In the remainder of this section, I shall discuss the various points of interest on a month-by-month basis.  First dealing with major sights of January, then February, followed by March, etc.  For each month, the observations described can be done at 10 PM local mean time on the first day of the month, 9:30 PM on the seventh day,  9 PM on the sixteenth, 8:30 PM on the twenty-third, or 8 PM on the thirtieth.  If you wish to do these observations on other nights of the month, it is very easy to figure the time when you need to do your observations.  Suppose that you want to observe on January 4, obviously, this date is about half way between January 1 and January 7.  According to my above description, on January 1 the proper observation time is 10 PM while on January 7 it is 9:30 PM, you only need to split the difference between those two times to get the answer you seek.  Hence, the proper time to make the observations on January 4 would be approximately 9:45 PM. 

Go outside into the dark at least ten minutes before you begin your observing.  The reason you should come out a little early is so that your eyes can adapt themselves to the darkness.  Once they have adapted, you will be able to see much fainter stars than you would have otherwise. 

You may wish to refer to one of the illustrations in this book when you are out observing.  To do this use a red light.  A flashlight (what the British refer to as a torch) whose glass face has been painted with red fingernail polish will work nicely.  Why red light?  Because it is the only type of light that will not ruin your eye’s dark adaption. 

Eventually, you will not need to choose a particular time to go outside to find what you seek among the stars.  After you have located something several times, you will be able to recognize it from its appearance - no matter where it is in the sky and regardless of what time it is. 

From this point forward we shall use Polaris as our starting point when we navigate the starry heavens.  Probably the best thing to do is to talk about how the appearance of the sky changes during the course of a year.

 

copyright 2004 Singularity Scientific, all rights reserved.

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