TONIGHT THE SKY HAS A SHOW FOR US
The Super Blood Wolf Moon Tonight!
by Stacey Susinno, Director of ESSK
Winter. Everyone wants to hunker down and stay wrapped up in blankets. Your kids eyes are glazed over watching Netflix or tapped out from studying for exams; probably a mixture of both. When was the last time they were outside for fun? Felt the cold on their face? I have the perfect lure. The sky.
Almost every child I’ve ever met (and adult) are fascinated with the night sky. This is something that has not changed through human history. Back before Netflix and YouTube, it was a common pastime to stargaze. Some people who weren’t even astronomers made great discoveries. What better way to enchant your child to spend some time with you in the outdoors? When my kids were little, during the Geminids meteor shower, we had a tradition. We would get our sleeping bags and hot cocoa and candy canes, wake up early on a Saturday morning and camp out on the front yard to look for shooting stars. It was about one hour a year yet, is something they remember still.
Tonight the sky has a show for us. This evening there is a Super Blood Wolf Moon. Even though it sounds like a scary movie from the 1950s each of the title descriptors has a meaning. Super, because our moon will be at Perigee on January 19th. This means that the moon is at its closest point to us on its slightly elliptical orbit around Earth. It actually looks a little bit bigger. On February 19th we will have the “superist” moon of the year! A great enrichment idea would be to help your child measure the moon either tracing its diameter while holding up a piece of paper, or even with using the iPhone’s new measurement tool. If you aren’t sure how to do that click here. Then have them measure the moon at apogee (the furthest point in orbit when it looks a tiny bit smaller) and make a comparison. Can you see the size difference? Click here for an apogee and perigee calendar.
Each month’s full moon has a name. The first full moon of the month is called the Wolf Moon. It might be a fun project to help your child illustrate each month’s full moon. Click here to find a list of the names and descriptions.
The Blood Moon is really the most exciting part of this Sunday’s event. In New York a lunar eclipse will occur from 9:36pm-12:31am. The next total lunar eclipse won’t happen until May 26, 2021. Grab your children, some cocoa and some sleeping bags. It’s a holiday weekend so it’s ok if you stay up late. If the weather is not cooperating, many YouTube channels will be streaming the eclipse. This event can have many enrichment opportunities. Click here to watch the video and learn about how a lunar eclipse happens. Run to the dollar store and grab some styrofoam balls or have your child find a flashlight, soccer ball, tennis ball and bouncy ball. Have your child model how the Earth’s shadow falls on the moon during a lunar eclipse. This is also something that can easily be a paper craft. Modeling is at the crux of the new Science Standards which will be rolling out in the next few years. Younger children love drawing the face on the moon. You can have them try taking their picture through a toilet paper roll to make it look like they are the man in the moon. Click here to see some funny examples. Have a moon themed party! Oreos make a perfect tool for sculpting out moon phases. Have moon pies and do moon crafts. Moon over the moon!
Remember – your children are collecting data about the world around them every day whether they realize it or not. Why not give them an experience they will remember because they shared it with you? The brain remembers better when it makes many connections. Experiential learning like this gives your child something to connect to when they learn the topics in school. You are building the bridges at home. Watch how many more questions they ask once you start with activities like these. Quench their wonder.
Moon picture credit: Daniel Guzman
Park Shore News
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