On the first Saturday of every month we post educational skywatching notes for the homeschool month ahead. Here’s the monthly northern hemisphere night-sky review for November 2021 from the Hubble Space Telescope’s website — it features November constellations and galaxies:
And here’s another November night-sky review, courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California — it features the magnificent evening planetary show that we’re being treated to this month, as well as the approaching constellations of the coming winter:
As the JPL video notes, there will be a partial lunar eclipse on the night of 18–19 November, visible across all of North America. It’s a partial eclipse, not total, and in most U.S. locations the maximum will be in the early morning hours, but if you have dedicated skywatchers in your homeschool it will definitely be worth going out for a look. You can find all the details at the timeanddate.com website.
One of the easiest astronomical exercises 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:
- ➢ 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. Give a copy to your students and ask them to study it and report back to you on three notable things you can watch for this month. (And as they report to you, ask them questions about what they’re telling you.) Do that for a few minutes each month, and before you know it you’ll have a skywatching expert in your homeschool.
Don’t forget that Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November (tomorrow!) in most U.S. jurisdictions, when you should set your clocks back one hour to 1:00 a.m. 🕑 ↺ 🕐
The best stargazing nights in November will be toward the beginning and end of the month: the moon was new (and the sky darkest) on the 4th, and it will be new again on December 4th. As always, you can look up the moon’s phases in your River Houses almanac and also on the timeanddate.com website. 🌑🌓🌕🌗🌑
November is the third month of Cygnus Term, our fall term in the River Houses. 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 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 November? 😊
❡ 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. 🌌
❡ Worlds scoop their arcs: Where are the planets right now? Not as we see them in the sky, but rather where are they in their orbits around the sun? Find out at The Planets Today. 🪐
❡ 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. 🔭