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How aware are you of the sky?

Discussion in 'The Material World' started by Polymath257, Oct 14, 2021.

  1. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    How aware are you of the events in the sky?

    Can you say what phase the moon is right now?

    How about which constellations are visible? Which planets?

    Can you orient yourself at night just using the stars? How about if the Big Dipper isn't visible (not relevant for those south of the equator)?

    Do you know when to look for a rainbow? Sun dogs?

    Have you ever seen the moons of Jupiter or the rings of Saturn yourself? how about another galaxy?
     
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  2. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    I have my head in the clouds most of the time, so much so that I have to avoid walking into things. That's in the daytime though; English weather means there's always drama overhead, the quality of light is ever changing, it's many glories as fleeting and insubstantial as life itself.

    I live in London, so light pollution means I don't see much at night. Only the moon, and the planets which are quite easily identified with the naked eye. Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire has a great website for information about the night sky.

    I've seen the rings of Saturn through a small portable telescope. Not the moons of Jupiter though.
     
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  3. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Not very. As a child i lived on a farm just outside a small village, although light pollution from three big(ish) towns did nothing to attract me to the night sky. The position of the sun was important though.

    From late teens ive lived in cities until quite recently.

    And now i can sit on the veranda after 10pm (when the village douses its street lights) and wonder at the night sky.

    Google sky app in hand will identify much of what i see.

    Rainbows, yes, this time of year we can see several through our front windows when the afternoon sun is shining and dark clouds to the north east droping rain
     
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  4. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    I'm quite aware, especially when up in Scotland where we have less light pollution and a telescope.

    First time I saw the rings of Saturn was in the Isle of Man on top of Snaefell
     
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  5. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    A scope capable of seeing the rings of Saturn will also be able to see the moons of Jupiter. it's fun to watch them over the course of several nights.
     
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  6. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    It’s some years since I saw Saturn’s rings. I was in a friends car, driving across the Cotswold Hills, on the way back to London from Gloucester near the Welsh borders. It was a clear night and he suddenly announced, “We should get a good view of Saturn from here”. He stopped the car, got his telescope and tripod out of the boot (trunk), set it all up fairly quickly, and then the magic happened.

    First thing I’ll do, if I move to Dartmoor or West Wales, is buy a telescope.
     
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  7. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    I would be more aware of the sky if I lived in the countryside, especially the Low Countries or East Anglia where it is flat. I notice sunsets from my west-facing study window on the top floor. I do look for rainbows, when the sun and rain are on opposite sides of me. I have seen Jupiter's moons through binoculars and I recognise a few constellations: Cassiopeia, Ursa Major - and thence Polaris, and Orion. I am aware of Jupiter and Venus, when the skies are clear enough, but not the others. One issue is that I live in a cloudy climate, in a city with a lot of light pollution. So looking at the sky at night is usually a complete waste of time.
     
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  8. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Not so much any more. I bought a telescope (10" motorized Meade Schmitt-Cassegrain with a small computer) to see Halley's comet in 1987, and familiarized myself with the night sky, and the constellations and major stars at that time. I saw the usual sights such as Jupiter's moons, Saturn's rings, and the Andromeda galaxy. I got into astrophotography.

    I used to be aware of the phases of the moon, but not so much any more, except I know approximately when the full moons come, since I like to track the precession of the full moons as they come earlier and earlier in the month for a few years and then start over with the .

    Until lockdown, when our bridge club closed and I was no longer making the drive in to it some mornings, I was aware of where the sun rose on the horizon, and used to track it as it roamed to the NE in summer and the SE in the winter. My star book is still under the coffee table next to the local bird guide.

    If you saw Jeopardy last night, you were asked which constellation Deneb was in, with a reference to the summer triangle (Vega and Altair as well), and which constellation contained Aldebaran, although the first clue contained the word swan and the second bovine.
     
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  9. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    I watch the phases of the moon . It's easier when I'm taking a dog out morning and evening.

    If I am in the Northern Hemisphere and it isn't too cloudy, I can orient myself using just a few bright stars. Arcturus, The Summer triangle, Orion, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, all close and familiar friends from my youth.

    I used to have a 12" reflector and sought out 'fuzzies': other galaxies, globular clusters, planetary nebula, etc. I have seen most of the Messier catalog, although not all in a single night. :)

    I've seen all of the planets (not Pluto, though) and a few comets.

    The night sky has always been with me.
     
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  10. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    Well I did see Jupiter's moons as well as the red spot. Also Saturn's rings which was breathtaking.

    I got an rare opportunity to view this through an actual observatory's telescope via an astronomers club.
     
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  11. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    If you have a decent telescope, the ring nebula is close to Vega and fairly easy to spot. Aldebaran, with the Hyades (same direction, but not otherwise associated) is always a treat. The Crab nebula isn't too far away from it. And, of course, the Pleiades.
     
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  12. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    One of the peak experiences of my life was looking through the big scope at Yerkes observatory (largest refractor in the world). Mars had details and the globular clusters were absolutely breath-taking.

    One time, when I was out with my 12", I was able to see *whorls* in Jupiter's clouds.
     
  13. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Can you say what phase the moon is right now?: Of this I am sure, Today is Navami, the ninth of the fortnight of the ascending phase. So, more than half the moon will be visible.
    How about which constellations are visible? Which planets?: The haze and lights of Delhi do not allow any sky exploration, which is a pity. More over, at my age (79), I can only see the brightest stars and planets.
    Can you orient yourself at night just using the stars? How about if the Big Dipper isn't visible (not relevant for those south of the equator)?: No.
    Do you know when to look for a rainbow? Sun dogs? Yeah, I know when rainbows will appear, but have not seen sundogs at our lattitude, 29 deg. North.
    Have you ever seen the moons of Jupiter or the rings of Saturn yourself? how about another galaxy?: Out of question. Yes, can see the three stars of Orion, they are beautiful. I have not checked lately. Saw the Milky way galaxy in all its splendor in a total black-out after a storm in Himalayas and I was younger. Memorable. :D
     
    #13 Aupmanyav, Oct 14, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
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  14. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    I live in the Puget Sound area with overcast skies and lots of light pollution, so you can normally only see the brightest stars and planets if you are lucky and the skies are clear.

    Just past First Quarter on its way to Gibbous.

    None of them are visible right now as the skies are overcast. Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter (starting from furthest west) would be visible in the evening sky if it wasn't overcast.

    You can orient yourself by using just the moon.

    If it is both raining and sunny out, your shadow will point to the direction of a possible rainbow.

    I saw the 4 major moons of Jupiter during the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction last December. I haven't directly seen the rings of Saturn. As for galaxies: you can see the Milky Way on a clear dark night away from city lights. I can't really see another galaxy.
     
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  15. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I've always been a sky watcher, day and night, even though I have always had trouble remembering the cloud types and the like. I've never had a quality scope of my own, but I have used binoculars extensively.

    Some of my earliest memories are of watching the night sky, and grew up with the feeling that I should be up (I guess "out" would be a better term) among the stars.
     
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  16. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    Spent a lot of time staring at the sky with my 8" mirror.

    I'm always thinking about the blind,

    sad, that is....no way to really explain the wonder of it.
     
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  17. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Silent Generation - so don't expect much
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    I would probably be more into astronomy if the skies were clearer. Very rare to even have a good look at the Milky Way. Not sure about lower magnification bins but with12x50 ones the rings of Saturn can be seen and things like the Shoemaker-Levy comet when it struck Jupiter. But a decent tripod is really needed with such rather than just resting against some hard surface as I had to do. Bought for bird-watching as I couldn't afford bins and a spotting scope.
     
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  18. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    Ahh.. The Gulf of Mexico.....at times, it's wonderful...soooo many lights up there...uncountable !

    Ah yah...we all know the Gulf !
     
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  19. The Hammer

    The Hammer Frog Lord
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    Sometimes aware sometimes not, depends on if I'm paying attention.

    The moon is Waxing Gibbous.

    Constellations/Planets I'm not so sure (stars are a bit hard to see here, and we're often overcast this time of year), but we did have a small showing of the Northern Lights a couple days ago.

    Orient myself via stars, that's a no. But I'd love to learn. I can identify the Big Dipper, Little dipper, and Orion.

    Yup, I know the conditions typically for seeing rainbows. They're pretty. What're "sun dogs"?

    I've seen Mars, and Saturn via telescope, but not Jupiter.
     
  20. The Hammer

    The Hammer Frog Lord
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    FB_IMG_1625358006876.jpg

    Here ya go. Compliments of a friend of mine with a good camera.
     
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