By Ron Liskey | January 2, 2018
A geocentric and phenomenological approach to naked eye astronomy is emphasized. Constellations are observed, and stories about them from various cultures are told. The ability to place oneself anywhere on our planet and know how the night sky would appear is taught along with the phases of the moon, eclipses, the apparent movement of the stars, and the progression of the seasons.
On overnight field trips we observe how the stars and moon move across the sky. Taking these observations back into the classroom, we develop an understanding of the “great circles”, including the horizon, meridian and equator. Following the movement of the stars, moon and sun, we orient ourselves on the surface of the Earth and among the stars.
Our observations of the sky lead us to an understanding of circumpolar constellations. We develop an understanding of the relationship between the earth and sun and, due to the earth’s tilt, the resulting seasons. Studying the lunar phases, we learn a method to tell time using only the moon’s position in the sky.