Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

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Lonehill_Birders
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Re: International Space Station Viewing

Unread post by Lonehill_Birders »

Avet,
The conditions in the park are fantastic for astronomy ! Very low ambient light levels in most camps as the closest light source is 250 km away (Uptington). Best viewing time is about 9:30 PM after the ground heat dies away , be warned depending on what time of the year you go that the nights can be very very cold -11C we experienced. It is also great for star photography. In places like Kilikrankie it is possible to observe the entire horizon around you 360 degrees without obstructions. Great place for star swirls around the southern celestial pole , do some homework on how to find it.
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Re: International Space Station Viewing

Unread post by Barrydalers »

This is exciting.
I will also be using Stellarium on my notebook to help.
I can now understand your explanation for finding the SCP, just put it into practice :)
The celestial clock looks like fun.
I think i'm going to run out of time in KTP :)
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Re: International Space Station Viewing

Unread post by Barrydalers »

I saw the ISS last night (23.11 @ 21:24) rising in the SW & coming right overhead.
Visible for 2 minutes, great to watch it again. Thank you.
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Bundi
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Star Gazing App

Unread post by Bundi »

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 »

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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Re: Star Gazing App

Unread post by NJVermaak »

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
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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by 4O4-5O4 »

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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Re: Best night sky viewing

Unread post by onewithnature »

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 »

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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Re: Is there a space shuttle currently orbiting the earth ?

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We saw the space station passing overhead last Friday just after sunset, amazing sight.
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ingrid1968
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What time is best for star-gazing?

Unread post by ingrid1968 »

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?
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Billy Goat
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by Billy Goat »

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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Billy Goat
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by Billy Goat »

onewithnature wrote:Billy Goat, great to have you around here - always nice to have a newbie interested in the skies, particularly as it does not happen that often on this forum.

You ae referring to the Geminid meteor shower, which can be spectacular depending on weather conditions and moonlight interference. Now, by spectacular, I don't mean it is anything like the fireworks display at the Olympics. However, sitting patiently in a deck chair or lying on a blanket will yield those lovely streaks across the sky from time to time, but most spectacular will be the occasional fireball - a burning disk that often skirts the horizon. I remember one year returning from the Garden Route in December and, not long after sunset in the heart of the Karoo, I was astounded by a bright burning ball that moved across my field of view. My thoughts went wild and I imagined it must be a falling satellite or even an alien spacecraft downed in our atmosphere! Only later did I realise it was one of the Geminid fireballs, admittedly far more spectacular than one is often likely to see.

This year the moon will be favourable for viewing of the Geminids on the peak evening of 13/14 December. Let's hope the weather plays ball - I will be in either Letaba or Shingswedzi then, so will definitely be having a late night - best viewing is after midnight. If I'm really lucky, I'll catch a pic of a pangolin with a burning ball trailing overhead! :lol:

Happy viewing, Mr Gruff. :wink:


May we both be blessed with burning balls of fire streaking across the night sky.
I have read that the scaly anteater is on the red extinction list. One of the most trafficed animals in Africa for an Asian (Vietnam) market.
Perhaps one of those burning balls of fire will land on a poacher.
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. (Mark Twain)
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onewithnature
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by onewithnature »

How sad about the scaly anteater as it is a truly unique and beautiful creature. The shortsightedness and materialistic selfishness of the end-users that motivate poaching is gut-wrenching, and one can only conclude that such people are ecologically primitive. So many animals are threatened with extinction because of the few that are blind to spiritual wisdom. A well-positioned fireball might be a boon, but unfortunately far more than that is needed to overthrow the madness.
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TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

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ingrid1968
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by ingrid1968 »

We usually go for our annual Kruger fix at the end of November, and I've noticed that the night-sky looks very similar to the few stars we see in the light-polluted Pretoria - it is a bit disappointing.

But - I've also been in Letaba in the 3rd week of April, and the night-sky was [insert reams of wonderful adjectives here :think: ] gorgeous, amazing, breath-taking, awe-inspiring, humbling, aaaah, you would not believe your eyes! The entire sky was radiantly, angelically white, scattered with millions and trillions of stars. What a mighty, powerful, omni-potent Creator God!

If I remember correctly, even in Skukuza during January the stars are a delight!
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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