Arun Waves

September 25, 2012

Star charts

Filed under: Astronomy — Arun @ 11:36 pm
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You can either give your own names to the stars and spin a story about a group of apparently nearby ones or use the star charts to find out the names that the ancestors gave them!! With the laptops/tablets/smart phones becoming ubiquitous, here are two electronic star charts that I use;

  1. http://www.astroviewer.com/interactive-night-sky-map.php – needs internet connection for the free version and sometimes the button under “Interactive night sky map” (top left) does not show up since it needs JAVA to be enabled, otherwise it is my favorite tool. Allows you to choose location and time/date. You can click your way into the past of future, on a minute by minute basis or even on a year by year basis. You can turn things on or off, like constellation names, outlines, grid etc. You can search using star/galaxy/cluster names, simply amazing 🙂
  2. http://www.stellarium.org/ – When being online (on a laptop or tablet) is not feasible then I use Stellarium that can be downloaded for free. Its graphics and interface is different from the AstroViewer but does its job. Caution: someone not comfortable with computers/websites/apps may find it a little challenging in the beginning.

And when all the fancy electronics fails because of low battery, a red light and a paper chart or book will save the day!! I use ‘Skywatching’ by David H. Levy – simple but provides lot of relevant information in an intuitive manner. It has general info chapters, sky charts, and individual constellation descriptions with hints on what can be seen with naked eye, binoculars, and telescopes.

Skywatching

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