After almost a full year of trying, we finally made it to one of the telescope viewing evenings at the University! We learned a lot while waiting our turn for the telescope, sitting in a classroom and listening to one of the Royal Astronomy members talking about the night sky.
We learned about Stellarium.org. A free download similar to the iPad app Sky Walk. Stellarium is "a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope".
I took some notes while we were in the classroom. The main note was about Stellarium, but I also had a few other interesting points to investigate further with Andre and Celeste:
On Sunday, we drove to Brackley Beach around 7pm. The plan was to stay and look at the sunset, then lay down on our beach blanket and observe the stars. Andre and Celeste had a nice evening swim, while Adrienne and I read. A little family photo (minus Adrienne who was taking the picture).
The sun set around 8:05pm and it was beautiful but the mosquitoes came out and drove us off the beach. We sat in the car while we waited for the sky to go completely dark.
We saw so many more stars and recognized constellations better than in town. We also saw the Milky Way! We had never seen this, what a sight, even if it was faint. We did step outside the car for a few minutes at a time to see even better. We all want to come back, when it is colder and hopefully without the mosquitoes. All my children want a telescope now too...
I don't have any photos of the night sky. My camera decided to give me trouble right at the time that the sunset started. All my photos are from my iPod touch. Hopefully I can fix my camera quickly.
This month's focus for nature study was inspiring and we all learned a lot. You can visit the Handbook of Nature Study blog to find out more about the Outdoor Hour Challenge.