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The Rover

Astronomy - Planets , Stars & Heavenly Bodies

62 posts in this topic

Tonight's Features . . . . (Saturday, July 5th)

Mars and Saturn are dancing close together for the next several nights. Look for them low in the west at nightfall. Tonight, they are to the upper left of the crescent Moon, with the star Regulus lining up between the Moon and the two planets.

http://stardate.org/nightsky/almanac/

I have a pair of 7x50 Binolulars, and a 4 1/2" Reflector.

I'm just an amatuer. I live in the city, so, there is no deep sky, nightime watching from my backyard.

Mostly the Moon, and the Constellation of Orion, and some of the planets: Jupiter, Venus & Mars, and sometimes Saturn.

Astronomy Clubs and socities can give you good oppourtunites to view the night sky with others' equipment, in the city, and at remote locations outside the city.

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I tell you what, if you live in Australia, Jupiter is quite spectacular at the moment, close orbital path to earth, with a decent telescope you can see several of its Moons lined up in a row, and also some colour bands on Jupiter from the gas clouds. Look for it rising in the east in the night sky, at about midnight, Jupiter should be directly above your head, you can't miss it...

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Living out in the country like we do, you can see A LOT with the naked eye and a decent pair of binoculars. In the winter, you can see Orion's Nebula fairly well with the naked eye (much better with binoculars) and my favorite cluster of stars, the Pleiades.

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I've been down in the Lake Of The Ozarks in southern MO for the last 6 weeks and I can't believe how three dimensional the moon looked two weeks ago. even the guy next us who was a astrologer before he retired said that he has never seen the moon so vivid and up close with just the naked eye. talk about a moment. :o

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Sadly in London it is case of light pollution.

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On the Big Island of Hawaii, I experienced the darkest skies ever, in my lifetime.....

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I love star, moon, planet gazing. The best has been in New Mexico, and Arizona. I always saw sooo many shooting stars there.

At spaceweather.com they also have a link to some gorgeous auroras and ice crystals.

Pure Mother Nature beauty. :)

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FYI..

stargazing is awesome from The Four Winds Bar. B)

*http://youtube.com/watch?v=m2N-iEXGDQI*

:beer:

For celestial happenings (visible from the northern hemisphere) each month,

be sure to visit Astronomy.com's *The Sky This Month* web page.

July 2008: The solar system's largest planet reaches opposition this month: Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, reaches opposition this month, which means the giant world is at its best and brightest all night. Mars chases Saturn above the western horizon in early evening, and the pair enjoys a fine conjunction mid-month. Then, around midnight, the "binocular planets" rise.. first Neptune, then, an hour later, Uranus. If your observing stamina lasts through the night early this month, watch for Mercury greeting you in the predawn twilight.

:hippy:

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On the Big Island of Hawaii, I experienced the darkest skies ever, in my lifetime.....

Driving near Marfa, Texas one night I got out to take a leak and I could not believe the stars that were as bright on every horizon as at the zenith. Amazing!!! :o

I want one of those Celestron 'kids' telescopes. :) Where I'm at now you don't have to drive far to get out in the dark.

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:beer: I have a Tasko Starbright - wasted at the moment I'm afraid, as it's packed away, and will be set up again when I buy the new place later on this year.

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I just sent for the Celestron 'Explorascope'. Got it for $35 + $6 to ship. It's supposed to be a 'kids' scope but has gotten a lot of good reviews from adult kids. B)

21030_explorascope80_mid.gif

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December night sky: deep winter darkness is best for stargazing

Some of the year’s best observing can be found under the dark skies and early nights of December, a month marked this year by a series of conjunctions and the return of Saturn to full prominence. Any clear night brings a chance to glimpse the winter sky, but look particularly for those days when the sky is a dark, deep blue. This is a sign of good “seeing”, the steady, haze-free atmosphere that astronomers crave.

The first, and most spectacular, of the conjunctions takes place the evening of Monday, December 1, 2008, when the Moon, Jupiter and Venus put on a celestial show. The Moon will be a crescent low down in the south west, with Jupiter just two degrees above it. The real action starts, though, at 15.46 (in London; allow ten minutes either way elsewhere in the country) when Venus slips behind the Moon.

The event therefore starts just before sunset, but the Moon should be obvious and Venus a naked-eye object just off the Moon’s dark limb. Jupiter, at magnitude -1.8 compared with Venus’s -4.0 (as with golf handicaps, the brightest stars have the lowest numbers), will be harder to see, but should still be visible in binoculars. If you do use an optical aid, be very careful to keep the Sun out of the field of view; even the weak December sun is very dangerous.

The occultation ends with Venus emerging from the bright side of the Moon at 17.16 (in London), by which time the sky should be dark. If clouds intervene this evening, you can still enjoy the sight of the Moon’s close approach to Jupiter and faint, fleeting Mercury very low down on the 29th at about 17.00, or to Venus much higher in the sky at the same time on New Year’s Eve.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_...icle5262970.ece

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So you can just use ordinary binoculars? Don't you need a telescope or something?

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You don't need anything, just your eyesight. I just saw Venus and Jupiter...pretty cool for a star gazer like me.

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Some astronomical events or images are visible to the naked eye and binoculars or telescope will enhance the image. "Morning stars" which are planets like Venus and Mars are often visible but rarely are there comets visible as was the case in the late 90's.

Oh how cool. There's an observatory not too far from the house, but it's been sold by the local university. Good to know options aren't expensive.

You don't need anything, just your eyesight. I just saw Venus and Jupiter...pretty cool for a star gazer like me.

Guess you first gotta know where to look :P Are they easy to find?

I was camping in a very remote part of Algonquin Park a couple of years ago and we saw a richly bejeweled sky. I've never seen so many stars! There were so many it was actually hard to pick out constellations. Anyway among all the stationary stars was one tiny speck streaming across the sky - a satellite, I think.

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So you can just use ordinary binoculars? Don't you need a telescope or something?

When you want to look at a large field of view in the night sky, a telescope's power will usually narrow the field too much, so that you cannot see that wide a field.

But, ordinary binoculars will get that field nicely. I suggest 50mm binoculars, 7X or 10X.

There's comes a point when the binoculars become too heavy/big to hold steady.

People have made or bought stands for their large binoculars. Some of the stands adapt nicely to the viewer being in a reclined position, as in a lawn chair, looking high up into the night sky.

The best instrument to scan the Milky Way is binoculars.

Also, when meteor showers are happening, you can best track them with binoculars.

You can spend under a $100 for some nice binoculars.....

But, like anything related to lenses, there are very finely made binoculars that cost over a $1000.

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When you want to look at a large field of view in the night sky, a telescope's power will usually narrow the field too much, so that you cannot see that wide a field.

But, ordinary binoculars will get that field nicely. I suggest 50mm binoculars, 7X or 10X.

There's comes a point when the binoculars become too heavy/big to hold steady.

People have made or bought stands for their large binoculars. Some of the stands adapt nicely to the viewer being in a reclined position, as in a lawn chair, looking high up into the night sky.

The best instrument to scan the Milky Way is binoculars.

Also, when meteor showers are happening, you can best track them with binoculars.

You can spend under a $100 for some nice binoculars.....

But, like anything related to lenses, there are very finely made binoculars that cost over a $1000.

Oh cool, this is helpful, thanks! It sort of demystifies the whole looking at the stars thing, which is a bit daunting. I can pick out the main ones well enough - Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, but beyond that I have to start getting to know where and when to look, now that I know what to look with :)

The kid across the street has a pair of binoculars but he hasn't been exploring the sky if you catch my drift (the little bastard)

Incidentally, in the winter the Big Dipper turns and looks like a giant question mark above my house ahahaha! Talk about a sign!

Much obliged for the info, Rover. Cheers!

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December night sky: deep winter darkness is best for stargazing

The first, and most spectacular, of the conjunctions takes place the evening of Monday, December 1, 2008, when the Moon, Jupiter and Venus put on a celestial show. The Moon will be a crescent low down in the south west, with Jupiter just two degrees above it. The real action starts, though, at 15.46 (in London; allow ten minutes either way elsewhere in the country) when Venus slips behind the Moon.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_...icle5262970.ece

Saw jupiter and venus, next to the crescent moon in -south carolina, was cool, you could see them early on in the evening too, before even the stars were seen.

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Saw jupiter and venus, next to the crescent moon in -south carolina, was cool, you could see them early on in the evening too, before even the stars were seen.

Wasn't it amazing?! Saw it from NJ...clear sky, not a star to be seen but the sliver of moon and Venus blazing brilliantly while Saturn was just above it. Tonight they were visable also but last night was the most amazing because of the proximity to the moon. I was mesmerized....

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Wasn't it amazing?! Saw it from NJ...clear sky, not a star to be seen but the sliver of moon and Venus blazing brilliantly while Saturn was just above it. Tonight they were visable also but last night was the most amazing because of the proximity to the moon. I was mesmerized....

Yes it was. Cool that you saw it from -nj, medhb, didnt know if it was visible up here.

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I take all astronomical theories with great skepticism. I am a believer that life exists out there somewhere. I do not believe they have been here to visit us. I am very very unwilling to believe in the "Big Bang theory". There may be some parts of it that are close to being true, but looking at the big picture I think that these scientists give theirselves more credit than they deserve based on hypothesis alone. If you believe that all that exists came from gas's or whatever, well where did they come from? There is no proof of an absolute beginning and no proof of an end. ie, and end to the universe. The one question no scientist can ever answer is, if you had a spaceship that could travel at 1000 times the speed of light, when would you hit and end. And if you did, what would be on the other side?

I've reread the article because I wasn't sure of your response's connection to it and I'm kind of still not sure, unless it was just a touch-off point for your opinion? Skepticism is good, and while many act as if their theories (a term, along with hypothesis, whose use we should be careful of as it means different things in different disciples, but anyway...) are dogma for self-serving reasons, there is great value in exploration. Big Bang is the front runner probably because it stands on stronger evidence than other more tenuous (at least for now) theories. There is a way of measuring astronomical phenomena that takes us to the brink of the Big Bang, and some others are also discussed in the article. There's not too much much for which there's absolute proof; that's part of the frustration and interest.

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