Monday, December 29, 2008


5:15 - naked eye viewing of tiny sliver of waxing crescent moon, about 10 degrees above my horizon, Venus about 50 degrees and Jupiter about 10 degrees. I could see the dark side of the moon a little because it was so close to sunset, but was on my way to Costco with no camera. :(

10:00-10:30 - I've been practicing with star charts in my copy of "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" that I got from Dave's parents for Christmas, and a library copy of "Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe". Both of them are AWESOME.

Anyway. With my Opa's binoculars tonight, I saw:
-Orion (plus identified the stars Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, and Rigel within it)

-Sirius (a star in Canis Major...the light pollution was too bad for me to see the whole constellation

-Castor and Pollux (two stars in Gemini, again with the light pollution)

-what I think was part of Taurus (Aldebaran, the second major star in that constellation. Capella was directly overhead, which meant I would have had to look through my balcony roof and several others above me)

-a freaking NEBULA in the middle of Orion (it's just below his belt. I wonder if it has a crude nickname...*snicker*)

-the Pleiades, a cluster of seven stars, although I could only make out six for sure. These ones hurt my neck...they were very up, which is when I wish I had a lawn chair or an air mattress or something.

I think the coolest part is looking up and recognising shapes out of all the bits and bobs that are out there!!! I love Casseopeia, but she's in the north and I face south...she's one of the first constellations (not counting Dippers [which aren't actually true constellations!!] or Orion.) I ever identified, way before I was interested in astronomy.

I might've seen the Big Dipper, but it was partially blocked by buildings, but there seemed to be some stars in the right spots.

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