A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide by Jamie Carter

By Jamie Carter

Sets out an easy month-by-month application to bare the entire evening sky's greatest and most pretty secrets and techniques in exactly 365 days – and with just a couple of hours of stargazing every one month
by means of making an investment simply an hour per week and $50 in binoculars, it’s attainable to benefit a couple of basic thoughts and quick achieve a true perception into the evening sky's ever-changing styles – and what they let us know approximately Earth, the seasons and ourselves. looking extra for a discovered appreciation of nature and our unique position in the cosmos than educational clinical wisdom, technology and trip author Jamie Carter takes the reader on a 12 month travel of the evening sky's impressive annual rhythms that say rather a lot approximately Earth. through the trip he learns concerning the celestial mechanics at paintings within the skies above which are – to the newbie – nearly past trust. in addition to the very important constellations and clusters, and the unusual and lovely nebulas, he searches out “dark sky locations” around the globe that aid raise wisdom and provides a brand new point of view on known evening sky attractions. at the trip he witnesses a sun eclipse and grapples with star-charts, binoculars, cellphone apps, telescopes, spots satellites and makes an attempt easy astro-photography. through year's finish, the reader may be in a position to look on the evening sky from anyplace on the earth and inform what path she or he is dealing with, what time it's, the place the entire planets are or even the place the Galactic middle element is.

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Extra resources for A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide

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It’s actually the fifth-closest star (see Chap. 13 for the other closest stars), though the difference in distance from Earth compared to our Sun is staggering. 6 years to get here. That may seem like a lot, but on cosmic scale, it’s very close. Such is the scale we have to get used to when stargazing into the void of space and time … and that’s just our stellar neighborhood. Star or Planet? When looking at the very brightest stars in the night sky, it’s very easy to get confused by an interloper or two—the planets.

While everything we’ve looked at so far can be seen at any time of the year, what we’re about to see is fleeting, and visible for a shorter time. On this side of the sky the stars appear to sweep from east to west if viewed constantly for a few hours, or at exactly the same time on consecutive nights, but for how long you’ll see individual stars will depend on where you’re stargazing from. The exact position of trees, your neighbor’s house or a hill may mean that you can see specific stars and constellations for only a couple of months each year.

The cosmic gas and dust in the Orion Nebula is coalescing to form massive, hot, young brown dwarf stars only a million years old (that’s nothing in cosmic terms), and it’s possible to see four of them in what’s known as the Trapezium open cluster at the very center. However, to see such detail you will need optical aids such as binoculars and telescopes, which we will return to later in the year (more on these in Chaps. 4 and 9). For now, just bask in the glory of it as one of the most impressive naked eye sites in the heavens.

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