Where to observe the sky?

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You have already noticed that during the night the light dazzles and it takes time then to see again in the darkness. To observe the sky and to see the dim light, you must stay in the dark for at least 5 or 10 minutes so that your eyes become more sensitive to dim lights. If you use a flashlight, cover the lens with a red filter to prevent it from dazzling you during the night. Otherwise you will have to wait several minutes to see the sky.

Unfortunately many places are lit by starting with places near homes. You must either turn off all these lights, which is often impossible, or get away from many kilometers of any lighting and place you in a very dark place, in the middle of a field or on a desert road where no car. There you will see many more stars.

Of course as it is night, for your safety you have to go with an adult who can help you find your way and recognize the stars. Also take a mobile phone.

Also think to dress warmly if you observe the sky during the night. In our temperate countries it often freezes at night between November and April.

Take a flashlight with a red filter, a map or a small atlas of the sky that will help you recognize the constellations and familiar objects to observe.

If you have an instrument, a pair of binoculars, a spotting scope, a small telescope or a telescope, ask a member of your family to accompany you on the field because all this material quickly becomes bulky and heavy enough. And then two or more is still more fun!

If you go to the place of observation by car, it is also useful to take with you one or two folding chairs, a few treats and hot drinks to comfort you because after one or two hours, you may have to be hungry or want to sit down.

Once on the ground, remember that in the Northern Hemisphere the stars rise to the east, go south to go to sleep in the west, like the Sun or the Moon. Look especially on the south side, because it is the place where the stars rise the highest in the sky, it is called the South meridian.

The higher the stars, the darker the sky will be and the more stars and interesting objects you will see (artificial satellites, shooting stars, Milky Way, etc.). On the other hand, near the horizon you will see only a luminous orange halo emitted by the light of the roads and the lighting of the city. That’s why you have to get as far away from these lights as they keep you from watching the sky. It is said that this light “pollutes” the sky like carbon dioxide and the fumes of factories pollute the air.


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