Star gazing is a hobby for many people in the world. On any given day, step out and see the clear sky in night. If you are in a big city, you might see hundreds of twinkling stars. If you live in a small town (or) country, mountains, on the plains, etc., you can see thousands of stars.
A meteor may be seen in the sky overhead, but what you actually see is a tiny piece of comet dust moving. If you use a space telescope and have a pair of powerful binoculars, you may be able to see more closely the heavenly bodies. At a big observatory, you can see more stars. The ancient sages noted three things brightness, position and colour by which they were able to distinguish the celestial objects.
Some basic things which you can distinguish in the sky are
- Stars from planets
- Observing constellations
- Degree of brightness
- Measuring or charting sky position
Understanding Planets and Stars
In the ancient world, they noticed five spots of light move in the sky. They are the five planets Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn. Some moved ahead and some looped back. Stars twinkle but planets do not twinkle. Planets are smaller or bigger than the earth but all are much smaller than the Sun.
Stars : Ancient Astronomers did mark imaginary figures like the Great Bear. They identified each constellation with a pattern of stars. Today it is divided into 88 constellations. The largest one is Hydra and the smallest is the Crux. Individual stars of each of the constellations do not have any relation with each other. Just for our better understanding, we have drawn out the constellations. All the stars and constellations were named especially the brighter stars with Greek letters either by ancient Greeks or by contemporary Astronomers.
Based on the brightness, they were named. The star Atlas has undergone change over the years. The brightness has also changed (or) altered over the period of years since it was documented.
Other sky objects
Stars were named but there were other sky objects like galaxies, nebulae, star cluster, etc. which are to be identified. These were analysed and identification called Messier catalogue was formed. You can find all the Messier objects in Messier catalogue website.
Brightness of the stars is called the magnitude of the stars. They are classified on basis of ‘’degree of brightness’’ often in multiple times, eg. 100 times.
Everything in Astronomy revolves around gravity. The gravitational force depends on mass and separation of the celestial objects.
The Moon orbiting the earth, the earth orbiting the Sun and Sun orbiting the centre of the milky way and why a star planet is round etc. were explained by Sir Issac Newton in concept of gravity, whereas the Einstein theory explained to us the concept of total eclipse of Sun, why black holes exist, why earth drags warped space and time around it.
Everything in space is moving and nothing is static. Because of gravity, other celestial bodies are pulling on a star, planet or galaxy. The universe has no center.
An attempt has been made to introduce Astronomy without a single technical Jargon. Get a telescope today and start doing star gazing from today night. Internet gives load of information and data which will enable the star gazing enjoyable, interesting and worthy activity.
Mooshika vahana modaka hasta, Chamara karna vilambita sootra
Vamana roopa Maheswara putra, Vighna vinayaka paada namaste
Salutations to the Lord Ganesha, who has a mouse for a vehicle and a modak in his hand. Your ears are like big fans and you wear a sacred thread. You’re short in stature and the son of Lord Shiva. I bow to you Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles.