tirsdag 15. desember 2009

Night Sky Obsrvation 9 and 10

This is my 9th and my final night sky observation. Because it was snowing, I couldn't observe the stars or anything, so again I'm going to write about something else: for the 9th observation I'll write about the constellations' history , and for the 10th observation I'll write about how the constellations "move" (it's actually the Earth moving).
Constellations' History (Western Constellations) : Constellations in the western world was first described and made by the Greeks (they might not be the exact first ones in Europe to think up constellations, but the oldest evidence of constellations exisiting comes from Greece). They made up the constellations based on the stories of their gods and goddesses and wrote them in books. These constellations were passed on to the Romans, and the books also survived over time so that people later discovered it (if they haven't already learnt about it from the Romans), and used these constellations themselves. Most of the familiar constellations, such as the constellations of the zodiac, Cassiopeia, Orion, Big Dipper, Ursa major etc. are greek. There are also 2 other major types of constellations, the Indian and the Chinese.

Moving Constellations: If you observe a constellation, say, Orion for a whole night, you'll notice that it doesn't stay at the same place all the time. It goes from the east side of the sky to the west side, when it dissapears (because it is now dawn, too light to see them). This is because the Earth rotates- not because the stars themselves move, that's just an illusion. It is also an illusion that those stars we see as a constellation in the sky are actually close to each other: most of the time, they are many many light years apart from each other- it just looks close from Earth. However, the Big Dipper is a constellation in which its stars really are close together. Also, the types of constellations you can see depends on the season too, as the Earth orbits around the sun and thus the "scenery changes".
Well, this is the end to my Night Sky observation diary. I am dissapointed that there has been so many days with bad weather, because I couldn't observe then. I learned a lot about constellations and how to spot them, though, and now can easily find the Big Dipper and the North Star aka. Polaris (very handy when I get lost!). I wasn't that intrested in constellations so much, but I think this changed my attitude. Watching stars can be fun!

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