When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
One of the first things we noticed when we moved from the suburbs of Indianapolis to rural Missouri was how much darker the skies were. That orange-ish haze that hung over our Indy home hid so many of the stars. Now one of our favorite activities is to set up a campfire and watch the stars pop out one by one. My husband, the Toolman, has had an interest in astronomy for years. He's been a member of an amateur club and I got him a 10 inch Dobsonian telescope for his birthday one year. Schnickelfritz has an interest in the stars (because Daddy does) and can hold his own at finding Venus, Mars, and Jupiter in the skies; locate the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Orion, the great square of Pegasus, and Cassiopeia (which he calls the big "W"). I appreciate looking at the stars as a whole, especially nights when we can make out the Milky Way. I can probably recognize the same constellations as Fritz and I can tell a star from a planet although I may not know which planet it is. So this review of the February edition of the Celestial Almanack should be right up our alley.
The publication is available for download ($3.00) through Currclick.com. The February edition is 19 full color pages (with an additional two pages of sponsor ads). This issue had an introductions which thoroughly explained the Leap Year Day and our calendar system, a chart of February with important events and phases of the moon It is FILLED with large sky charts so make sure your ink cartridges are full before printing.
Toolman: Appreciated the graphics, especially those that gave a perspective as if you weren't standing on the Earth but viewing the solar system from above or at least beyond Earth. He could read through and understand the articles but he admitted it wasn't remedial text. He also thought it important that the author explained in both picture and word that the view of a nebula through binoculars or even an amateur telescope would not allow you to see the vivid and colorful pictures we've been priviledged to get through the Hubble telescope.
Schnickelfritz: The text was over his head but he could look at the sky charts and locate Orion and then find other constellations based on their proximity to Orion. He interest was piqued about the Orion Challenge (learn 35 constellations in a year) in upcoming editions.
Myself: I tried to read through and digest information so I could share it with Schnickelfritz. There is a lot of Astronomy lingo here: declination, right ascension, analemma, etc. I could find explanations for some terms (I had to highlight them so I could refer back quickly when the term came up again). Often the text mentioned that the subject was covered in the January issue or in the Curriculum text or would be covered in future issues--which sort of left me in the lurch for now.
If you really have a passion for Astronomy, you will appreciate the depth of information in the Celestial Almanack. If you just have a passing fancy to know the names of some constellations, this material may overwhelm you. You can view a sample on Currclick. You may also be interested in the Signs & Seasons homeschool curriculum for $39.
You can read what others on the Homeschool Crew think of the Celestial Almanack by clicking here.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the February Celestial Almanack for the purpose of completing this review.