Archive | Astronomy

Don’t Miss the Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse!

This weekend nearly all of North and South America will be treated to a spectacular sight: a total lunar eclipse.

What makes this one so special is that it will occur when the moon is closest to the Earth, making it appear larger in the sky. That’s why it’s a SUPER moon.

When Will The Lunar Eclipse Occur?

The lunar eclipse starts at 9:36:29 pm EST when the moon passes into the penumbra. There won’t be any visible change in the color of the moon until it starts to pass into the umbra at 10:33:54 pm EST. That’s when the moon passes into the umbra, the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow.

The full eclipse begins at 11:41:17 pm EST and will last for an hour! During the full eclipse, the moon will turn red. That’s why it’s a BLOOD moon.

Time and Date has a full schedule of the lunar eclipse if you want to know the exact time of particular events.

Dances With Wolves

So why is this a Super Blood Wolf moon? Full moons are often given names (like hurricanes, typhoons, and snowstorms). The first full moon of the year is a WOLF moon.

According to the Famers’ Almanac, Native Americans could hear wolves howling during a full moon around the first of the year and the name stuck.

How Can I See the Lunar Eclipse?

All you need to do to observe a lunar eclipse is to walk outside and look up! No special eyewear is needed.

If you have a pair of binoculars try looking at the leading or trailing edge of the Earth’s shadow as it passes across the surface of the moon.

For people living in North or South America, the only thing that would prevent you from seeing the lunar eclipse tomorrow night would be bad weather. If the weather is bad (like it will be here in NY) you can watch the lunar eclipse online. There’s a live stream embedded below.

Other Phenomena

Sometimes animals will act strangely during a total lunar eclipse. Listen to hear how dogs, foxes, and other nocturnal animals react to the eclipse.

There may also be other objects visible in the sky that you wouldn’t normally see during a full moon. Because the brightness of a full moon is reduced during this time, you may see stars or other deep-sky objects that a normal full moon would wash-out.

Astronomical events are great teaching opportunities. It’s also a good reason to let your kids stay up past their bedtime. Take this opportunity to share a special event with your kids and slip in a little learning as well!

If you’re interested in learning more, you can find more information about this lunar eclipse and other astronomical events at TimeAndDate.com.

Fun fact: lunar and solar eclipses come in pairs. The first person to leave a comment below with the date of the first eclipse this year will receive a sticker of the podcast album art.

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Experience Astronomy with Luke Gilkerson – WHS 233

Experience Astronomy - Facebook


Many kids and parents are fascinated by the night sky but don’t know where to start with nightly observations. With Experience Astronomy homeschool parents and students can learn to navigate the heavens and figure out if that bright light is a planet, star, or just an airplane. Continue Reading →

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5 Fun Back-to-School Astronomy Activities – Guest Post by Luke Gilkerson

In my experience as a homeschool dad (and as a parent), most kids don’t relish going back to school in the fall. This is why we try to kick off the school year with special learning opportunities every year—as a friendly reminder to our kids that learning is actually fun.

Milky Way Galaxy
Astronomy is one of those subjects that carries a natural appeal for kids, so before the colder months approach, take advantage of what the sky above is doing. The end of August and beginning of September offers some great opportunities to excite kids about astronomy. Continue Reading →

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5 Mind-Expanding Astronomy Themed Science Project Ideas [Guest Post]

Astronaut Orbiting Earth - Astronomy Themed Science ProjectMost homeschooling parents are no strangers to the need to instill their children with a thorough education in STEM subjects. One of the most exciting aspects of studying science throughout school can be hands-on projects that bring abstract concepts to life.

I personally remember creating a model of the solar system that depicted the relative sizes of the planets, and it is one of my fondest educational memories. Not only did I have the chance to be creative and get my hands dirty with colors, but the project brought the reality of our solar system’s planets to life.

It taught me how small my home planet is, which grew into a larger love of astronomy and a more-involved appreciation of the fragility of our system and universe.

The unknown reaches of the universe are complex and relatively incomprehensible, but these abstract places and ideas fill people with wonder, and the study of astronomy forces us to confront our universe’s mysteries.

Experimentation is an excellent way for children to engage astronomical concepts and realities with concrete visualizations. Fortunately, in this era, we are gifted with a multitude of digital resources that can accompany hands-on projects in order to solidify underlying education objectives.

Ours is a universe of motion, so we should take advantage of our electronic ability to visually represent difficult concepts.

Below are five simple, engaging twists on classic astronomy-themed science projects for homeschooled children of all ages. Each project has a suggested approximate age level, but these are not absolute as they are subject to your child’s unique interest, learning objectives, and ability. Continue Reading →

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Falcon Heavy Launch: A Homeschooler’s Guide and What to Expect

One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can break away from our routine and take advantage of teachable moments. The Falcon Heavy Launch happening today is a great opportunity for homeschoolers to use as a teachable moment.

Falcon Heavy will be launching from a historic launchpad: 39A in Cape Canaveral. This is the same launch pad that sent men to the moon. One day, men and women may go to the moon or Mars from this same location.

Lift-off is scheduled for 3:45 PM, EST and will be streamed online via YouTube for the whole world to see. So what should you expect?

Note: this article was updated to include the new launch time. Launch time may change throughout the day. Continue Reading →

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