Author Topic: When you watch the sky...  (Read 103820 times)

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Offline Markus

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When you watch the sky...
« on: February 13, 2006, 08:37:19 pm »
Hi folks,

Virus told me he's interested in astronomy. So am I, and I know that Luth likes to take a look at the skies from time to time, too. So let's chat a little about stargazing!

Virus wanted to know whether I had a telescope. Yes, I do, even though it's a very small one only. But as the saying goes: "Every 'scope has its sky", meaning there's something interesting to see with every optical device, even the small and simple ones. That's not surprising: Some objects are best watched with the bare eye even!

Besides that I have access to larger telescopes in the planetarium and our amateur astronomers' society.

The next great event is the solar eclipse on March 29th. I'll be in Turky if all goes well and bask in the umbral shadow for the third time in my life. :w00t:

Clear skies!

Markus
« Last Edit: February 13, 2006, 08:38:33 pm by Markus »
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Offline Sirius13

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When you watch the sky...
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2006, 09:05:12 pm »
Hiya Markus!

I don't have any optical device  :(   And I am no way any kind of expert on astronomy.


....but I do take an interest, and I have often gone out in the early hours to watch the effects of the meteor showers (such as the Leonids, that kind of thing).  I take an interest in what is going on in the sky and I use Red Shift software to help me get my bearings in the night sky.

I have always taken an interest in any facts about stars, and distant galaxies, or anything at all about the universe.  From an early age I was thrilled when I learned how to locate Polaris and realised that it could be used for a practical purpse.  I have even used that one simple fact to reassure myself that I was going the right way down a mountain on one occasion!  :)

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Offline Ereshkigal

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When you watch the sky...
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2006, 03:37:31 am »
Me loves the sky!

I don't have a telescope, I am not at astronomer either, nor can name the stars, but I often find myself looking at the stars. Some of them I see them often, but I cannot identify them by their names :( The moon is also one of the celestial bodies I love staring at too.

I also like the sky in day time, mostly because I find clouds amazing too.

The best experience I have had so far, was a total eclipse o July 11, 199....199....mmm I forgot the year!  But it has been the only one that has happened while I've been alive. When the moon had completely covered the sun, I watched it with my naked eye for a while. It was amazing, unbelievable, it felt strange too..I felt so little in front of such an scene from nature.

Oh! I just remembered! I have also seen a comet...but forgot the name of it :(


Offline Markus

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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2006, 10:07:51 am »
Hi folks,

Sirius, using astronomy software is rather advanced already. :) Personally, it's very important to me to know the constellations and stars by name. Not all of them, but enough to find my way around the skies. When I can identify at least the brightest of them, and when I know the positions of a few deep-sky-objects I feel at home among the stars. Even though I'll never reach them I feel as a part of the sky. Well, in a way I am - we're all sitting amidst it on one of the planets circling our star. Knowing the skies a little makes me feel this.

That's why I love "Call of Dagon" so much and chose it as thread subject: In a way we enter the limitless when we observe the skies with a knowing eye.

Besides that it's so fantastic WHAT we see there: Distant suns. Places of starbirth. A galaxy so distant that even the light needs more than 2 millions of years to reach us - all with the bare naked eye!

Eresh, a total solar eclipse is one of the most amazing natural events really. A partial eclipse is fascinating to see already, but a total eclipse is something completely different. Overwhelming! For once, the sun allows to look at it without going blind, and you see the sun in a way it can be seen at no other occasion. You felt little in those moments? Strange... I felt big, because I could take part in it. Even though I was just an oberserver I felt so close to the sun and the moon. :)

Your eclipse must have been July 11th, 1991. Also known as the "Big One", because totality was ununsually long with up to 6 min 53 s.

The ultimate resource on eclipses is the NASA Eclipse Homepage by Fred Espenak, btw.

Folks, if you enjoy looking at the nightsky you should get hold of some binoculars, and perhaps a star map (I can recommend a cheap but good one, if you like). There's so much more to see even with binoculars! You can get a first glimpse of the remnants of burned-out stars or catch Jupiter's moons already. Or try to look through the telescope of a friend or a public observatory and take a walk across the moon or see the sun rise on its mountains or see the biggest storm system on Jupiter or Saturn's rings or.... :w00t:

Cheers!

Markus
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Offline Ereshkigal

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When you watch the sky...
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2006, 11:56:07 am »
Quote
Hi folks,
Your eclipse must have been July 11th, 1991. Also known as the "Big One", because totality was ununsually long with up to 6 min 53 s.
[snapback]6997[/snapback]

Aha! yup, it was 1991!

Markus, do you know how one can know when the next one will be where one lives?

About the partial eclipses, I have never been able to see one, because I could go blind, What special equipment is needed in order to see one?

Offline Markus

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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2006, 12:08:10 pm »
Hi Eresh,

check the link I mentioned above, it has everything you need to know. :) There's a "World Atlas of Solar Eclipses" where you find every total and annular eclipse for a large period of time with geographical information. You also find lists of all eclipses, including partials, for a given decade. Somewhere in the depths of that page there's an article on eye safety, too. There are fairly simple methods - in fact, you can use a cardboard box if you know what you're doing. :lol3: But a special filter offers more possibilities. Every good optician should be able to get you some.

Cheers!

Markus
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Offline ViruS

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When you watch the sky...
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2006, 04:23:29 pm »
:iconmi77kl:  Tnx Markus for this interesting topic .. hope u all enjoy it and find out some stuffs about the sky
 

   I don't have an telescope but if i will want to watch something will go to the planetarium ;)
   And tnx for the information about the next ecplise ..
   
     Cheers!

Offline Elizabeth

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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2006, 06:35:29 pm »
If my memmory doesn't fail, a solar eclipse also happened in August 1998. I remember it quite well, because I had just arrived to Romania,
and everyone was crazy about it: reminding you not to watch the event without protection glasses and bla bla.
Pretty much enjoyed that, since I have always been interested in the sky, and...well, I used to ask myself different questions, and then watch
Discovery Kids for answers  :unsure:

Now, I know a few (very few) stars by their name (bet you didn't know that, ViruS :D).

Even if I had a telescope or some optic device, I wouldn't be able to watch the sky properly ( :( ) because... Bucharest is... a city. Think I expressed myself clearly  :w00t:

Thanks Tequila!

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Offline Markus

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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2006, 12:15:53 am »
Hi Elizabeth,

that's no bla-bla! :angry: Looking at the sun without proper protection will really do terrible damage to your eyes, and the nasty thing is that you don't notice it at the start. Then the destruction goes on for hours and hours even if you don't look into the sun anymore, and then you're close to blindness. (Keyword "phototoxic reactions")

So do take these hints serious! :)

Ah, and the eclipse was in 1999. My first total solar eclipse. I was clouded out :bawling: but found it extremely impressive, anyway - the sudden darkness, the bright horizon, the strange colours. Even below the clouds I felt the strong impact.

Hey, I hope you didn't watch the eclipse on TV but saw it with your own eyes! :lol:

Cheers!

Markus
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Offline ViruS

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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2006, 12:34:53 am »
Quote
If my memmory doesn't fail, a solar eclipse also happened in August 1998. I remember it quite well, because I had just arrived to Romania,
and everyone was crazy about it: reminding you not to watch the event without protection glasses and bla bla.
Pretty much enjoyed that, since I have always been interested in the sky, and...well, I used to ask myself different questions, and then watch
Discovery Kids for answers  :unsure:

Now, I know a few (very few) stars by their name (bet you didn't know that, ViruS :D).

Even if I had a telescope or some optic device, I wouldn't be able to watch the sky properly ( :( ) because... Bucharest is... a city. Think I expressed myself clearly  :w00t:
[snapback]7011[/snapback]

Neah didn't  knew that Elizabeth but now i know :wub:  in this matter you're memmory fails you.. i have a coin with the date of the ecplise the year is 1999 i can show it to you if  u want :) safe keeping .. :evil: (500 lei coin) with eclipse on it..

 Yeah is not good to watch from Buchares the capital to the eclipses why? Becouse the sky is so darky (poluted)  :unsure:  don't know the best way to watch an sollar ecplise from Romania is byt going in other city's i presume


Offline Elizabeth

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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2006, 12:18:22 pm »
Yep, my mistake. It was 1999. I've been living in Romania for 6 years, since May 1999, but I don't know why every time I have to write about it, or say it,
I make a mistake and say 1998! It's not the 1st time it happens...  :blink:

Markus, I know it's not bla bla, but I expressed myself like that  just to shorten things :D

Of course I did NOT watch it on TV! I even bought special eye glasses, so I wouldn't damage my eyes. Eeerrr... they're damaged anyway, but reading
is to blame for that ;)

Namarie!

Thanks Tequila!

I don't trust astrology, because I'm a Gemini and Geminis don't trust astrology. Raymond Smullyan.

Offline Markus

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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2006, 01:01:04 pm »
Hi there,

I just wanted to make sure, Elizabeth. ;)

Believe it or not - in some countries there are rumours that no safe sun observation methods exist, so that people watch the eclipse on TV instead of going outdoors and seeing it with their own eyes! That's nonsense, of course. If you follow the safety instructions nothing will happen to you.

Another common misunderstanding says that the eclipse itself is the danger for the eyes. That's incredibly stupid nonsense! Of course it's the uneclipsed part of the sun that is a danger to the oberserver's eyes. But you wouldn't believe how many people actually blame the eclipse instead of the sun!

Regarding city lights: These are really terrible. People don't care how much light gets lost - the lamps are supposed to brighten up the streets, not the skies! This light pollution brings nothing but trouble. It means a waste of energy and money, harms night-active animals, is a real health threat  - and blocks our view of the sky. :( But you'd be amazed what you can see even from the cities! Especially the moon and the planets can easily be observed from there because they're so bright, anyway.

Cheers!

Markus
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Offline Markus

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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2006, 07:17:26 pm »
Hi folks,

here's another little hint for you: These days, Mars is standing near the Pleiades in Taurus. That bright orange "star" (planet, in fact) of Mars near that beautiful heap of blueish-white Pleiades stars - lovely! You can even get them in the same field of view in binoculars.

But it's a wonderful sight for the naked eye as well: Aldebaran, the brightest star of Taurus, is not far away from that group. Both Aldebaran and Mars are about the same colour and brightness - the planet is just a bit brighter than the star right now. Be sure to have a look at that! :)

Cheers!

Markus
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Offline Elizabeth

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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2006, 07:25:01 pm »
Mission: Impossible. Too cloudy around here. :(

Thanks Tequila!

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Offline Markus

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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2006, 12:03:14 am »
Ah, too bad - damn those clouds!

But Mars will linger in that vicinity for a couple of days and get even closer to Aldebaran in the next few weeks, which should look pretty pretty, too. :D

Cheers!

Markus
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Offline Aluqak

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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2006, 05:05:04 pm »
Wow, too many topics have started since I left. I'd have to post in most of them, but this one has deffinitively atracted my eye :).
I used to like astronomy when I was a kid. My father even bought me a small telescope and I had the chance to see some pretty stuffs through it (moon eclipses, some comets, some "star rains" and even the four biggest moons of Jupiter... there was a time during the late 80's when you could see them pretty easily). Unfortunately, as time passed my interest in astronomy decreased, and my interest in biology increased. Even my telescope was finally replaced by a microscope at the beginning and then by a couple of binoculars (I like birdwatching a lot).
I still look at the sky from time to time, and am able to recognize some planets and major constellations... but in general I am an ignorant in astronomy matters. I'll have to get some time to learn a little bit more about it. :)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 05:06:55 pm by Aluqak »
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Offline Luth

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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2006, 05:31:59 pm »
Sorry for having not written here yet... but I want to explain myself: I like watching the sky, mainly the few times I go to mountain and I have the chance of looking to uncontamined sky, with no lights, no contamination around. I can keep hipnotized for long time looking an starry night like that! But... I know nothing about astronomy. Even when some patience friend has tried to teach me some constellation, I hardly saw anything... I am an starry night lover, but don't ask me for any scientific (neither mythologic) fact, because I simply like to enjoy it. No names, no nothing. Watching.

So, I'm reading this topic with a lot of interest, but don't expect any real contribution from me  :nanana:
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Offline ViruS

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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2006, 07:02:41 pm »
Quote
So, I'm reading this topic with a lot of interest, but don't expect any real contribution from me  :nanana:
[snapback]7165[/snapback]

 :blink: Luth i will expect some contribution from you  not just to read  :ph34r:  spy

Offline Elizabeth

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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2006, 08:36:33 pm »
Well, Luth... this is the NTSMS stargazing topic, right? So it fits you anyway :D

Namarie!

Thanks Tequila!

I don't trust astrology, because I'm a Gemini and Geminis don't trust astrology. Raymond Smullyan.

Offline Tzar-0

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When you watch the sky...
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2006, 05:12:50 pm »
Hello,

I just want to say that I've always find natural sciences very interesting. And concerning astronomy, I like it too but...All I know about it are just few things that I have read in articles in a few magazin of scientific vulgarisation...So I can say I'm ignorant too.
And ,like everyone I like watching the sky...but I don't have any idea of the stars' names or anything.

So you should not wait too much contribution from me too.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2006, 05:18:35 pm by Tzar-0 »