Looking up at the stars at the right time

The bright sunshine faded to the west horizon, and the starry night sky appeared gorgeously. At this time, many “star fans” like to look up at the bright starry sky and feel the change of Dou Zhuan Xing Yi. Stargazing makes us more able to feel the charm of the vast universe.

First experience of stargazing
Stargazing is a practical and experiential activity, but it also requires some theoretical knowledge.

Most of the stars we can see in the night sky are stars. They are called stars because in the limited field of vision and life of humans, the relative positions of these stars seen by the naked eye have hardly changed, and the brightness of most of them hardly changes. This will make it easier for us to recognize them. In fact, as long as you remember their positions and outlines through several observations, you will almost never forget them again.

With the rotation of the earth, the stars will have a regular weekday of rising eastward and westward setting like the sun. To observe this feature is actually very simple. Just stand at a place where a bright star is located at a certain marker on a clear night and wait for more than 15 minutes. Then we can clearly perceive the movement of the stars. . If you accidentally choose the North Star as the observation target, then this phenomenon will not be easy to detect, because the Earth’s rotation axis points to the vicinity of the North Star, so the movement range of the North Star is very small, which is difficult to detect with the naked eye. Looking for a highly suitable star to observe in the south will allow us to successfully obtain this discovery and inject our first confidence in stargazing.

There is another law of movement of the starry sky, which is affected by the revolution of the earth. The average rotation of the earth takes 24 hours, but this is relative to the sun. Since the earth is rotating around the sun at the same time, if you take a distant star as a reference, the time for the earth to rotate once is 23 hours and 56 minutes. In this way, the same star will rise 4 minutes earlier than the day before, that is, the time when the same star appears at the same place in the sky will be 4 minutes earlier than the day before, 2 hours in a month, and 6 in a season. The difference in hours. This causes the starry sky we see at 8 o’clock in the evening to be different in different seasons.

After you understand the above knowledge, you can find planets in the night sky with a little observation and recording!

You can tell the difference between planets and stars from their names. As the name suggests, the planets change their positions relative to the stars, as if they are messengers traveling through the night sky. At the same time, the five planets visible to the naked eye in the solar system are very eye-catching in the night sky: Jupiter is the brightest star in the night sky almost all year round; Venus sometimes appears brightest in the evening or dawn; Mars, Saturn and Mercury are the three largest stars. Part of the time is a little flat, but after all, they belong to the “bright star group” in the sky. As long as they are patiently observed, they are also easy to spot.

Next, we can begin to further understand the constellations.

In ancient times, with the constant observation of the starry sky, people gradually became familiar with the stars. In order to facilitate observation and memory, the stars are divided into groups of varying numbers. The stars in a group are connected by virtual lines to form various shapes. People associate with the objects in daily life based on the graphics, give them corresponding names, and give them special mythological stories, so there are constellations. In ancient times, each nation had its own constellation system and constellation culture. Nowadays, the 88 constellation system derived from ancient Greek tradition is widely used.

Stargazing “little assistant” electronic star map software
With the wisdom of the ancients, the starry sky has become easier to identify. But to understand them one by one, we must use some tools. For novices, if there is no teacher’s leadership, the electronic star map software will be the most useful observation assistant.

Here are several free electronic star map softwares, such as Stellarium, star map, starwalk, etc. As long as you adjust the observation location and time, the star map software will simulate the sky including the horizon, planets, stars and constellations, and like a skilled teacher, tell you which constellations are in the sky and where they are. Some mobile phone star maps also have sensors. As long as you lift the phone, it will automatically tell you what the constellation is and what the constellation is in the direction of observation, which is very convenient. Another advantage of the star map software is that it can simulate the astronomical information at any time and anywhere in thousands of years, so it is also a tool used by beginners to advanced astronomical observers and even professionals. In addition, some astronomical software is also very helpful, such as heavens-above, timeanddate, etc.

If you want to better observe the starry sky, telescopes are indispensable equipment.

The telescope’s light collection and magnification function can help us see darker celestial bodies and more details. Even the most common telescope will elevate the stargazing experience to a higher level. For beginners, it is recommended to use binoculars. They are small in size, easy to carry, low magnification, large field of view, and are very suitable for hand-held. Generally speaking, ideal binoculars for astronomical observation should have a diameter of 40 to 56 mm, a magnification of no more than 10 times, and a field of view of 5 to 7 degrees. For telescopes with higher magnification, the jitter when holding it will make it difficult to maintain a stable target in the field of view. At this time, it is more important to connect a tripod to fix the telescope.

If these cannot meet your observation needs, then you need an astronomical telescope. For beginners, there is no need to buy advanced and sophisticated astronomical telescopes at the beginning, because these astronomical telescopes have high requirements for the operator, and unsuccessful observation experience will dampen your self-confidence and lead to self-doubt. It is best to accumulate enough experience and lessons from some simple astronomical telescopes, understand your needs, and then gradually improve your own observation equipment.

reference book
Of course, we also need some tool books that can be studied at home, such as a new astronomical observation practice guide written by experienced astronomy enthusiasts, some astronomical books, magazines, and the latest observation images brought to us by astronomical institutions to discover the charm of astronomical observations. .

Finally, it is emphasized that stargazing is a practical activity that has high demands on the environment. The city lights we now live in are too bright, and the stars are less visible. Stargazing has to go to places with less light pollution outdoors. In addition, stargazing activities are greatly affected by the weather. If you plan to travel far to stargazing, then an accurate local weather forecast is necessary.

Right now is a good season for stargazing, cast your curious eyes of exploring the unknown to the starry sky and feel the unique charm of the universe!