Saturn Taurus Pleaides Mars Venus ******* One way to understand what you are seeing when you look at the sky at night is to use the
Message 1 of 2
, Feb 16, 2004
Saturn Taurus Pleaides
******* One way to understand what you are seeing when you look at the sky at night is to use the clock-face, as pilots do. Face South. "12 o'clock high" is then the upper middle of the southern sky. East then is on your left, at 9 o'clock position, and west is at the three o'clock position on your right. You can only see the top half of the circular clock-face made up of the stars. (Incidentally, this is where our circular, 12-division clocks came from: we used to tell time from the sun by day and stars by night.)
At sunset on any clear night now, Orion the Hunter is about at the 12 o'clock position directly in front of you, while up higher is Taurus the Bull, a V-shaped group of stars with the upper left prong a bright orange-red star, the Bull's Eye. (To its right is a small fuzzy patch of stars, the famous Pleiades.) On your right, brilliant white Venus, the 'evening star', is about at the 2 o'clock position. Saturn is at the 11 o'clock position in the Twins of Gemini.
To Be Continued
******* I m going slow with this to give everyone time to go out and actually look at the sky, rather than have empty abstract concepts. Since the sky can be
Message 2 of 2
, Feb 18, 2004
******* I'm going slow with this to give everyone time to go out and actually look at the sky, rather than have empty abstract concepts. Since the sky can be clouded over, sometimes it takes a few nights to do so enough to follow things.
If you have, however, then by now you get the picture of the sky turning once in 24 hours, so one-twelfth part of it moves one "hour" on the clock face every 2 hours. This can be seen in one night.
As a result of this, a different twelfth part of the sky will rise over the eastern horizon every 2 hours, while the part opposite to it will set at the same time in the west. So, for instance, the constellation Leo, with the bright planet Jupiter below it, is not visible at sunset, but two hours later it has risen in the east. (A person born then would be said to have the constellation Leo "rising" or risen, as well as that planet, Jupiter. Get it?) And as Jupiter and Leo rise, Venus sets over in the West, because it's in the opposite part of the sky.
P.S. Next, we'll think away the "planets" (the "wandering stars"), and just look at the stars for a bit, as if only they were visible.
But I'll return to the planets again by next week, because next week is an excellent time to learn to see them in the night sky: Friday is New Moon. 4 of the 5 visible planets are now in the evening sky and the Moon will go by each one from Feb. 23rd to March 6th, when it will be full near Jupiter.
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