Viewing The Planets

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by steviejay, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. CruddyLeper

    CruddyLeper Unworshipped Deity

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    Best place to start if you are northern hemisphere is "the Big Dipper" (Plough, Ursa Major or Great Bear) pointing at the Pole Star. The Pole Star (Polaris) lies almost exactly at the point at which the night sky seems to "turn". The constellations closest to that never set (Circumpolar constellations).

    Orion is easy in autumn/winter, Pegasus and Cygnus easier in summer. The Ecliptic is the path around which the sun and moon seem to travel - this varies quite a bit over the seasons. Constellations around the Ecliptic are often signs of the Zodiac (Cancer, Gemini, Ares etc). Some of these are poorly observed from Glasgow because that's a long way north of the Egypt/Mesopotomia, the source of the "classic" zodiac signs.

    My point is - once you know you're constellations (takes at least a year from natural viewing) then spotting planets becomes a lot easier - because they don't stay "fixed" like the constellations do.

    Be wary of mistaking satellites for stars or planets - the International Space Station is very very bright. Satellites change position a lot faster than planets do.

    Practise makes perfect. There's 1000s of sites to Google on this stuff, hopefully you've got just enough knowledge now to get appreciate what they are talking about.
     
  2. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Well, it has to do with angular radius, that is how large an angle it takes up in the night sky (which is based on both size and distance). The larger the angle the less "twinkly" it is.

    That said, I'm not sure if smaller/distant planets appear to twinkle.
     
  3. steviejay

    steviejay Now in Black and White!!

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    Thanks for the help guys. With the star charts and knowing where the Big Dipper is I should be able to find my way about the sky heh.

    I'm thinking about maybe getting a telescope. is there anything I should be looking for?
     
  4. Esckey

    Esckey Deity

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    Portable is what I looked for. I could of gotten a bigger one but I need one I could carry(have no vehicle) So I got one that, once broken down, I could fit into a camping backpack


    I have no idea if there is a good company name to look for or if a reflective one is better then a refracter
     
  5. steviejay

    steviejay Now in Black and White!!

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    I dono't think portability will be a problem. As I mentioned previous, I don't need to go far for good visability. I live almost right on a public park so that's simple enough to move back and forth from.

    I think I might start small and then work up to bigger ones
     
  6. Shaihulud

    Shaihulud Deity

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    Its good to orient yourself by the objects that you can identify in the sky. Uranus and Neptune should be visible right now, (i have yet to see it for the haze and weather) Jupiter is very low on the horizon and it is barely visible, from the equator. On my side of the world, scorpio is in the sky but i haven't seen any significant things for a month because of a bad haze.
     
  7. Shaihulud

    Shaihulud Deity

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    Jupiter is freaking bright, you can't miss it when it is up there.
     

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