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Very Basic Astronomy


Astronomy is the science of looking at the sky. Although it's handy to have an enormous telescope and some expert knowledge of the science of astronomy, it's not essential. There is some very basic astronomy which can be done, the results of which are amazing. Most people never try this, and never see a glimpse of the wider universe. Here's the sort of thing I mean...

* If you look at the sky on a clear dark night out in the wilds away from streetlights, after about ten minutes you start to be able to see a great many more stars than you might expect. After twenty minutes the number of stars you can see is breathtaking!

* If you look at the night sky around midnight for just a few minutes you are likely to see spacecraft. Not as uncommon as might be supposed. Satellites can be seen flying over, in orbit, travelling at about 18,000MPH. They look like points of light slowly travelling across the star background. If you already know about this, try demonstrating it to someone who has never seen it. They'll be astonished.

* Modern ordinary binoculars of the type used at the races are more powerful than the telescope used by the famous ancient astronomer Galileo! If you look at the night sky using binoculars you can see objects which are unseen by 90% of the population. For example, the moons of Jupiter. Don't take my word for it - try it! More about this at the page of Galilean Satellites

* Astronomy does not need to involve getting a stiff neck. It's possible to use a "moonlounger". That is, a sunlounger deployed at night. This, or any other kind of bed placed outside at night, allows for comfortable observation of the sky.