Since man’s inception, he has gazed awestruck at the stars. Space has long been a thing of fascination, and one we have so vehemently pursued. It has only been sixty or so years since man first embarked on a journey to space, yet already, we are told they are attempting to build colonies in space and are taking families on paid vacations into it. Space is infinite. Space is fascinating. Wherever you are and at whatever time (providing there is not too much light pollution), you can view the stars.
Astronomy is an incredibly interesting subject that many more people should consider taking up. This page will tell you how you can gaze at the stars, and some interesting facts about them should you want to start star watching.
Need a break from city life? Then gaze at the stars.
It is important to add here, when you are taking up astronomy as a hobby, you must have realistic expectations. The professional astronomers at LoveTheNightSky.com say that many first-time astronomers have unrealistic expectations about what they are going to see as a result of astronomy magazines. Setting out into astronomy with realistic and reasonable expectations is the only way to have fun, lest you become bored and angry. Astronomy is not something wherein you will see an alien spacecraft shooting through the stars (we hope), nor will you see a meteor every single waking minute of the day. You must have realistic expectations; otherwise, you will never begin to enjoy the fun that astronomy can offer.
The fun comes from having realistic expectations, and without it, you cannot truly immerse yourself in the wonders of our solar system. Be realistic and be reasonable; therein does the fun lie. Pick up a telescope and set out into your backyard on a dark and starry night, adventure awaits you there.
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What Should You Know?
Below you will find some facts that you must know should you want to have a good time stargazing. The facts below will clear up any misconceptions that you may have about space, thereby allowing you to enter into it with realistic expectations and have a lot of fun.
Number of Stars
You will not, despite what television and music may tell you, see millions of stars when you look out into space. There is a fixed number of stars in our solar system, and of all of them, you will only likely see around two thousand on a good, clear night. It would be nearly impossible to count this number of stars, also, and you would need exceptionally good eyesight to see them all. You should be realistic about what you are expecting to see when you set out stargazing, and whatever you do expect, it certainly will not, and we can promise you, be millions of stars.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Despite what the famous nursery rhyme says, stars do not twinkle. They appear to twinkle or scintillate, as the process is known to professionals when they are close to the horizon. There is a star named Sirius that sparkles and flashes so frequently that people often report it as an alien craft, but in fact, the stars do not flash themselves, and rather it is a result of the light passing through Earth’s atmosphere. When the light passes, it must pass through many layers of different density. This means that by the time the light reaches your eyes, it is bouncing around all over the place, and therefore appears to be twinkling, when in actuality, if you were to see it in space, it would not twinkle.
On a good night stargazing, you can expect to see about 19,000,000,000,000,000 away. There are stars that can be seen much further away, but that is only under specific conditions and specific places in the world. Whereas with the former, you can see this far ordinarily anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, providing it is a good and clear night. The farthest star away that can be seen is the Eta Carina, which is forty-four quadrillion miles away, but only appears faintly under certain conditions, as previously mentioned.
You are not, without a shadow of a doubt, going to see a spacecraft when you are stargazing. Many people begin stargazing solely to see if they can spot aliens, but unfortunately, you are not going to, so drop it. If you are going stargazing with the sole intention of seeing an alien craft, you are wasting your time.
Now you know several fascinating facts about the universe that you may not have known. Hopefully, this page should have brought you back to reality as far as space is concerned yet motivated you, even more, to go out stargazing.