This Sunday, June 20th, is the summer solstice, the astronomical beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere, and you and your homeschool students can mark this significant annual occasion with a live broadcast of sunset and sunrise from Stonehenge, the ancient astronomical landmark in southern England.
The English Heritage organization, the caretaker of the Stonehenge site, sponsors the live broadcast via YouTube. Check it carefully to confirm your local times. The Stonehenge sunset will take place about 4:30 p.m. Eastern U.S. time on Sunday the 20th (which is about 9:30 p.m. local time at Stonehenge). Sunrise will take place about 11:50 p.m. Eastern U.S. time, also on Sunday the 20th (which will be about 4:50 a.m. on the morning of Monday the 21st at Stonehenge). Notice how short the night-time interval is on this “longest day” of the year: only a little more than seven hours at the high latitude of Stonehenge.
Stonehenge usually draws large crowds of visitors each year for the summer solstice. Last year the site was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this year it is open again, although with some restrictions. We shall see what the local turnout is this year.
What celestial sights and astronomical alignments will you be examining in your homeschool this Hercules Term? 🔭
❡ Star bright: If you’d like some light and easy homeschool astronomy lessons, download and print a copy of our annual River Houses Star Calendar and follow along with us month by month as we make twelve heavenly friends-for-life over the course of the year. 🌟
❡ The starry archipelagoes: For a great weekly astronomical essay, perfect for older students, 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 astronomy students, have them read these pages aloud to you each week, or ask them to study them and then narrate a summary back to you. 🌌
❡ Watchers of the skies: 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. 🔭