Winter Night Sky

Have you ever noticed that the colder the night is, the clearer the stars are? Winter nights are wonderful for clear stargazing. Two years ago, to make stargazing easier for my young ones, I prepared them by teaching them what to look for while we were inside all snug and warm. We sketched the two dippers and the patterns of stars that make them up. The Big Dipper is one of the most easily recognizable groups of stars in the sky, being circumpolar (never setting below the horizon) and therefore visible in northern skies year-round. (Lesson 224 in Handbook of Nature Study). The sky was clear of clouds, I bundled them up to find them in the night sky and I also tempted them with the promise of hot cocoa once we found them.


They found the two Dippers, and the North Star. Katie also found and showed us Cassiopeia. We will study this constellation (HNS, lesson 225) as well this week and draw this in their nature journals.

Another constellations to look in the winter sky is Orion (HNS, lesson 226).
"Orion is one of the most beautiful constellations in the heavens. It is especially marked by the three stars which form Orion's belt, and the line of stars below the belt which form the sword."-
Handbook of Nature Study page 825



We often look at the moon at night, especially when it is full. Three years ago Katie and Sam spent two hours viewing a lunar eclipse. They would come in to get warm and then go back out again. They were totally awed by it.
"If you can’t fit in some night time star gazing, how about some sunset observations? You could also look for the moon as well as stars and write about it in your nature journal. Being able to name a star or constellation is a great skill but it can be just as satisfying to spend some time contemplating the universe while gazing at the stars." -Handbook of Nature Study blog

Are you looking forward to making some winter memories?

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