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Signs & Seasons

Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy

(Click for larger image)

 

 

 

An astronomy resource for studying the starry sky

Signs & Seasons is an introductory course in the traditional, time-honored techniques of observing the sky.

Most popular astronomy introductions are "armchair" books that feature pictures and factoids about the planets in the solar system, and other exotic objects in outer space, as learned from space probes and professional observatories.

In contrast, the practical goal of Signs & Seasons is to help the reader become an outdoor observer of the sky, and to understand the beneficial foundation for timekeeping and navigation, according to the cycles of the Sun, Moon and stars. This is how the night sky was understood for centuries by farmers and sailors and was the standard information found in the traditional American almanacks.

Signs & Seasons will help you to follow the signs that denote the passage of the seasons, to discover how to find the planets in the night sky, and to learn the astronomical basis for the our calendar, including the Hebrew calendar, as described in the Bible.

 

A Telescope is not required!

 

Though primarily intended as a homeschool curriculum, Signs & Seasons has gained a popular following with adult readers, who wish to discover the glory of God found in the starry sky, and to learn the practical principles of natural timekeeping and navigation, without relying on modern technology.

 

READERSHIP FOR SIGNS & SEASONS

 

For more info, read the Detailed Description below!


Price: $39.00
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 280
Dimensions: 8.5" x 11" x 1"
ISBN: 0979221102
ISBN-13: 9780979221101

Order direct from Fourth Day Press!

Homeschool Co-op or other Group?

Please contact us about bulk ordering!

(Please Note -- all domestic orders are shipped via USPS media mail.
For expedited delivery, please order through one of our distributors.)

(USA Only!)
(For International Orders, please order through one of our distributors.)

Return Policy


 

Detailed Description

Astronomy is the most ancient science. Throughout all history, people have told time and found direction from the Sun, Moon and stars. This is the purpose for which the LORD created the celestial bodies - for signs and seasons, and days and years (Genesis 1:14).

Signs & Seasons is an evolution-free astronomy curriculum that teaches the traditional, historical basis for timekeeping and navigation, as understood throughout history, and also as described in the Bible.

Topics include:

  • The Phases of the Moon and the Passage of the Seasons;
  • Finding the Traditional Constellations and identifying the Visible Planets;
  • How our Calendar is based on the Sun and Moon;
  • How the times of Passover and Easter are derived from their cycles.

In particular, Signs & Seasons explains the basic units of timekeeping, the Day, the Month and the Year, and how these are found from the cycles of the Sun and Moon. Signs & Seasons points out the signs of the passing seasons, and how these are found from annual variations in the positions of the Sun and stars.

Signs & Seasons also demonstrates how the points on the compass, North, South, East and West, are found from their relationships to the celestial bodies.

Specifically, Signs & Seasons accomplishes the above by introducing the reader to the spherical appearance of the sky, and explains the usefulness of celestial circles that are envisioned across the sphere of the sky, including the horizon, the meridian, the equator and the ecliptic.

Signs & Seasons is lavishly illustrated, with over 400 images that depict the appearances of the night sky, to prepare you for what you can see outside on any clear night, at home or anywhere you might travel.

Learn astronomy through the quoted words of Scripture and many authors - ancient, medieval, and modern, Christian and secular alike - from Aristotle and Cicero, Augustine and Basil the Great, Martin Luther and John Calvin, to Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci.

Importantly, Signs & Seasons sets the record straight about supposed “pagan influences” in astronomy, and offers challenging explanations that distinguish the legitimate science of astronomy from the ancient superstition of astrology.

Signs & Seasons also includes 40 pages of Field Activities. These activities accompany each chapter to enable the student of the sky to make systematic observations of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets. These field activities will assist in creating a field journal that enable a high school student to establish work hours toward high school credit. These activities can also be used by younger students under parental supervision.

Signs & Seasons also includes an extensive Glossary, a Biographia of Quoted Authors, and Astronomical Tables to assist the reader in finding the constellations and planets. Read Signs & Seasons and rediscover your forgotten astronomical heritage!

(Recommended ages - 13 and up but usable by all ages. Please read the FAQs.)

For more information about Signs & Seasons, please take a look at the Table of Contents. Also, you can download some Sample Pages for a detailed look of the style and format of Signs & Seasons, including illustrations. Also available is a larger Cover Image, all of which are in PDF format.

 

A Telescope is not required!
The Signs & Seasons course covers historical, pre-telescopic astronomy!

 

Be sure to read the FAQs or send us an email if you have any additional questions.

Check out the animated preview for Signs & Seasons!

Signs & Seasons has received endorsements from several homeschool magazines, online reviewers, satisfied homeschool families and fellow authors.

 

Make this the year that your family studies astronomy!

Signs & Seasons, 280 pages, list price $39.00 from Fourth Day Press.

 

Order direct from Fourth Day Press!

Order the Signs & Seasons Field Journal and Test Manual

Please use the Mail Order Form to pay by Check or Money Order.

 

Homeschool Co-op or other Group?

Please contact us about bulk ordering!

(Please Note -- all domestic orders are shipped via USPS media mail.
For expedited delivery, please order through one of our distributors.)

(USA Only!)
(For International Orders, please order through one of our distributors.)

Return Policy


 

READERSHIP FOR SIGNS & SEASONS

 

Homeschool Students and Families

As explained above, Signs & Seasons was originally created as a homeschool curriculum, though it has garnered an adult readership as a popular introduction to visual astronomy. Our philosophy is that the lessons in a science or nature curriculum should not consist solely of reading a book, and then closing it with a sense of having obtained a complete lesson. Such an approach is not a useful method to understanding God's creation or scientific methodology.

Rather, a meaningful lesson in science and nature is only obtained by direct observation and interaction with the natural world. Thus, it must be understood that the essence of Signs & Seasons is the outdoor Field Activities, shown in the Appendix and in the Field Journal workbook. Families who have not diligently performed outdoor observations have struggled and have not been satisfied with the course. Conversely, families who have conducted regular observations have reported satisfying and rewarding experiences through the Signs & Seasons course.

 

Amateur Astronomers and Planetarians

The author is an amateur astronomer, a telescope maker, and a friend of planetarium directors. Signs & Seasons originally grew out of his involvement in amateur astronomy. Upon researching this project, the author read many primary sources of astronomy, and discovered that the techniques of spherical astronomy are very ancient, and that the horizon, meridian, equator and ecliptic were known to the Greeks centuries before Christ. These ancient traditions were practiced down through all history, and were preserved in the almanacks used by farmers and sailors up through the 19th century.

These techniques are mostly forgotten in the general population today. Amateur astronomers and planetarians are the primary individuals keeping these traditions alive in the 21st century. Amateur astronomers use the techniques of spherical (i.e., classical) astronomy to point their telescopes, and Classical Astronomy is the entire basis of a standard planetarium program.

Since Classical Astronomy is so poorly understood today, a steep and difficult learning curve awaits the novice amateur astronomer or planetarian. Signs & Seasons is specifically designed to present the principles of Classical Astronomy in a methodical fashion, building concepts from familiar basics, in increasing complexity. In this manner, a straightforward approach is presented to becoming an outdoor visual observer of the sky, rather than the random, haphazard learning experience typical of astro-newbies. For this reason, Signs & Seasons has been popular with amateur astronomers.

With its Biblical foundation, Signs & Seasons is welcome and appreciated by Christian amateur astronomers. However, this course is also potentially useful to those in the mainstream who do not share the Christian faith. Some in secular astronomy have objected to the Biblical emphasis of Signs & Seasons. However, the astronomical tradition passed through centuries of Christendom, and this is abundantly reflected in the literature quoted in Signs & Seasons. An atheistic presumption is a relatively recent development in the history of astronomy, measured only in short, recent decades. Thus, Signs & Seasons can help open-minded non-Christians appreciate aspects of the western astronomical tradition that are neglected in the current generation.

 

Navigators, including Boaters and Pilots

For centuries, navigators relied on the stars to guide their ships across the oceans of the world. Navigational works such as the Nautical Almanac and American Practical Navigator (Bowditch) have been mainstays aboard ship for centuries. The celestial techniques for finding longitude and latitude have long been used by others, including cartographers and surveyors. While most navigation today is done with electronic instruments, such technology is known to fail. A prepared navigator should at least understand the elements of finding direction from the stars, in the event of an instrument failure.

Like most landlubbers, many sailors today are unfamiliar with the constellations, and are unequipped to find direction from the sky. Signs & Seasons can help. This course is only an introduction to the elements of visual astronomy, and does not teach detailed lessons in celestial navigation. But it can be an excellent starting point for the interested novice.

If nothing else, the starry sky is dazzling out on the water (and above it), far away from the city lights. Signs & Seasons can help boaters and pilots appreciate the glory that is declared by the heavens above, to enhance the experience of themselves and their passengers.

 

Hunters, Fishermen, and Outdoorsmen

Those who enjoy the outdoors are often outside at night under a pristine dark sky. The hunters of years gone by understood how to tell time and find their direction just by looking at the sky. The Sun, Moon and stars are still overhead today, just as they were in the old days. It's still possible to measure accurate time by the Big Dipper and the other stars at night, and by the motion of the Sun by day. Signs & Seasons can help you rediscover these ancient techniques, just as our forefathers had done in a bygone era.

 

Survivalism/Preparedness

You've taken care to prepare yourself and your family for a grid failure. When the lights go out, you're ready. But have you thought how you will set your watch? And if things are really bad for a long time, how will you measure the passage of longer periods time, like weeks and months? Are you familiar with the traditional methods of marking the passage of weeks, months and seasons, from observing the Sun, Moon and stars? This information will be very important for reestablishing agriculture in a post-energy world, and those who understand these techniques will have an advantage over those who do not. Signs & Seasons can help you gain this advantage and get you started with learning timekeeping and navigation from the sky.

 

Homesteaders

You're keeping chickens and canning your own jelly, just like the pioneers who tamed this continent. Your family is reviving all manner of forgotten customs which were once commonplace in American life. So what about the traditional methods of timekeeping? A properly designed and aligned sundial can tell time accurate to within ten minutes, which is close enough for most purposes. Who cares what exact minute it is anyway? The Moon can help you count the days and the weeks, and the shifting constellations can measure the passage of seasons. Signs & Seasons can help you reconnect with the original homesteaders by learning how they told time.

 

Youth Camps

Many Christian camps are located in remote rural locations, far from the bright lights of the city. The night skies at these camps are very dark and starry. Some kids have never seen such a dark sky in their lives. And they might not see one again for a long time. A night sky astronomy program can be a wonderful addition to a youth camp, and can help these kids learn even more about the wonderful things the LORD has placed over our heads in the sky above. Signs & Seasons can help you learn your way around the night sky.

 

Nature Enthusiasts

Many people simply want to learn more about the LORD's creation, and to understand the beauty and wonder. However, in our generation, the sky is Terra Incognita. Most people, including Christians, have no idea what's going on overhead. Signs & Seasons can get you started toward understanding the amazing celestial order established in the sky.

 

 

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