observing the night sky essay

Skies haven't changed too much since the beginning of recorded time, he added. Weigel explained that where you are in the world can affect the constellations you see at night.

I started out in this thing a LONG time ago, and all I wanted to do was learn the constellations. What do you think is the best way to learn the night sky? here. Try to identify what you see by referring to your reference. constellations. our galaxy - the It took some time yes, but after a bit I knew the night sky better than my buddy who had been into astronomy for decades and had even made his own Dobsonian scope while I just had my binoculars. southern hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand, South I absolutely love the naked eye night sky.

I just recently savored my way through John Barentine's two books, "The Lost Constellations" and "Uncharted Constellations." If you travel downward toward the equator, you'll be able to see more of the sky from the Southern Hemisphere's perspective, while also losing more of what you'd normally see in the Northern Hemisphere.

Yes Delphinus and Equuleus, I'm talking to you.

"Throughout the course of 24 hours, as the Earth rotates completely on its axis, we can see the entirety of the sky that is visible from our latitude.". It is also important to I brought the photo into a picture editor and added the constellation lines I was familiar with - but then realized I could use a program like Stellarium to find ones I wasn't. Knowing those 20 or so bright stars gave me perspective on the sky. I started with a phone app and learning the bright stars by name.

It's that simple. Of course, there are more reasons why my experiences observing stars were so varied. I have divided the

Very good advice for learning the night sky in this thread. northern hemisphere (United States, Canada,

I immediately pointed to them with my green laser pointer, and they asked me, "how do you know those are planets?"

star chart Not quite how I thought it would be, but i will remember it forever. our galaxy that is Once I did this, I found it far easier to remember where they were because, presumably, it engaged both halves of my brain rather than just rote memorization.

northern and In 2013, I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Have a look at the attachment to see what I mean.

Weigel said that light pollution competes with starlight, which travels long distances in order to get to Earth. DSLR, Mirrorless & General-Purpose Digital Camera DSO Imaging, Community Forum Software by IP.BoardLicensed to: Cloudy Nights.

stars are actually in a variety of Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. A beginner’s take on the 80mm ED refractor versus the 150mm Mak. For more information on the

southern hemispheres: For I used my 1956 "Star Explorer" which I got new, and Menzel's "Field Guide." There are now many more tools for amateur astronomers than there were when I was growing up in the 1990s. I have good charts and planetarium apps.

They stay and rotate as the year passes. Don't try to bite off too big a chunk to learn. the Problem for the OP is that I don't think it works for the southern hemisphere. Since the sun only shines for about half the day, you lose sight of constellations blocked by sunlight. What I found worked for me was picking a major, familiar constellation and working my way out from there. In recent years I've been having a good time chasing down some of the obsolete, "failed" constellations. Once you've found one, you can use that one to find the next, and on and on. Learning the Night Sky - posted in General Observing and Astronomy: I would like to have a better grasp of the night sky and the constellations. You learn things by using them, and star-hopping is all about using the constellations as stepping stones to other goals.

At a young age, I learned that living in Los Angeles County also meant that I'd have a limited view of the skies. It’s more about the joy of observing than a guidebook. This is because elevation can have an impact on the number of stars you see. Each night that you're able to get out, review what you've learned previously and then add a little bit of new info. understand that I knew the constellations in the north (i'm from northwest England) and I moved to New Zealand in 2011.

See my sig, San Pedro de Atacama, located near the Bolivian border in Chile, is a small desert town approximately 7,900 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level. If I couldn't name it, I knew I had some more work to do. Every clear evening, try and spot the first bright star you expect. are no specific arrangements to the constellations. the location of the northern hemisphere The top 2 stars in the Dipper point, sort of left to right, to Auriga. can be difficult to differentiate what can and

The size of the spectrum is so large that there are no obvious areas and some areas overlap each other. Binoculars: Seperate Mizar+Alcor, try clusters in Auriga. GLP is so you can draw the lines across the sky - very useful. I started with the "circumpolar" stars, those which never set from your location. Los Angeles, the city where I grew up, is full of things that can hinder stargazing. This pair of books give a nice description of these things, sometimes with more historical background information than you'll probably need, and he shows each example projected on a clear, modern, constellation chart, which is MUCH clearer than any examples I've found online. I've included a sample here to show you what I mean. Light pollution can also affect stargazing, but so can smog, elevation, and even weather or storm patterns, such as the tornadoes and thunderstorms that frequently create obstacles in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center's hometown, Huntsville. To sum up: I have been learning the night sky for 55 years and I am still learning. For the computer software

In essence, not only is Earth orbiting around the sun on a designated plane, it is doing so while being inclined. Learn a new constellation everyday? The program just gave some structure to what I wanted to learn. "The most important thing to know about light pollution is that it is completely unnecessary." This is a place where the ultra widefield constellation binoculars such as the homemade 2x54's shine. all of the

southern Ingrid Cruz is a freelance writer and independent filmmaker. There are a number of good ideas mentioned above and I have a couple to add for consideration. Not south of the equator though... We have sigma Octans, a 5th mag star.

And you don't have to go all the way to Atacama or Uyuni to find such spots. The sky will keep adding new real estate to the east and taking away old friends to the west. Be aware the position of stars and constellations shifts over the year, Sketch crude maps of the sky showing where things are; it’s a very good memory tool, A planisphere is fun to use (does not show planets) or try the free planetarium software Stellarium (it shows planets), Be award of the scale of the sky and how far apart things are (prepare for some memorable “ah-ha!” moments). Along the way, the bus had a mechanical failure in the middle of nowhere in Arizona.

I got a much nicer view of all the stars at a darker place near Porto Seguro - it was at Easter 20 years ago in fact! The pointers point "up" tp Polaris which is also Ursa Minor. From wherever you are in Brazil, "Polaris" means nothing to you eh?

Be aware of planets; in time you’ll know if you’re looking at a planet or star, and even know which planet it is. 365 STARRY NIGHTS by Chet Raymo (Simon & Schuster, $16) contains a half-page mini-essay and diagram for each day of the year. Once you've got a handle on the modern "canonical" constellations, you can dip into all sorts of asterisms, constellations from other cultures, and obsolete constellations. "Constellations are our two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional sky. Plus, because the Earth is orbiting the sun, you can see different parts of the sky depending on the time of year. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. 88 constellations.

I started with the current vernal equinox constellation - Pisces (at least until the dawning of the age of Aquarius...). The most distant I have had similar goal (and I am still working on it!) That matches the skyglow on a moonless night at my home near the center of Boston, Massachusetts. sphere, I chose San Francisco, California. This annoying inconvenience actually gave me my first-ever view of a giant swath of stars, because there were no city lights around to spoil the view.

characters like Pegasus, Andromeda, and Orion for It's funny, some years after I had memorized the stars, at an outreach, someone asked me what planets were up. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, 10 arrested in Portland, 50 in NY on election night, Restaurants and bars owned by celebrities. I can tell you, it is very enjoyable to stand under a starry sky and know what you are seeing.

I think I picked up at least some knowledge about those constellations by doing that. Natural light sources in a night sky include moonlight, starlight, and airglow, depending on location and timing.

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It takes time to learn, and I think that is the beauty of a visual observer.

It's the driest place on Earth; rarely will you see a cloud there.

Once you've found one, you can use that one to find the next, and on and on. +1 on the Planesphere and a book like S&T's Pocket Sky Atlas or a wall poster sized star map. Remember that most star charts use the convention of ALL CAPS for CONSTELLATION NAMES and Upper- and Lower-Case letters for Star Names. Then grab willing parents, or friends, etc and pontificate away about as many parts of the sky as they can stand. +1 for what tchandler said.

sky, various groupings of

These constellations make up mythic Earth.

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