Always eager to help fill your astronomical telescopes with the most brilliant aspects of astronomy, here are a few key dates you need to keep your telescopes free for a little celestial observation! Check out our blog entry “The Best Meteor Showers for 2011” for information on specific meteor showers.
Remember that dates may not be 100% accurate, so keep your eyes peeled just before and after too.
3rd April – Saturn will be at opposition (closest to earth), making it a great time for viewing and photographing Saturn and its moons.
15th June – A total lunar eclipse!
22nd August – Neptune will be at opposition. Obviously great for viewing, but less powerful telescopes will only see a tiny blue dot.
25th September – Uranus at opposition, although to get a good look you’ll need powerful astronomical telescopes.
29th October – Jupiter at opposition (should be fine to view through most binoculars and telescopes)
10th December – Another total lunar eclipse!
In order to best view celestial events, try to find a spot away from artificial lighting, traffic and trees. Remember to let your eyes acclimatise to the darkness. Consider using a red torch or night vision to read guide books and study astronomy charts rather than a regular torch.
You can keep up to date on celestial events via fantastic news websites and forums like www.astronomy.co.uk. Off out star gazing tonight? Be sure to check out their “The Sky Tonight” section in preparation for your star gazing session.
You may be among the people seeking to purchase new telescopes. After all, such pieces of equipment are the perfect way of enabling you to explore the skies and further your interest in all things astronomical.
However, getting your hands on devices like this can be tricky at present due to the festive frenzy being seen in towns and shopping centres across the land.
Consumers are filling up streets and store aisles in their bid to stock up on Christmas presents, cards, wrapping paper, decorations and gifts.
So if you plan to head into a retail outlet to get telescopes, you might want to think again.
After all, you may even struggle to find a parking space and, if and when you eventually succeed in this task, you will still have to battle your way through throngs of people and wait in long queues before you can begin your journey home.
Rather than taking up a small proportion of your day and being easy, such a mission may become stressful soak up many hours.
However, you needn’t despair. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it is now possible for you to source such items from the comfort of your own home or office using the internet.
So, next time you have a spare few moments, you should stick the kettle on and settle down with a relaxing brew while you select and order your item of choice.
And, while you do, spare a thought for those poor folks who weren’t as canny as you were and had to struggle through the Christmas chaos!
Studying the stars is surely one of the most interesting things an individual can do. After all, in some ways it allows us to bridge the gap between where we stand on Earth and those fascinating and illusive entities we see when we look up into the night skies.
Indeed, our interest in such matters is one of the most remarkable features of humans as a species.
After all, no other animal is found star gazing, at least not that we know of.
And many of the cleverest people throughout history have engaged in this endeavour.
So, if you are a parent, you may well be eager to provide your children with the opportunity to come into contact with this discipline.
After all, if they are exposed to such ideas from a young age, they may go on to develop a life-long passion for astronomy. Who knows, they may even go on to make a career out of it.
One of the best ways of allowing boys and girls to engage with the rest of the universe is by providing them with telescopes from an early stage.
By doing this, you are showing them just how grand and intriguing the objects outside of our planet’s atmosphere are.
Depending on the personalities of your youngsters, this may well ignite their imaginations. And at the very least, you are providing them with an advantage when it comes to their education, as they are likely to have a better grasp on such matters than their peers who have not had access to telescopes.
Often, consumers operate under the misconception that in order to get enjoyment from telescopes, you have to be a certain type of person.
For example, it is often thought that those who use such viewing equipment must be an expert in all matters astronomical.
If you hold these beliefs, you are wrong. In fact, it is possible for anyone to get enjoyment out of using such products.
As long as you have a certain amount of patience, you will find that these devices can provide you with the perfect opportunity to explore the world beyond our planet.
And you most certainly do not have to have a degree in astronomy in order to enjoy using them.
In contrast, you may find that if you start utilising telescopes despite not having any background in the field and little knowledge about the universe, you get more satisfaction that those who are experts.
After all, you are opening up a brand new world that you have never before experienced and this is bound to be exciting.
To gaze at the stars using your own viewing device and to be able to start making sense of the objects that appear in front of your lens is an exhilarating feeling.
And of course there are resources widely available on the web and in shops that can help you get to grips with the facts about astronomy.
It is up to you how far you take your newfound interest. You may decide you want to continue learning until you are well versed in the intricacies of the night skies, or you might just enjoy having the occasional glimpse at such wonders.
When you are buying a pair of binoculars, there are many things you should bear in mind.
These include the magnification you require, how large you want the objects to be, whether they need to be waterproof and how much they cost.
All these issues are crucial and neglecting one of them can leave you feeling unsatisfied with your choice.
Another, perhaps less obvious, aspect of such purchases you may want to consider is trying the items out to see how they feel.
If possible, it helps to pick the binoculars up and see whether or not they seem right in your hands.
After all, it is crucial that you feel comfortable using the device and are able to transport it in the necessary way.
You may spend hours at a time using the product and if it feels awkward to hold, this could lessen your enjoyment of the experience. Indeed, it may be enough to put you off altogether.
No one wants to suffer discomfort while making use of the devices.
If you take the time to conduct investigations into how they feel to hold, you will be able to ensure you get an item that is perfect for you.
This means that whether you use them for watching birds, hunting, viewing scenery in the countryside or for any other reason, you will not be distracted by niggles about the ergonomics of your binoculars.
So, before rushing into getting a pair, make sure you have considered how they would feel to hold and, if possible, try them out first.