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 Post subject: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:11 am 
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Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
I'm still a dust cloud when it comes to stargazing but I've always been interested in what is beyond. Please share any tips and helpful info with myself and other dust clouds so we too can enjoy the hobby? What can be better than listening to the sounds of the African bust while watching the stars? :D

My tip:
Stellarium an excellent night sky program which is a free download from the web. You can set your location and time and it shows you the sky in real time, you can also go forward and back. Shows you constellations with star names, planets, nebulae ect.

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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:11 am 
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Right with you on that Jen :thumbs_up: Stellaruim is great!


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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:05 pm 
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Stellarium sounds so 8) 8) 8) ...
Will wait till I get to a DSL line though before I download :whistle:

We have been checking out the South African Astronomical Observatory's website for star maps & printed them out every month - the monthly updates come with a description of what's where when & a bit of interesting info.

Here's a direct link to where you can download info for Jan. 2009
http://www.saao.ac.za/public-info/sun-m ... 9/january/
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the download options.

Alternatively go to their homepage www.saao.ac.za, click on the "Public info" tab; a drop down menu will appear, click on "sun, moon & stars. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the download options.

In addition you can also view the Johannesburg planetarium's website & download starmaps from there at www.planetarium.co.za

I received the Sky Guide, Africa South 2009, Astronomical handbook for southern Africa, Astronomical Soceity of southern Africa as a gift. (a very 8) 8) 8) gift!!) It contains very good info about monthly events, the sun/moon/planets/deep-sky observing/basic observing skills/astronomy in southern Africa/useful websites etc.

A stargazing tip: If you don't have fancy telescopes & stuff - use your binoculars/spotting scope. You'll be surprized at how many more stars you can see.

Now is a good time for evening stargazing since the moon only rises after midnight rendering a dark sky for approximately 6 hours.

:hmz: me thinks me need to chair and go sit outside under the stars now...Ciao!!

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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:46 pm 
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Kudos to Betelgeuse for having the coolest name. Here's a new thread I created which explains why I think so. :D
Astronomy - Give us your trivia

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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:30 pm 
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a real obvious point is keep watching :shock: (watching).

keep :shock: over the weeks, months and year. keep in touch with what you have seen and what you have learned. in may we started off with the Southern Cross, now that one is gone and Orion came in its place.
So keep watching over time as the constellations (seem) to move across the sky. That way you will get a 'feeling' for the movement and position of the different constellations, moon cycle, planet movement etc.

dont do only stargazing in the bush, but back at home as well!

As said an obvious point, but might be good to restate..

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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:50 pm 
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Thanks Jenb for the link to Stellarium. Installed it last night and its really great. For someone to put that much work into something so good and then give it away and still support, maintain and continue to develop it is amazing.

We've had a few beautifully clear nights here in EL recently, but cloud cover is quite complete tonight.

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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:16 am 
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Ever wondered how some of those outlandish names of stars and constellations are pronounced? Here's a handy guide that gives the pronunciation of a few.

http://www.astronomyclub.org/learn/Say_What.htm

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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:54 pm 
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A tip to judge the difference between a star and planet in the night sky...
I'm sure all of us are fimiliar with the nursery rhyme "twinkle twinkle little star", remember it the next time you're star gazing.

Due atoms, molecules creating energy and stars being some what smaller than planets they tend to give off flickers of different light...so if it flickers it's a star and if it does not, it's a planet. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:13 am 
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Location: MP,South Africa
bentley wrote:
so if it flickers it's a star and if it does not, it's a planet.
A tip to judge the difference between a star and planet in the night sky...
I'm sure all of us are fimiliar with the nursery rhyme "twinkle twinkle little star", remember it the next time you're star gazing.

Due atoms, molecules creating energy and stars being some what smaller than planets they tend to give off flickers of different light...so if it flickers it's a star and if it does not, it's a planet. :wink:


Intersting enuff, what if it shoots, what exactly makes them do that.


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 Post subject: Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:48 am 
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Ahh...the shooting star (fireball), what / how it comes to being ?
Image

A shooting star or falling star is the common name for the visible path of a meteoroid as it enters the earths atmosphere, a shooting star isn't a star at all.

Most of the shooting stars that we can see are known as meteoroids. These are objects as small as a piece of sand, and as large as a boulder. Smaller than a piece of sand, astronomers call them interplanetary dust and the large boulder type are called asteroids.

A meteoroid becomes a meteor when it strikes the atmosphere and leaves a bright tail behind it, bright line that we see in the sky is caused by the ram pressure, heat and gas carried in the meteor and the cold tempreture of the atmosphere. It burns up and disintergrates due to the above factors mentioned...like taking a piping hot glass out the oven and emersing it a high speed into ice cold water, it shatters on contact..now combine it with gas.

When a meteoroid is larger, the streak in the sky is called a fireball or bolide. These can be bright, and leave a streak in the sky that can last for more than a minute. Some are so large they even make crackling noises as they pass through the atmosphere.

If any portion of the meteoroid actually survives its passage through the atmosphere, astronomers call them meteorites.

Some of the brightest and most popular meteor showers are the Leonids, the Geminids, and the Perseids. With some of these showers, you can see more than one meteor (or shooting star) each minute.

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 Post subject: Green laser pointers
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:19 pm 
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Hi guys, I'm thinking of buying a green laser pointer for star gazing. Does anyone have experience with green laser pointers? Anyone have any advice?

I'm probably going to get a 20mW or 50mW unit.

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 Post subject: Re: Green laser pointers
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:40 pm 
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They are great and works excellently.

But they are rather expensive.

If you are going to use them regularly, it might be worth the money. Otherwise a good torch with a concentrated light does the same basic job. The green pointers does have the professional image though.
:wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Green laser pointers
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:25 pm 
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A relative is going to the US, so cost won't be too high. I'm also expecting it to last a while. I probably won't be using it professionally. Plus its good for its gimmick value :)

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 Post subject: Re: Green laser pointers
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:27 pm 
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:lol: A gimmick is always good! :wink: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Green laser pointers
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:30 pm 
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green laser pointers? :huh:
I'm lost guys...Is this a special telescope to view the heavens? :redface:

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