Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Night Sky

  It's that time of year when here in Colorado I get a tease of the Southern Constellations.  Only around now are they visible.  By reference, below the very familiar-to-all constellation of Orion...

  The little center star in his "sword" is actually the Orion Nebula, which is pretty neet, and through binoculars or an okay telescope looks like this:

  and then more fully, with a better telescope at about 50x looks like this:

   I get to see Lepus the Rabbit (as in the movie starring DeForest Kelley, Night of the Lepus).

  Very faintly, on the horizon, below Lepus is Columba "the Dove".  At the horizon it's expanded so its size is about thumb-to-pinky if extending your arm outwards.

  It's really hard to see anything below Columba, and there's not too interesting constellations besides; only Pictor and Caelum are the below it at a maximum horizon-view, and they're boring, 3-star constellations (barely a constellation, truly).  To the left of  the star SIRIUS, aka "The Dog Star" Sirius and down is Puppis.."The deck of the ship".

.. and even tonite, a little further down, Vela "The sails of the ship".. and a hint of Carina "The keel of the ship".

  It's all upside-down though, as they're southern constellations and would appear backwards in the southern hemisphere.  Orion would be upside-down as well, as shown here:

  If you like this, there's a free program you can download here:

You'll have to enter your location as it defaults to France but it's really cool.  Enjoy that.

  Still, it's a shame I can't see the southern constellations myself.  I almost got to see Crux "The Southern Cross" but humidity and low-horizonal cloud-cover prevented me from it in February in Barbados near Venezuela.  It is my quest to see it someday, as well as Alpha Centauri to the left of it.  To me, the deepest space-mysteries lie in the southern hemipshere, such as the Magellanic Clouds and other naughty space-things that suggest intergalactic civilizations.  The southern hemisphere has about twice as many starry things.  Shame the Aussies hoard it, and the Argentinians don't know what to do with it, though viewing in their mountains suggest very clear night-skies.  JEALOUS!!!

Until tomorrow, happy star-hunting!

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