemisphere the 20th will be the winter solstice — the astronomical beginning of winter.) The summer solstice is the “longest day” of the year: the day with the longest period of daylight and the shortest period of darkness. 🏙🌃🏙
What celestial observations will you and your students be making in your homeschool this June? 😊
❡ All the star-sown sky: 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 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 with your students beneath the starry vault. ✨
❡ The starry archipelagoes: For a great weekly astronomical essay, perfect for older homeschoolers, pay a visit to “The Sky This Week” from the U.S. Naval Observatory. These well-written pages, posted each Tuesday, usually focus on one or two special astronomical events or phenomena. If you have high school science students, have them read these pages aloud to you each week, or ask them to study them and narrate a summary back to you. 🌌
❡ Make friendship with the stars: This is one of our regular Homeschool Astronomy posts. Add your name to our free River Houses mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox every week. 🔭