Saturday, December 28, 2013

Got A New Telescope?

Hey Space Placers!

Did Santa bring you a new telescope or binoculars perhaps? Not sure what to look at with it?

Before you head out under the stars make sure you read the manual that came with your 'scope and familiarize yourself with all of the features in the daylight before you head out in the dark.

It would be very helpful to have a red lens flashlight to use at night to preserve your night vision and be able to find things. I use a red-LED headlamp and a flashlight and could not operate without them.

You also need a star atlas or sky guide book to help learn your way around the sky. If you have a computer controlled "Go To" 'scope this helps in finding your way around, but it helps to know the sky the old fashioned way too.

You are in luck because there are quite a few treats in the sky right now.

1st up is Venus in the southwest sky. It is headed towards the western horizon fast and will be gone from the evening sky. Venus is in an ever widening crescent phase which can be seen in binoculars. You can see the pic I took in the daytime of Venus with my 'scope in an earlier blog.

In the East Jupiter is rising shortly after sunset and is visible all night. It is high in the sky which helps with the seeing - the steadiness of the atmosphere - in looking at the myriad of detail. The four main moons that Galileo discovered with his telescope are a delight to watch as they are always changing.

The Moon in a real pleasure to view in binoculars and a telescope. There is always something new to be seen on the Moon each night.

A variety of deep sky objects are easily visible in the winter sky but the Orion Nebula takes center stage. Again you can see in my earlier blog a pic I took along with the Double Cluster in Perseus and the Andromeda Galaxy.

You can read more here.

Enjoy your new 'scope and here's to clear skies!

Sky Guy in VA

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