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Blog!ARU: Replies

The Original Entry:

Here's Mud in Your Eye

Sun 10th Nov 2002 23:27 BST by Andrew from Bath, U.K.

Hmmm, must remember to buy a crud catcher or some such thing. 25 mph, mud, contact lenses and pitch-black country lanes don't mix very well. Cloudy morbid day when I went riding earlier at about 3pm, but a lovely clear and frosty night now. Saw an urban fox tonight, well, if it had been startled later than it was I might have run over it!

Lots of stars out. I must admit that I haven't been watching the night sky like I used to. The last time I looked was the night of the Perseids, also whilst out riding. Looking about now, The Pleiades are back, Vega and the Summer Triangle are well down in the north-west at this time of night (although overhead at sunset). Orion and his retinue are rising over the eastern horizon and Auriga is approaching the zenith. The thinner side of the Milkyway is rising from the east with Orion, whilst the thicker side can be seen after sunset almost north-to-south, maybe from a dark site, if you can find one, you'll see the obscuring dust lanes and clouds in Cygnus.

If you're interested in learning what's up there then go buy a planisphere, 5 or 10 pounds, with the 10 quid one the more useful size. They're just 2 pieces of circular printed plastic, you turn one so that it points to the current time on the other disc, then hold it over your head with the north marker pointing, er, north. Everything you can see in the sky is shown on the bit of star chart showing through the top disc. Now you can learn the names of most of the stars you can see, learn what stars are in what constellations. You can of course set the date to any that you like and so find out what the sky looks like at a given time on another night. This way you can begin to understand why winter nights are longer than summer ones, find out what time the sun will rise and set, when is best to view the moon, where to look in general for the bright planets, see where the sun or moon will be in the sky in months to come and guess that we live in a big disc of stars but offset towards an edge. I think that's 10 pounds well spent!

I'm currently feeling calm
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