The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Celestial Almanack–Classical Astronomy


  • The Classical Astronomy Celestial Almanack a Visual Representation of the sky , February 2012 edition
  • Published by Fourth Day Press
  • 21 pages
  • Written by Jay Ryan  Astron., Cart., B. C. Sch.
  • Celestial Almanack available from CurrClick
  • $3.00 per month PDF download

     Did you know February is one of the best months for star watching? According to our Celestial Almanack the winter sky is  the most beautiful sky of the entire year!  After reading the almanack and then spending time outside observing the sky, I agree. I will say, having the almanack guide me through what I was seeing certainly helped.

     Until I read the Celestial Almanack, I had assumed that any serious study of astronomy needed a telescope. Was I pleasantly surprised to find that Classical Astronomy means finding the stars with your “naked” eye.

     I am totally blown away by this product. From the first page I was hooked. I cannot believe how much information is packed into this almanack. We begin by getting a short lesson on Leap Year and why we have it and how it came to be.  This led into a discussion of how our calendar came to be.

     A very thorough discussion of the Sun and its position during February, plus what stars are in space if we could pierce the daytime sky came next. Words and concepts like analemma, and  declination are clearly defined and taught. I had no idea that the Sun moved in a figure eight pattern. Now, not only do I know this from seeing the well-done chart, but by reading the explanation I understand why.

     The discussion on the night sky begins with an amazing full color chart of where the moon is during the month of February and where you will find various constellations in relation to the moon. Truth be told, the only “constellation” I have ever found has been the Big Dipper. (You can read for yourself why the Big Dipper is not really a constellation, but it has another name.  Buy the Celestial Almanac to find out exactly what it is.)  Sarah and I studied the charts, read the information then took a walk one evening to look at the stars.

     Sarah has been interested in stars for many years now. I remember finding a journal of hers that had almost a years worth of notes, all dated, that chronicled what the stars outside her window looked like each night. She happily pointed out to me some of the stars she knew, and then was super excited to learn the names of stars, different constellations, seeing Orion’s sword and knowing for sure she had found it.

     Scripture and famous quotes were easily and properly woven throughout the Almanack. The almanack is a PDF download, but it has the feel of a traditional Ben Franklin Almanac. The layout is really fun. We are Lutherans and as such follow the Liturgical church calendar. I was pleasantly surprised to see a small discussion on how the traditional church calendar is used to mark the seasons with a note that more will be brought out in future editions. Since this piggybacks on what we talk about at home during our worship time, I am thrilled.


     I couldn’t help but notice as I wrote this review that I used the words amazing, pleasantly surprised, excited many times. I wondered if I had over done it and decided, no, I have not. We have been blown away by the depth of this product. I have only highlighted some of the information contained therein.  Sarah has already announced to me that she wants me to buy this every month. She said it is the first astronomy text she has read that she  1) understood 2) could figure out how to use. She also said she liked reading how certain stars are mentioned in the Bible. She did not realize that.  We are also eagerly awaiting the rest of the year as Jay has said that three very rare event occur in the heavens this year.  Each of these events will be promoted in the Celestial Almanack.

1) the Jupiter-Venus conjunction on March 15 (once every 24 years);
2) the annular solar eclipse on May 20 (once every 18 years); and
3) the transit of Venus on June 5 (last one til 2117!).

     I have agreed to buy this download for Sarah every month. I am amazed (once again) at the price of $3.00 per month.  We are also just ready to start a new science curriculum for her and she has asked to try Signs and Seasons which is written by Jay Ryan, as well. My recommendation is that you try the almanac and see what you think. For the price, you can hardly go wrong. 


     Many of my TOS Crew Mates also reviewed the Celestial Almanack. Visit the Crew Blog to read what fun they had while learning about the stars.

As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received a download of the Celestial Almanack for free  from Jay Ryan, through CurrClick, in exchange for my honest review of their product

1 comment:

Vickie said...

I really enjoyed this product as well. So full of information and I was also pleasantly surprised that we could do the whole review without a telescope. I'd highly recommend this to anyone interested in studying astronomy even just a little bit.

One tidbit of info I found interesting, that February is also the month with the most UFO sightings due to the visibility of Venus and Jupiter.