Six questions that drive us nuts because we are asked these constantly. So here’s our different takes on the possible answers.
We’re doing a weekly update for the night sky, because there’s so many awesome things to look at and a monthly update just doesn’t do justice. This week the planets do a bit of a dance and we get to have a look at some deep sky objects that we haven’t seen for a while.
Another year is upon us and January offers a great opportunity to get out and observe the night sky after making the best of those long summer evenings.
We got the chance to take the binoculars out for their first run last night and had a great time dodging clouds to get some great views of some of our favourite objects.
Globular Clusters are a fascinating objects to view and can be easily seen with binoculars, they are groups of ancient stars huddled together and orbiting the central bulge of our galaxy.
Everyone knows about water on Mars, but very few people could brag like I can that they have discovered Hot Chocolate on Mars!
A description of how big the Solar System is with everyday items.
The evening sky is mostly devoid of visible planetary landscapes, with the exception of Mars and Jupiter late in the morning and Uranus and Neptune throughout most of the night (which you will need a telescope to see).
This is an astrophotographer-friendly blog, about what is in the night sky in August 2017.
Out I went and nothing prepared me for what I saw that night. On the pitch dark sky of Wairarapa, with luscious hills that hold the horizon in sweet curves that rest the eye, a luminous whirlpool of stars was erupting from the east. Silver river of stars, one of its arms was meandering the eastern horizon in oval arched loops like an octopus’s arm that passed a Southern Cross marking the 12 o’clock position on the celestial time keeper of the south. The galactic arm was thinning down towards the western horizon and righteously so as the further we go from Scorpius and Sagittarius, we are actually looking towards the outskirts of our galaxy, where fewer stars venture. I stood there in silence watching the slow rising of the Galaxy and I realised that it was for the first time in my life when I was truly seeing it with my eyes.
In Maori, tahi, rua, toru means one, two, three. So Atu-tahi – One, Taku-rua – Two, Tau-toru – Three,
or you can count Sirius (1) / Canopus (2) / Alpha Centauri (3) / Arcturus (4) No matter what you prefer, these stars will be there in the evening of May.
“Any photographer that has a question that needs an answer can use PhotoPills. Beginners use it to find sunrise and set times, golden hour and blue hour times and for basic calculations like depth of field. Then we have the photographers that plan their Sun, Moon and Milky Way shots… it all depends on your needs.”
At the fringe of our milky city of stars, on the north-western horizon, the Pleiades, the Shining Ones (Te Tawhiti) are preparing for the journey to the underworld. They are to disappear shortly behind the Sun and will stay there for a while.
And the explanation goes that since people of old did not really have an explanation about space, in trying to figure out where exactly the Pleiades went, they invented a underworld. This is probably one of the reasons why this group of stars is so linked to stories of death, rebirth, and ancestors, and used to mark the beginning of the year in some cultures.
You can read in detail about The Sky of September here. It will be the same year after year, Pluto and all.
Relax, Pluto WILL not go anywhere soon
In fact Pluto takes 248 years to orbit the Sun as it orbits at an average distance of 5.9 billion km from the Sun, while Earth only orbits at 150 million km. This means that it will take Pluto almost 20 years to shift into another constellation.
Everything else you need to know
Finding directions from the stars has never been easier. In the modern times, everyone has a phone app.
However, there are some old tricks just in case you run out of battery. Having said that, my colleague and cartoonist Eugene G and me (still unable to get over my engineering degree) are preparing an engineer’s guide to finding South by the stars.
In the meantime, here is the description of how to do that anyway with or without maps.