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Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

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bentley
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread postby bentley » Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:54 pm

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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Southern Cross

Unread postby flying cheetah » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:36 pm

Can anybody please tell me if and at what time the Southern Cross can be seen in November?
Akukho nyon' endiz' ingahlali phansi. (Zulu)
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Re: Southern Cross

Unread postby Imberbe » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:55 pm

The Southern cross can usually be seen throughout the night as it does not move in the same way as the other star signs, but is fixed around the southern celestial pole.

However in November it will be very low on the horizon and may be at least partially or even totally obscured, making identification difficult. In November it is at its lowest and turned "upside down".
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bentley
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Re: Southern Cross

Unread postby bentley » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:11 am

Something that helps keep track of the movement of objects, is to pick a specific spot in the garden that has no obstructions...
- Find the object you wish to track, in this case the Southern Cross.
- Take note of which direction (N, S, E, or W) you are facing and find something in that direction which is not likely to be moved (a light post etc.),
- Choose a time of the night (11pm does it for me) and stick with the time,
- Do this at least once a week, soon you'll find that you have to adjust you direction to view the object.
Life is what we make of it..we can not control what happens in our life but how we handle it.

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bentley
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread postby bentley » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:48 am

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.
Life is what we make of it..we can not control what happens in our life but how we handle it.

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When wondering between the stars...

Unread postby bentley » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:56 am

When you're lazing on the bench, a pillow under the neck..just relaxing and gazing into the night skies.
What do you find facinating when you're staring into the huge universe that surrounds us ?

- I was watching the skies through my telescope about 3 months ago, the planet Saturn left me speechless after observing it...a massive world surrounded by ice, meteors and dust. In orbit thousands of kilometers away from us, it's a cold and stormy place but perfect in it's own way.

Picture this "a huge man made sphere made to perfection by means of state the arts machinery combined with technology, then suspending it in the sky", totally amazing...
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Re: When wondering between the stars...

Unread postby Imberbe » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:03 am

I always find Jupiter's moons really fascinating. Simply because you can so easily spot them with just a basic binocular. Always fun to show that to people.
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Re: When wondering between the stars...

Unread postby Imberbe » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:37 am

They are really easy to spot. Take a binocular and look at Jupiter. You ought to be able to easily see four of its moons. They are little pricks of light just below or just above Jupiter. Really close. It looks as if they are in a single orbit, seemingly in a straight line.

What makes it even more fun is that they move about. Sometimes more are above, then more below Jupiter. At times some are behind Jupiter, hiding them from view.

Unlike the rings of Saturn - which are magnificent - you do not need a telescope. So it is easily accessible to any person watching the stars. :thumbs_up:

BTW Jupiter is currently easy to spot in SA. It is the second brightest object in the night skies, next to the moon. It is also visible close to the moon at the moment.

So ... a novices delight! :dance:
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


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Re: When wondering between the stars...

Unread postby G@mespotter » Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:31 am

Great topic bently. I have to admit, I have found the most facinating stuff in Kruger, things that I could look at for hours. But the tremendous african nights, when the moon is gone, and all the amazing stars is something I cannot stop to look at......

On the recent backpack trail, I had a few 'star gazing' lessons. VERY interesting, and everytime I see the Southern Cross, it remembers me of that wonderful second night. We looked at the stars, surrounding a small fire, and apart from the night jar and scops owl, and a single hyena call, I drank in the unimaginable phenomenon of million stars...

One cannot else than stare in astonishment at the unabsorbable beauty of such a night. Only proves, how simple and small we human creatures are.

EISH :thumbs_up:
Tambotie 20 July, Shipandane Birdhide 21 July, Mphongolo Backpack Trail 22 -25 July, Tzendze 26 July, and Greater Limpopo National Park 27 -29 July :D

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: When wondering between the stars...

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:17 pm

The stars on the backpack trail are fantastic. It might be the furthest from any kind of light pollution I've ever been.
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Green laser pointers

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:19 pm

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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Imberbe
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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread postby Imberbe » Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:40 pm

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:
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread postby Lockie » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:01 pm

What are these lasers that everyone is raving about? In case you were wondering - "name of supplier" isn't in regular low power (5mW) presentation or key chain laser pointers. We sell the highest powered green laser pointers in the world. Our green lasers are so bright and powerful they can burn, slash and melt plastic or, if you are so inclined, light your smoke. The green lasers create a beam you can see for miles in dark conditions. Our high-powered green laser pointers are used by the US military to disorient and intimidate the enemy.

This is what I was referring to joshilewis. I will NOT be posting where this quote was taken from. The price quoted was US$99 for 20mW
I agree it would be a useful tool for stargazing, but in the wrong hands and for the wrong purpose...a weapon!

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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:16 pm

I was agreeing with you :)
Most reviews I've read online claim that manufacturer's claims are usually exaggerated, i.e. the lasers can't burn plastic or pop balloons etc. They're still very dangerous though.
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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:34 am

Lockie wrote:I knew you agreed with me and thanks josh, I just wanted to drive my 'point' home :lol:
I was amazed by the Southern Sky both in the daylight, but especially at night! EVERYTHING was so different from what we were used to, and at time I was kicking myself I didn't include an astronomy book with the rest of the bird, reptile, mammals books we had used while visiting that most beautiful spots most of you call home

Yeah it is very different. I've made a point of looking at N Hemisphere stars on two occasions, both in deserts (in Israel and India) and our stars are much more impressive.

I'm slowly starting to get into the finer aspects of guiding/ecology etc, including star gazing (I wouldn't quite call it astronomy yet).

For book recommendations check this topic.

I wonder if there's a market for a 'safari book' rental service?
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

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