Introduction to The Night Sky and Astronomy

Lecture: The Night Sky and Astronomy

Introduction to The Night Sky and Astronomy - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

The first lecture will focus on dark sky etiquette and an orientation to the stars visible with the naked eye and binoculars.

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  • For Beginners (Getting Started Series)

Meet at the Seattle Program Center in Magnuson Park. The workshop will begin at 8:30pm in Cascade A and Cascade B. The workshop will run until 11:30pm.

Students shall learn and demonstrate:

Dark sky etiquette

  • The reason for using red light
  • Dark vision processes and protections
  • Walking and navigating in the dark
  • Using other people’s gear responsibly
  • When and when not to use a laser pointer, and responsible use of the laser pointer

Navigation terminology and use in astronomy

  • Altitude and Azimuth style coordinates
  • Right Ascension and Declination style coordinates
  • See how these methods differ using known objects.
  • If this course is done during the evening, then locating visible objects using
    these methods will be performed.

Identification and navigation to constellations

  • Understanding and using a planisphere
  • What constellations are, and which are available during different times of the year, and why this changes over the year
  • Using a laser pointer to trace a number of constellations (responsibly, following dark sky etiquette)

Identification and navigation to the planets

  • Identification of the different planets that are viewable from the Northern
  • Discussion of seasonality and location in the sky
  • Discussion of closest approach, oppositions, and many-year cyclical nature of
    altitude and angular size
  • The timing of different features of Jupiter and its moons
  • The timing of the apparent tilt of Saturn’s rings

Use of binoculars in astronomy

  • Understanding different specifications of binoculars
  • Focusing and diopter use
  • Using binoculars to observe asterisms and features of the Moon

Identification and navigation to asterisms

  • What asterisms are, and which are available
  • Using constellations and pointer starts to help navigate
  • Using binoculars observe the asterisms and point them out using a laser pointer

Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

See course description. 

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