Homeschool Adventures: Watch the Stars

By Bridget Slack, Bridget Slack Photography October 6, 2020

It's time to enjoy the night sky.

In April, National Geographic published a wonderful article on stargazing and activities for even the unaided eye. Something that can be taken from this article, is that this is an activity that is accessible to everyone and doesn't have to cost you a thing.  Enjoying the night sky can even be done from your backyard or front porch.  

This activity can spin off a lot of very cool discovery: phases of the moon, constellations, and learning of other sometimes visible planets are just a few.  

We really like the app Sky Guide.  It costs just a few dollars for it and it has been fun to point at different places in the sky and find constellations.  

There are lots of cool stories about how constellations got their names. Just a few suggestions currently in the Anne Arundel Public Library:

1) Stargazer's alphabet: Night-Sky Wonders from A to Z by John Farrell

2) Night Sky by Howard Schneider

3) Goodnight, Constellations by Running Press Kids

4) The Kids Book of the Night Sky by Ann Love

5) Backyard Astronomy Experiments by Alix Wood

If we want to observe outside of our neighborhood, where do we even go to see the stars? CBS Baltimore compiled a list of local star gazing points. Included in these places was the Anne Arundel Community College Astronomy Club that meets right in Arnold and the University of Maryland Observatory.  

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, Mars will be the closest in October as well as experiencing a Blue Moon this month.  With the cooler weather, this is a great time to get out and enjoy family time. Check out this Baltimore Sun article detailing what to look for in the sky each month:

Are you worried about light pollution affecting observation?  This link will help you check pollution at different points.  

I can tell you, I love a good thematic learning rabbit hole.  There are so so many sites out there that have fun stargazing activities to continue learning after the event is over. Incorporating cool follow on Star Gazing Activities: There are also many kids podcasts that you can incorporate in the car or during a time you want a moment.  Here is one from BBC:

Another from But Why:

If you need an activity to do with the family, stargazing is a great one!