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Will
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Astronomy Without a Telescope Part 2

Let's take a look at some of the great things we can see in the night sky without the aid of a telescope.

 

Let's take a look at some of the great things we can see in the night sky without the aid of a telescope.

The Moon: This is the first and most dramatic thing you can look at in the night sky. And you might not have considered it but it is also a big source of light pollution so if there is a full moon you probably don't want to try observing deep sky objects. And the moon itself is best viewed as a crescent. The crescent form gives the longest shadows and the best contrast in view. You see much more detail. Here is a great interactive map of the moon

Stars: Now before you laugh because this is quite an obvious statement you have to give a bit of consideration to the fact that every star is different! Under a very dark sky and after your eyes are adjusted you are going to realize that stars come in a remarkable range of colors and brightnessess! Just sit back and soak it in.

Planets: Yes, you can see planets in the night sky. But they move in relation to the rest of the sky so you will need a planet locator chart to identify them. A good rule of thumb about identifying planets is that they don't twinkle! Stars often twinkle and this is due to atmospheric disturbances but planets do not twinkle! If it doesn't twinkle its probably a planet. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all visible with the naked eye at various times of the year. Here is a great tool that will help you find the location of the planets

Constellations: These are groupings of stars that form patterns people have interpreted as heroes, animals and other objects. Learning the constellations and the history/name of each is a lot of fun. It also helps you to identify other objects in the sky. It gives you a good reference to what is where.


 

New Article:

Will's Guide to Star Gazing - Knowing a few simple things can make a tremendous difference in how much you enjoy an evening of star gazing. I give you tips and techniques on what to look for and how to get the most out of the night sky without a telescope.