Observations and resources in assisting with naked-eye astronomy

Once you have had the opportunity to read your classmates’ threads, follow up with a reply to a classmate of at least 150 words. How did his or her thread help you make use of more tools and tricks for enjoying the view from Earth? What different resource(s) did he or she recommend that you investigated for yourself and utilized? What additional observations (phases, planets, stars, constellations, etc.) did you make thanks to what your classmate shared? Your reply should be made of at least two paragraphs, at least one to discuss the new resource(s) and at least one to discuss how you used the new resource(s) to make more observations.

 

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I chose Sky & Telescope from the six given resources to help me with my night sky observations. Specifically, I used the interactive sky chart. Finding the sky chart on the site itself is a bit of a chore, but once located, I found it to be easier to use and more informative than the other options I looked at. My sense of direction is remarkably poor, and I was still able to use this tool to identify stars and constellations, some of which I knew and a great deal of which I did not. The ‘selected view’ window was helpful in that it put the greater sky map into perspective.

I chose In the Sky as my other tool for night sky observations. I used their sky diagram resource. The diagram was easy to find from the main page. I really appreciated how much information was available and how it easy it all was to navigate. The sky box on the left side of the page shows objects grouped by type and where to find them on the map, but additionally, it shows exactly where and when to look to best see the object in the sky. I liked being able to set the limiting magnitude (a small box above the map) so the map isn’t overwhelming with objects that may or not be observable. You can find this map here: https://in-the-sky.org/whatsup.php

I was able to go out in two locations on two separate nights to make my observations. Unfortunately, due to weather, those two nights were consecutive. I work out away from the lights of the city (not too far from the university’s observatory, actually) and was able to get a view relatively free from light pollution. I live in the city proper, and I wanted to compare the two views. I used both resources in both locations to contrast and compare how each was able to help me find certain objects and how my locations changed what I was able to view. I made my observations Jan 28 and 29 at approximately 8pm in the country and 11pm in the city. In the country, I was able to see Mars, Pleiades, Casseopia (my favorite constellation), Polaris, Ursa Minor, and Canis Major. In the city I was able to see Orion, the Big Dipper, the Moon, and Sirius. The Moon was something of a limiting factor while making my observations in the country, as it was waxing gibbous or full, and made it difficult to see some of the lower magnitude objects I was hoping to see. I’m looking forward to making more observations during the new moon phase to try to find some of these fainter objects.

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