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Observing the Sky as an Astronomer

Posted January 22, 2019 - by Robert Bigelow

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Many people may have the mistaken idea that they need to own a telescope to get started in astronomy. In reality, there are many astronomical phenomena that are observable with just your eyes. These include:

  • stars and constellations and how their appearance changes over a night and from one season to the next,
  • the repeating pattern of the moon’s phases,
  • the yearly change in the height and rise and set points of the Sun, and
  • the motion of planets against the background stars.

All of these astronomical phenomena can be easily experienced by making regular observations of the sky over time.

Earth within the celestial sphere.
Earth within the celestial sphere. (Illustration credit: fr000)


For an introduction to this subject, join us for Night Vision on Thursday, January 24 or Saturday, January 26 at 6:45 p.m. During this program you will experience examples of what can be observed. We will also discuss basic sky terminology and the astronomical coordinate system that one science writer has described as “ghost lines in the sky”.

Tickets are just $2.00 per person for the public, and free for members of Clark Planetarium. Get your tickets now.