Astronomy is one of natures most beautiful endeavors. These endeavors,
as so many of us have seen are no longer beyond our scope, in fact as Mark
Shure has shown us at the Friends of Cedar Creek meeting on November 17,
you don’t even need a telescope to be a watchful observer of constellations.
You could use binoculars but really all you need to know is what to look
for and where. Orion, Pegasus, and Cassiopeia along with the Big Dipper
are among the easiest to spot with the naked eye.
Mark shared many tools with us that are easily obtained via the internet
and pointed us in the right direction with constellation maps. Mark
provided us with a brilliant demonstration of constellations during his
presentation. This has all inspired us all to look to the heavens once
again; despite the Fort Wayne city lights that attempt to dim our view.
This is the closest thing I could find to the umbrella that I used for my
November talk. I can’t vouch for this company, but they have a 99-100%
positive rating on Amazon’s website and sell a lot of other cool/outrageous
Here is information about Jack Horkheimer and his “Star Gazer” series on
our local PBS station, WFWA. According to his website:
“Star Gazer” is the world's only weekly television series on naked eye astronomy.
Each weekly episode features selected objects for naked eye viewing for the following week.
There are two versions of "Star Gazer",one 5 minutes long and the other 1 minute long.
Since these episodes play at odd hours, you might want to view his series
at the link above.
The Moon is our closest celestial neighbor and understanding the phases
is a great way to get acquainted with the changing night sky. This
link to a monthly calendar of the Moon’s phases prints out an
excellent version from your browser. If you’d like a nice graphical
summary of the entire year of Moon phases, try this alternate site.
This is a wonderful source of information for astronomy hobbyists at any
level. Take a look at the This Week’s Sky at a Glance
column to see what’s interesting to look at in the sky tonight. Take a look at the
Getting Started in Astronomy flyer or use the
Interactive Star Chart link to create and print out a map of the sky for any night.
Explore the OBSERVING and HOW TO links in the menu on the left side of the Sky and Telescope main page.
Quoting from the User’s Guide:
Stellarium is a software project that allows people to use their home
computer as a virtual planetarium. It calculates the positions of the
Sun and Moon, planets and stars, and draws how the sky would look to an
observer depending on their location and the time. It can also draw the
constellations and simulate astronomical phenomena such as meteor showers,
and solar or lunar eclipses.
Soon I’ll provide a tutorial to help astronomy novices navigate this
program. It has so many features that it can be intimidating the first time
you use it. I recommend the Stellarium User’s Guide for those who want to
try it out right away.