Telescope Viewing, Sunset & Night Sky at the Beach :: August Nature Study

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 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:

They also mentioned that the half moon is a better time to observe the moon than a full moon. We have been looking at the moon with our regular binoculars and will remember that point. 

Through the telescope we observe the Ring Nebula, also known as Messier 57. 

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. 


  1. The Milky Way! Amazing sight isn't it? We try to get up to the mountains during the summer to really see it clearly and it is worth the effort. Right now we have too much smoke from wildfires in the air to see anything but the brightest of night stars. Thanks so much for sharing your entry with the OHC Blog Carnival.


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