Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

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deefstes
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by deefstes »

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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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by onewithnature »

Anywhere in South Africa away from civilisation will guarantee a magnificent display that will take your breath away. Especially in winter in the interior when skies are at their clearest. I always gasp in the Karoo, in the Kalahari, on any hilltop away from lights, and in the Okavango. I want to still go to Sutherland.

The amazing thing is that you're only seeing two to three thousand stars with the naked eye. Why do I say only two or three thousand stars? Because the latest estimates of the number of stars in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is anywhere between a few hundred billion and a few trillion!! Yes, billions and trillions - thats 1 followed by 11 or 12 zeroes!!! Can you even imagine what the sky would look like with a million stars, never mind a million times that number! The mind, the soul, boggles ... And that is enough to humble us, even just a little, yes?!.
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deefstes
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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by deefstes »

I'm not saying there isn't great night sky viewing to be had in any of the KNP camps but surely, if the thread is about "best" night sky viewing, none of the KNP camps could possibly contend.

Apart from the fact that most of them have some sort of light pollution the air in the eastern parts of the country (and certainly in KNP) contains a lot of moisture which impedes night sky viewing ever so slightly.

For that reason you will find that large observatories are in dry regions and deserts, and if it can be at a high elevation, even better. But what I wanted to say is that, while the night skies can be magical as seen from Satara and many other KNP camps, it doesn't quite hold a candle (pardon the pun) to the viewing that is to be had in places like RTP or KTP where the air is dry.
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onewithnature
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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by onewithnature »

And the Karoo!
But, of course, the best viewing would be to climb a high mountain and look on a clear day. At least another couple of thousand stars would appear.
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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by bentley »

As to date I would have to say Olifants rest camp in KNP, the river view in full moon is awesome & every little flicker of light can be seen in the sky. Having a telescope on hand was the cherry on top...
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by bentley »

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 post by flying cheetah »

Can anybody please tell me if and at what time the Southern Cross can be seen in November?
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Re: Southern Cross

Unread post by Imberbe »

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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Re: Southern Cross

Unread post by bentley »

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.
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by bentley »

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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When wondering between the stars...

Unread post by bentley »

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 post by Imberbe »

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 post by Imberbe »

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:
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Re: When wondering between the stars...

Unread post by G@mespotter »

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:
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Re: When wondering between the stars...

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld »

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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