I want to make astronomy education (and science education generally) more active-minded. I'd like to make children look more often at the actual sky and think about things that they see there. If and when we teach "fancy stuff" to children, I don't want them to thoughtlessly memorize what we think they ought to know. I want them to understand WHY we believe what we believe, and to see why it makes sense. This is why I chose to call this site "Astronomy for Thinkers".
However, if you want your children to witness interesting or beautiful things in the sky, it can be a chore to keep yourself aware of what sights are currently available and which events are coming up. I made my own Planet Calendars to help me, but there is a little learning curve involved if you want to learn how to read those. There are also a few online resources for sky-watchers that we could consult. I especially like Sky & Telescope's Sky at a Glance feature. It is written by a professional sky-watcher, and is an excellent guide to visually scanning the skies. (Sky & Telescope also has podcasts and articles on a variety of subjects, including how to build your own backyard observatory. It's a great resource for hobbyists and amateur astronomers.) Astronomy Magazine also has an observing page, but it is geared more towards those with fancy telescopes and a need for precise measurements.
Both Sky & Telescope and Astronomy publish weekly observing guides. If you are an amateur astronomer, I don't think I can do better than Sky and Telescope's "Sky at a Glance". But I think I can provide a valuable service to teachers and parents. If you'd appreciate an occasional "heads-up" in your email inbox, written from an educator's point of view, with explanations presented in a first-look-then-think sort of way, then please consider this newsletter. You can browse past issues from the archive in the list below.
The newsletter is free, but if you'd ever like to Buy Me a Coffee, I'd sure appreciate it!
Please note that the newsletter announcements will vary in frequency and content. The opposition of Mars in October gave me the opportunity for a series of posts on the planets, but that was an unusual occurrence. I promise a minimum of one newsletter per month, but there will probably be more than that in most months. The announcements will primarily describe things to study in the sky, but I may also use the venue to announce additions to my website when I make them. (The newsletter content will depend in part on feedback I receive from subscribers, so please feel free to let me know what you think!)
When you subscribe, the "Location" field is optional, but if you let me know your state, country, or nearest city, I'll try to include information relevant to your part of the world as I write future issues.
- February 10The Peaceful Winter Skies & A Stellar Eclipse
- January 22The Winter Hexagon
- January 6A Slow Reshuffling of Planets
- December 29The New Year's Eve Star, and the Quadrantids
- December 17The Conjunction Nears!
- December 10The Sun Stands Still, Stars Fall, and Worlds Collide
- November 28The Andromeda Story
- November 24A Fading Moon and the Autumn Star
- November 14The Evening Solar System, and the Leonids
- November 10Good Mercury Hunting
- October 16Final Note on the Opposition of Mars
- October 10Update on the Opposition of Mars
- October 1That Brilliant Red Star in the Sky Tonight...