Any tips for an amateur night sky watcher? How to identify the planets?
Night sky watching is an incredibly fascinating pastime that can consume many hours before you notice. Information is available about stars, constellations and planets, and the space station.
The website below will guide enthusiasts to sky watching, but there are some steps to ensure you see it all and at its best.
1) Ask a friend to accompany you if possible. The view is spectacular and will bring back memories for some time.
2) Check the weather. There is no sense in looking for planets on a cloudy night.
3) Get out of town - literally - you need to be away from lighted areas to upgrade the contrast level of the light reaching your eyes. Tell someone where you are going.
4) Dress for temperatures that may be much cooler than when you leave.
5) Borrow binoculars if you can, but they are not entirely necessary. If you can get hold of a telescope, you will probably need an experienced operator for it because we move so fast relative to things in the sky.
6) If you want to take great photographs, you may need specialized camera equipment. Timed delayed shots will let enough light in, but the object will have moved during the exposure time.
And yes, sky watching and photography were once my pastimes.