Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Light-post mania

Whoever decided to put the lights on my street must really have an issue with the dark. It is like blazing daylight. I'd really considering joining that Night-Sky organization now, except monetary contribution is a requirement. Maybe I'll ask for a membership for Christmas or something.

In any case, my fiance and I did manage to find a place on a road fairly close to mine. Not the absolute best, but I should be able to make out constellations at least. I couldn't last night because of a whole bunch of clouds and a moon nearing full, but now I have a place to go! I don't think the clouds are supposed to be too bad tonight (especially after my typical bedtime, naturally), so I think I'm gonna take a shot and figure out how to find some constellations I couldn't before.

Fred Schaaf in his book suggests the constellations Cygnus, Scutum, Serpens Cauda and Sagittarius as constellations that are in good view in August. Cygnus (the swan) I have found before and can probably find without too much difficulty.

The really big bright star Deneb is in a triangle of stars known as the "Summer Triangle". Vega in the constellation Lyra and Altair of the constellation Aquila are the other two.

Sagittarius will be hanging out in the south behind a bunch of trees, so that won't be a good thing to look for, so I am going to aim for Scutum and Serpens Cauda, which are still on the southerly side, but probably findable. Although it took me a long time just to find them on the star map. Small little buggers! They are hanging out in the Milky Way band. If my look-out spot is dark enough to see that, I will throw a party on here tomorrow. Ice cream for all!


  1. Sagittarius is a really hard constellation to see because it's so close to the horizon. Fun fact... the center of the Milky Way is in the direction of Sagittarius.
    Are you going to learn the northern circumpolar constellations, beyond ursa major and minor which everyone knows? There pretty easy to learn and spot in the sky.

  2. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/SagSumMW_dp_big.gif

    I actually like this picture better

  3. Yup, I'm gonna learn all the constellations visible from where I am. As far as circumpolar, with my very well-lit street, I can spot the big dipper, the little dipper, Cassiopeia, and a part of Draco. I have trouble finding it's head but I can usually find where it loops around the Little Dipper. I'm not sure if I'm missing any. It's quite possible. Something worth checking out. Thanks!