The Night sky on any clear night offers an ever-changing display of fascinating objects you can see, from stars and constellations to bright planets, the moon, and sometimes special events like meteor showers. From Night sky, cycle and patterns of the sun, moon, and stars can also be observed.
Our ancestors experienced a sky brimming with stars – a Night sky that inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature. The natural Night sky is our common and universal heritage, yet it’s rapidly becoming unknown to the newest generations.
Observing the Night sky can be done with no special equipment, although a sky map can be very useful, and a good telescope or binoculars will enhance some experiences and bring some otherwise invisible objects into view. You can also use astronomy accessories to make your observation easier.
Experiencing the Night sky provides perspective, inspiration, and leads us to reflect on our humanity and place in the universe. The history of scientific discovery and even human curiosity itself is indebted to the natural Night sky
You can also capture the Night sky by using any of the best cameras for astrophotography, along with a selection of the best lenses for astrophotography. and sometimes special events like meteor showers. Night sky photography classes are a great way to learn how to take photos of the stars and are offered by companies.
The southern skies are often the best for viewing because the South Pole faces the Milky Way. The Milky Way is low in the sky in the winter and high in the sky in the summer. Different seasons bring out different constellations as the earth revolves around the sun.
Light pollution comes from street lights, factories, houses and roads – so find a spot as far from all of those as is reasonable. This is most likely to be many miles away from the hazy glow of a town or city. It is estimated that only 10% of the world’s population can see the Milky Way due to light pollution.
Even from a big city, one can see the moon, a handful of bright stars, and the brightest planets – if they are above the horizon. But to fully enjoy the heavens — especially a meteor shower, the fainter constellations, or to see the amazing swath across the sky that is the disk of our home galaxy, the Milky Way — rural areas are best for Night sky viewing.
Few city-dwellers get to see the splendor of the Night sky, owing to light pollution, so it helps to find a safe, comfortable spot away from city lights—such as a park or campsite. If you’re stuck in a city or suburban area, use a tree or dark building to block ambient light (or moonlight) and help reveal fainter sky objects. If you’re in the suburbs, simply turning off outdoor lights can help.
If you wish to observe fainter objects, such as meteors, dim stars, nebulas, and galaxies, give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Astronomers call this process ‘dark adaptation’ and it takes about half an hour. Avoid looking at your phone’s bright screen by keeping it tucked away. If you must use it, set the brightness to minimum — or cover it with clingy red film.
After your eyes have relaxed, opened up their pupils to take account of the reduced light levels and released special chemicals to enhance their sensitivity, you won’t believe how many more stars you can see than when you first arrived.
After your eyes have adjusted, begin to look for stars and constellations creating patterns in the sky. Planets and satellites will also come into view as your eyes adjust. The longer you look to the sky, the more likely you will see a shooting star or meteor.
On the days surrounding first quarter, the moon is visible in the afternoon daytime sky. At last quarter, the moon rises before sunrise and lingers into the morning daytime sky. When Venus is at a significant angle away from the sun it can often be spotted during the day as a brilliant point of light – but you’ll need to consult an astronomy app to know when and where to look for it.
Winter skies are often the clearest skies to observe at night. The haze and blur at night that come from humid and hot summer days is nonexistent. Planets and comets are often best viewed about a half-hour before or after sunset, depending on the time of year.
If you want to choose a good time for nighttime sky views according to what phase the moon is in. A new moon, or when the moon is in a crescent phase, is the best time as the moon’s light will not be a factor. If you are interested in seeing details of the moon through a telescope, choose a time when the moon is waxing or waning.
When large sunspots develop on the sun, they can be seen without a telescope — as long as you use proper solar filters, such as eclipse glasses. Permanent eye damage can occur if you look at the sun for any length of time without protective eyewear.
The Night sky is one of the most spectacular scenes we get to witness. While stars shine because they emit their own light, our moon and planets shine because they reflect the sunlight.
Moon comes at number 1 in brightest objects in the Night sky. The brightness of the moon is different for different phases and it has a maximum apparent magnitude of -12.74. Venus is the brightest planet in the Night sky. It is the second brightest object during the night and has a maximum apparent magnitude of -4.8. Venus is so bright because the clouds on Venus are highly reflective.
Jupiter is the third brightest object in the Night sky just because of its sheer size. The distance of Jupiter from the Earth is about 8 times the distance of Mars from the Earth. Still, Jupiter appears brighter than mars for the most part. Jupiter has a maximum apparent magnitude of -2.94.
Mars, the red planet comes at number four on this list. There are times however when Mars appears brighter than Jupiter. Its maximum apparent magnitude is -2.94. The smallest planet in our solar system is the fifth brightest object in the Night sky. Its maximum apparent magnitude is -2.43. Mercury can only be seen in the twilight hours because of its close proximity to the Sun.