Tonight’s View of the Sky – October 6th 2012
Tonight was the first night in a while that I have had the opportunity to go and have a good look at the night sky.
Although I am still without a telescope I decided to do what other astronomy website’s recommend and get to know the sky just using a pair of binoculars.
Reading the Star Chart.
I was using a program called Star Charts on windows 8. Here is a screenshot from the area of the sky I was examining.
As this was really my first time to look at a star chart and the sky and try and identify objects I choose to orientate myself with the moon and use this as my marker.
This was very helpful and it allowed me to easily identify Jupiter, which was just above the moon and very bright. I decided to keep things simple and just try and identify the bright objects around this area.
I focused on the next 3 brightest objects I could see. First 2 points one to the left and one to the right of Jupiter almost in a straight line.
I discovered that these are called Alnath and Aldebaran, After that I noticed another bright star which was up and left from Jupiter. It didn’t take me long to discover on the chart that this was Capella.
It was at this point I felt what I think is the real attraction to backyard astronomy, Being able to look at the sky and identify Planets and Stars, being able to use a chart to identify bright objects you would never have known before and then go research a about them. I cannot wait to get through my research into which telescope I want and get an even more awesome view.
Below is a small description of the stars I identified tonight.
Alnath (Beta Tauri)
Beta Tauri is the second brightest star in the constellation Taurus,Â with an apparent magnitude of 1.68.Â with an apparent magnitude of 1.68.
It is a B class giant which is 700 times brighter than the sun.
This star is approx 130 lights years away
Aldebaran is a red giant star located about 65 light years away in the zodiac constellation of Taurus.
With an average apparent magnitude of 0.87 it is theÂ brightest star in the constellationÂ and is one of the brightest stars in theÂ night-timeÂ sky.
Interestingly, in about two million years, the AmericanÂ space probeÂ Pioneer 10,Â now heading out into deep space, will pass Aldebaran.
They are about 42 light years away andÂ emit about 80 and 50 times more overall light than the sun, respectively.
Both stars are yellow giant stars and are about two and half times the sun.
I wonder is this in the Galaxy far far away, where Luke Skywalker livedÂ 🙂