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  1. #1
    KatieV123's Avatar
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    Default I'm very confused



    Hello everyone

    I'm new to astronomy, the thing is I have a real problem working out what I'm looking at even when I'm using books and pictures etc.

    I can find Orion really easily (although not at the moment because of the position of the earth) and tonight I found the Pleiades, which I was quite please with.

    I can see the moon and what I'm guessing is Venus south of it but I'm really not sure - other things I see in the sky I have no idea about, can anyone help me and maybe tell me an easy way to stargaze, because I love doing this as a hobby but am finding it really difficult!

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Majik1911's Avatar
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    Default

    The free program Stellarium helps me quite a bit. I've found a that with the help of books and software, a lot of it is just practice.
    In Soviet Russia,
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  4. #3
    mikec's Avatar
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    Default

    Depending on the amount of light pollution in your area, you may only readily see a couple of stars within a certain constellation. Those would likely be the alpha and beta stars which you can match up to your star charts. Once you identify a constellation, use that as a reference to the next one and find those brightest stars. That's the way I have to do it, being in a red zone. It's not the easiest, but completely doable. After a while, the few stars you can see become very familiar, and you just add on to your knowledge base. BTW, that was definitely Venus below the crescent moon, beautiful wasn't it?
    Mike
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  6. #4
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    Default

    Hi Katie. Welcome to the forum. It takes a while to get to know the sky, but it is fun, and pretty open ended, and you don't have to know that much before you start impressing your friends with your knowledge.
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    We have been broadcasting our presence to the Universe for 100 years now. If there is a detachment of Galactic Pest Control within 100 light years, they are already on the way.

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  8. #5
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    Default

    Katie
    I love doing this as a hobby but am finding it really difficult!
    Yeah, Katie don't bother to much about that. I still mostly have not got much clue about names. I am learning and I am getting better. Just enjoy the beauty for now. The names will come eventually. I usually research an area using stellarium after a viewing session.
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  10. #6
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    Default

    Hi Katie.
    Welcome.
    I sympathise with you.Looking at the sky(especially if its light polluted)and trying to match what you see to a picture in a book can be quite confusing at first.Its because of the difference in scale. Looking at a map and then trying to transfer that to a huge expanse of sky and vice versa can be quite daunting.
    I would suggest you find something you definitely know in the sky and then find that one object on the map. Once you have done that you know where you are in the sky AND on the map. Now pick an object close to your original one and match that to sky and map.
    Now its just a matter of slowly working your way out from the first known object.You will soon get the hang of it. Just take your time and enjoy each new discovery and achievment.
    Three invaluable resources I found were-This site,The computer program 'Stellarium' which is FREE and the book'Turn Left at Orion' by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M.Davis.
    Don't get discouraged.Take it easy and have fun discovering. Oh,and don't forget there are many here to help you.
    Good hunting.
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  12. #7
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    Default

    Hi Katie,

    It is difficult in the beginning but it does get easier. I have been observing about 9 months and it is much easier for me to find stuff now.

    Stellarium would definitely help. If you let us know what kind of scope you have, we might be able to help too.

    You can also look for a local astronomy club where you can go out with more experienced observers and learn from them.
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  14. #8
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    Default

    Firt off...WELCOME!!

    What I think is a very beneficial thing to do is learn the constellations. Take a planisphere or some other chart out and just start learning where things are. I found(find) one good book is NightWatch. It's packed full of a lot of very useful info. It has quite a few charts that will show constellations in the night sky for the four seasons of the year and then has other charts that shows you targets in each of the constellations.

    Another thing to keep in mind, don't think you're no good at all of this just because you're having trouble finding a certain target. It takes time. Don't get in a hurry and cause yourself frustration. The dark come every 12 hours, give or take an hour or two depending on the time of year. If you didn't get something accomplished last night, try it again tonight.
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    Hi Katie, I would definitely second Cloudsbite recommendation of the book Skywatch by Terence Dickinson. It not only has charts for the night sky but also tells you how to use those charts. A planishpere is also a good idea which is nothing more than a sky chart for the entire year with an overlaid plastic sheet that you can move to suit the time of the day and the day of the month. Easier to use than the book when you are trying to learn how to use a chart.
    Balu.
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    I just like this emoticon![/FONT]

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  17. #10
    KatieV123's Avatar
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    Default

    Thank you so much for all your help, I had quite a good night on the 18th as I could see lots in the sky and had my brother in law helping me which is always nice!

    He taught me how to use my telescope and we had a brilliant view of the moon I can't wait until it's full then I will be able to see a lot more.

    Thank you for the suggestions of books and thank you mikec that's a really good way of identifying stars so I will try that next time we have a clear night!

    I love this forum everyone is so helpful! thanks guys :0)

 

 
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