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Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:40 pm

Preliminary review: I've been playing with my pointer over a few nights, but I haven't had a chance to do some decent star gazing due to the weather and light pollution in Jo'burg.

So far I am very impressed. The laser dot can be seen clearly at 50m away in twilight, and possibly more (I haven't had the chance to check further distances yet). The beam can be seen indoors with curtains closed (assuming decent curtains). The beam can also be seen clearly while pointed at a full moon.

All in all, I am very impressed.

The only real downside is it seems to eat batteries (rechargables); and the beam intensity drops after a few minutes of continuous usage (not sure if its batteries, heat or a low quality unit).
I paid under USD20 for mine from Amazon (with a traveling relative kindly bringing it back).

I can't wait to try it out 'for real'.

I'll try taking some photos and posting them soon, when the weather here clears a little.
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G@mespotter
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by G@mespotter » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:02 pm

Ai... I'm only reading this topic now...

Problem is, out of my whole family/friends group, it seems I'm the only one really interested in the stars, etc :doh: :roll: (Besides Sawubona who has a scope and then 'forgets' to take it with :twisted:)

Anyway, definately getting that book Beutelgeuse 8) Good idea about the 'printing per month' method, will remember when I go to Kruger in december!

Back to falling stars: last October, I couldn't sleep, duhu, it was my first night in Marakele!! SUCH a cool place to relax. Our tents were a bit packed, so I took my matrass I 'parked' on the front-tent. I positioned it in such a way that I could look at the awesome display of stars, and as I switched off all the nearby lights, I could even clearly see the milky way. That aside, between the Jackals calling and the 'growling' sounds of the ostriches, I managed to see 12 falling stars! A few very clear, 1 BIG one and that all in 5 hours.

I will still remember that night, surrounded by jackals, a bunch of springhares and 6 or so ostriches. Not a 'BIG 5' hunter's paradise, but truely a magnificent jewel of african wildlife VERY close to nature. As pure as it gets.

Definately going back, even if it was only for the stargazing oppurtunities 8)
Tlopi 11 July Tambotie 12 July, Olifants Backpack trail 13-16 July, Letaba 16 July, Balule 17 July, and Sable Hide 18 July and Lower Sabie 19-20 July Can't wait actually :)

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DuneRichard
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by DuneRichard » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:40 pm

There are two sites that have helped me out a lot,
(Stellarium runs far too slowly on my pc) :evil:

I highly recommend
www.skymaps.com (click on downloads for a monthly sky chart)
www.heavens-above.com (have those GPS co-ords at the ready)
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DuneRichard
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by DuneRichard » Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:04 pm

Sky Maps is a great way to introduce your clients to astronomy at a very low cost - I give night walks (Kalahari stargazing is AWESOME) and print out the charts for my clients so that they can each look at their own stars in stead of having to do the guesswork.

Heavens Above is again great for the more "artificial" side of astronomy because it gives you great info on iridium flares, satellites, the ISS passings etc.

Just remember that the star charts on Sky Maps are all collaborated on UT, so you must add two hours to whatever event times are given on the chart.
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi
Always something new out of Africa - Pliny the Elder

Thanatosis emoticon - :shock:

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Bennievis
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Re: Southern Cross

Unread post by Bennievis » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:28 pm

Many years ago...
Southern Cross.. how many nights did I lie on my back in my sleeping bag.. looking up at the stars. .looking at the Southern Cross.. dreaming of being at home.. Southern Cross will always bring back memories of longing and missing loved ones.

Tshwene
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by Tshwene » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:06 pm

i am also a newbe with stargazing. (one of those that still see a bunny in the moon....) Stargazing from game reserves in sa- Anthony Fairall helped me a lot. I can id now scorpion in winter, orion in summer, southern cross, moon (most of the year). with greek and african tell tales/beliefs. In this book, there are sky maps for every month. Last night a friend tried to show me "the arrow", which was next to orion's belt, he said the arrow always point north(from army days). Tonight i will use my glasses try to spot it. Do any of you know about it?

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Bundi
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Star Gazing App

Unread post by Bundi » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:20 pm

Hi all

I am totally new at star gazing, but I am becoming increasingly interested in the topic.

Can somebody perhaps tell me which of all the Apps out there would be the best to download and would be the best to help me along?

Many thanks

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Star Gazing App

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:57 am

Hi Bundi, what phone/operating system do you have?
I have Android, I use:
Google Sky Map
SkEye
I've also Star Odyssey in the past, very informative.

I will add that I had started to use star maps before the apps came out, and found it very rewarding to be able to locate and identify things from a star map, instead of relying on an app all the time. (I can recommend the book 'Stargazing from Game Reserves').
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NJVermaak
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Re: Star Gazing App

Unread post by NJVermaak » Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:36 pm

Hi Bundi,

I use Skyview on my iPhone, very cool, it picks up your location itself and gives plenty info, best app on my phone for the outdoors
NJ Vermaak

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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by 4O4-5O4 » Fri May 09, 2014 5:22 pm

Karoo National Park is a mighty fine spot for stargazing. The cool night air during winter months eliminate any distortions and on a moonless night the number of stars is over whelming, billions almost within arms reach. Only the human eye has the ability to capture this incredibly vast heavenly display adequately.

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onewithnature
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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by onewithnature » Mon May 12, 2014 11:24 pm

Hear hear. :clap: :clap: :clap: The most magnificent skies are in the Karoo. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by 4O4-5O4 » Tue May 13, 2014 2:22 pm

I agree, onewithnature. I have been fortunate to view night skies all over SA, and without a doubt, Karoo skies present the best heavenly display.
They wouldnt choose this area for the construction of the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere if it wasnt so. There is something very spectacular about the Karoo night sky.

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ingrid1968
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What time is best for star-gazing?

Unread post by ingrid1968 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:14 pm

I've been in Kruger at different times of the year:

Middle March at Letaba
Beginning of December at Skukuza
Beginning of January, also Skukuza

... and I've been dazzled by the beauty of all the stars. The skies are absolutely white with all the stars, you can't believe the beauty of it. It's as bright as a full-moon night. There's almost not a square inch where you don't see a million stars.

And then I went to Kruger (Lower Sabie, and also Olifants) during the last week of November, and I saw only the three stars that I see here at home in Gauteng with all the ambient light of the city. What a disappointment!

Could it be that there is such a big difference between the last week of November, and the second week of December?

And also, when can the Southern Cross be viewed?

What must I do to be dazzled again?
Don't answer a fool with his own stupidity or you'll be like him. Answer a fool with his own stupidity or he'll think he's wise.
Proverbs 26:4-5.

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Philip1
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Re: What time is best for star-gazing?

Unread post by Philip1 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:37 pm

Ingrid1968, i see the following:

1 Oct @ 04h00
1 Nov @ 02h00
1 Dec @ 00h00
1 Jan @ 22h00
1 Feb @ 20h00 :wink:
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by Billy Goat » Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:28 am

JenB wrote: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.


Billy Goat here. I was happily grazing along through the forums, looking for interesting articles ect. and I stumbled across your post from 2009.

I have always been interested in the night skies, although I know absolutely zero. Through your "helpful hint" I downloaded Stellarium and can confidently state that I am hooked.
I also discovered an amazing site that you probably have heard of, but if not go check out. (http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/me ... inids.html)

This coming December between Dec 4th and Dec 17th will be a meteor shower visible from all over South Africa.
Dec 14th will be the peak period. (Wooo Hooo - I will be in Addo for 3 nights)
And it is estimated that approx. 120 meteors an hour will be visible.

This meteor shower is not from a comet (usually they are) but it is from an asteroid that circles the sun every 1 & a quarter years.
In Addo the best time to view the meteor shower will be from about 10pm.
For folks in the Kruger, closer to midnight.....

Happy viewing
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Addo 11 - 14 Dec
West Coast 17 - 18 Jan
Hluhluwe/Umfolozi 18 - 21 March


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