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....AUGUST 2018 NIGHT SKY.. AUGUSTO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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….August is the month most expected by everyone who loves the shooting stars. The Perseids, called locally Tears of Saint Lawrence, are back and around the 12th of the month they are filling our island's skies with their brilliant lights. This year too, the absence of the Moon and the presence of the 4 major planets will make this event even more special, if possible. As a long time tradition, the Antigua's municipality organizes a public and free observation in the Prehispanic village of La Atalayita (information in 928 549653), but you can admire them from all the dark places of the island.

And back to the planets, in the Firmament it's easy to find Venus to the West in the first hours after sunset, while Jupiter shines very high during most of the night. A telescope reveals his dark atmospheric bands and his 4 major satellites, bright dots dancing restlessly around the giant. From the East, Saturn will leave you incredulous when admiring his famous rings, and sometimes also a few of his more than 60 satellites. Mars, the Red Planet, destination of so many exploring missions, is also reaching this area following his apparent retrograde movement.

The Moon accompanies us in the second part of the month. Her mountains, her seas and her craters are all a surprise due to their sharpness and closeness through the telescope, leaving us fascinated every time we admire them.

Clear skies to everybody! ..

Agosto es el mes más esperado por todos los amantes de las estrellas fugaces. Vuelven las Perseidas, las Lágrimas de San Lorenzo, que alrededor del 12 de este mes llenan los cielos de nuestra isla con sus brillantes destellos. Este año, la ausencia de Luna y la presencia de los 4 planetas mayores en el cielo nocturno hará de este evento algo aún más especial. Como ya es tradición, el Ayuntamiento de Antigua organiza una observación pública y gratuita en el Poblado Prehispánico de la Atalayita (información en el 928 549653), pero el espectáculo podrá admirarse desde todos los sitios oscuros de la isla.

Y volviendo a los planetas, en el Firmamento destaca Venus, que se pone bastante pronto en el Oeste, así como Júpiter, que brilla muy alto en el cielo ya a la caída de la noche. El telescopio nos revelará sus bandas atmosféricas oscuras y sus 4 satélites mayores, unos puntos brillantes que danzan incansablemente a su alrededor. Cada vez más alto en el Este, Saturno deja a todo el mundo admirado al contemplar sus anillos, con frecuencia también acompañados por algunos de sus más de 60 satélites. También Marte, el Planeta Rojo destino de tantos programas de exploración, va acercándose a esta zona en su aparente movimiento retrógrado.

La Luna nos acompaña en la segunda mitad del mes. Sus montañas, sus mares y su cráteres nos sorprenden por su nitidez y su aparente cercanía a través del telescopio, dejándonos fascinados cada vez que los admiramos.

¡Cielos despejados para todos! ….

....MAY 2018 NIGHT SKY.. MAYO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....From the first hours of the night, the May sky is dominated by 2 brilliant objects: the planet Venus toward the West and the planet Jupiter towards the East. For the lovers of the telescopic observation, the second one, the giant of the Solar System who crosses the constellation of Libra, is more interesting, with his 4 satellites visible as brilliant dots rapidly moving around his equator. If the night is clear, it is not difficult to distinguish also the dark bands of the outer atmosphere of the planet, which hide storms of incredible size, bigger that our Earth. More to the South, the beautiful constellations of Centaurus and Southern Cross are peeping out of the horizon of Fuerteventura: we should not miss the opportunity to admire our neighbor star Alfa Centauri nor the fantastic cluster called Omega Centauri, both visible with naked eyes, but revealing their secrets only through a telescope.

May starts with the Moon just after the full phase, which will be present back by the end of the month. In order to enjoy the observation in her best days, we recommend to wait for the waxing phase, after day 20th in this month.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Desde las primeras horas de la noche, el cielo de Mayo está dominado por dos brillantes luceros: el planeta Venus hacia el Oeste y el planeta Júpiter hacia el Este. Para los apasionados de la observación telescópica, es más interesante este segundo objeto, el gigante del Sistema Solar que cruza la constelación de Libra, con sus 4 satélites visibles como puntitos luminosos en rápido movimiento alrededor de su ecuador. Si la noche es clara, no es difícil tampoco distinguir las bandas oscuras de la atmósfera superior del planeta, que esconden tormentas de tamaño colosal, más grandes que nuestra Tierra.  Mirando en el cielo más al Sur, las bonitas constelaciones de la Cruz del Sur y del Centauro se asoman al horizonte de Fuerteventura: no debemos perder la oportunidad de admirar nuestra estrella vecina Alfa Centauri ni el maravilloso cúmulo llamado Omega Centauri, ambos visibles a simple vista, pero cuyos secretos sólo están al alcance de un telescopio.

La Luna empieza Mayo justo después de la fase de plenitud, que vuelve también en la última semana. Para disfrutar mejor de su observación, es recomendable esperar a la fase creciente, que este mes se da pasado el día 20.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!....

....FEBRUARY 2018 NIGHT SKY.. FEBRERO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....February is possibly the most interesting month for the observation of the Winter night sky from the Canary Islands. With the constellation of Orion very high in the first hours of the night, it is possible to admire one of the most popular and most photographed objects of the Deep Sky, the nebula M42, a fantastic star nursery found in the sword of the mythical sky hunter. This same area is very rich of telescopic targets, such as the close Gemini and Taurus, starting from the many open clusters, one of the big views of this season, or other more exotic, such as the Crab nebula, famous remnant of a supernova explosion registered some 1000 years ago. 

While we are waiting for the big planets to be back at accessible hours, for the lovers of the Solar System the Moon is present as all months; her full phase is in the first days and then will come back in the final week. Her craters, her seas and her mountains, which a telescope allows us to admire from hundreds of thousands of kilometers, will always be a fascinating view for all people.

Clear skies to everybody!  .. 

El mes de febrero es posiblemente el más interesante para la observación del cielo del invierno desde las Islas Canarias. Con la constelación de Orión ya bien alta en las primeras horas de la noche, es posible admirar uno de los objetos más llamativos y más fotografiados del Cielo Profundo, como es la Nebulosa M42, admirable criadero de estrellas localizado en la espada del mítico cazador celeste. Esta zona, así como las cercanas de Gémini y de Tauro, es muy rica en objetivos telescópicos, destacando los numerosos cúmulos abiertos, gran atractivo del cielo de esta estación, y otros más exóticos, como la Nebulosa del Cangrejo, famoso remanente de una explosión de supernova registrada hace casi mil años.
A la espera de que los grandes planetas vuelvan a ser observables en las primeras horas de la noche, para los amantes del Sistema Solar como cada mes está presente el objetivo más llamativo de todos, es decir la Luna, en fase de plenitud en los primeros días de mes y que vuelve a brillar en la última semana. Sus cráteres, sus mares y sus montañas, que el telescopio nos permite admirar desde cientos de miles de kilómetros, no dejan indiferente a nadie.

¡Cielos despejados para todos! ....

....DECEMBER 2017 NIGHT SKY.. DECEMBRE 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....The Moon, reaching her full phase on day 3rd, enlightens the first nights of December, inviting unforgettable walks through the dunes or along the shoreline of the sea; however, if you would like to enjoy the best observing moments of our satellite - with her incredible craters and mountains - it is recommendable to wait for the next cycle, beginning in the last week of this month.

An important date around the middle of December uses to be the maximum of the Geminids, the most reliable shooting star shower of the last years. With up to 120 meteors per hour expected during the nights of the 13th and 14th. A good suggestion is to dedicate a few hours to the observation of this fantastic phenomenon from a dark spot, if the meteorology is favorable. A beautiful opportunity to admire also some typical winter constellations which are rising from the eastern horizon, as the unmistakable Orion, rich in celestial treasures such as its famous nebula - the closest star nursery - or the brilliant Gemini, with its fantastic open cluster.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

La Luna, que llega a su plenitud el día 3, ilumina las primera noches de diciembre, invitando a inolvidables paseos por las dunas o a orillas del mar; en cambio, para gozar de los mejores momentos de observación de nuestro satélite -con su increíbles cráteres y montañas- es recomendable esperar hasta la siguiente fase creciente, que se da en la última semana del mes.

Un cita importante a mediados de diciembre es sin duda la fecha del máximo de las Gemínidas, la lluvia de estrellas más fiable en estos últimos años. Con hasta 120 meteoros por hora en las noches del 13 y del 14, vale la pena sin duda dedicar algunas horas a la observación de este fantástico fenómeno celeste desde un sitio oscuro, esperando que la meteorología acompañe. Aprovecharemos de paso para admirar las constelaciones del invierno que ya se alzan desde el horizonte Este, como el inconfundible Orión, rico en tesoros celestes como su famosa nebulosa -el más cercano criadero de estrellas- o el brillante Gémini, con su riquísimo cúmulo abierto. 

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

 

....NOVEMBER 2017 NIGHT SKY.. NOVEMBRE 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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Being already over the Daylight Saving time, November allows us to enjoy the night sky without  sacrificing our sleeping hours. In the first week of this month, the Moon is the protagonist with her full phase on the 4th day. Even with the naked eyes, we can distinguish darker areas (the 'seas') surrounded by clearer and whiter ones. A telescope can reveal ranges of mountains crossing her surface, craters of all sizes, islands in the middle of the seas and many other details that leave us astonished. A wonderful sight that nobody should miss!

As the big planets are not visible in this epoch, in the Autumn sky the beautiful constellations raising from the East draw our attention, being preceded by the bright cluster of the Pleyades. The Greek mythology tells us these seven sisters asked to be transformed into stars in order to escape from the giant Orion. In the Milky Way area nearby, Auriga (the 'big-driver') proposes his far but bright open cluster, as well as Taurus showing us his treasures, such as the Hyades, surrounding the brilliant yellowish star Aldebaran, marking the bull's eye.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Con la vuelta al horario de invierno, el mes de noviembre nos permite disfrutar  del cielo nocturno sin renunciar al sueño. En las primera semana del mes, la protagonista es la la Luna, que alcanza la fase de plenitud el día 4. Ya a simple vista se nota que en su superficie hay zonas más oscuras (los 'mares') y otras más claras y brillantes. El telescopio nos revela las cadenas de montañas que la surcan, así como cráteres de todos los tamaños, islas en el medio de los mares y un sinfín de detalles que nos dejan boquiabiertos. Un espectáculo que nadie debería perderse.

Ante la ausencia de los grandes planetas, en el cielo del otoño llaman la atención las bonitas constelaciones que están apareciendo en el horizonte Este, anunciadas por el brillante cúmulo de la Pléiades. La mitología griega cuenta que estas siete hermanas pidieron ser transformadas en estrellas para escapar al gigante Orión. En la cercana zona de la Vía Láctea, Auriga (el 'Cochero') nos trae sus bonitos y lejanos cúmulos abiertos, así como Tauro, que no quiere ser menos, nos propone tesoros como las Híades, que hacen de corona a la inconfundible estrella amarillenta Aldebaran, que marca el ojo del Toro.

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

 

....OCTOBER 2017 NIGHT SKY..OCTOBRE 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....With the arrival of October, Autumn is already in progress, bringing longer nights and usually very low winds, all good news for the lover of the night sky. As happened most times this year, this month too starts with the Moon close to the full phase, a good moment to observe her surface with incredible detail  through a good telescope. At the same time, towards the south, a brilliant yellowish dot in the constellation of Ophiuchus reminds us that we are still in time to admire one of the highlights of our Solar System, the fabulous planet Saturn, whose rings are now in the best position in years.

Moreover, the Milky Way is still dominating the sky, in the nights without the Moon, more and more vertical in Sagittarius, revealing us some of her most hidden joys, as the Lagoon Nebula, a wonderful star nursery, whose light shines faint due to the enormous distance, or the brilliant Butterfly Cluster, much closer to our Blue Planet.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Con la llegada de octubre, el otoño ya ha empezado, trayendo noches más larga y a menudo sin viento, y estas son sin duda buenas noticias para los apasionados del cielo nocturno. Como de costumbre, el mes empieza con la Luna cerca de la fase de plenitud, un buen momento para observar los increíbles  detalles de su superficie con un buen telescopio. Mientras, hacia el sur, el brillante punto amarillento en la constelación del Serpentario nos recuerda que todavía estamos a tiempo de admirar una de las maravillas del Sistema Solar, el fabuloso planeta Saturno, cuyo anillos se encuentran en la mejor posición de observación de la década.

Por su parte, la Vía Láctea seguirá dominando el cielo en las noches sin Luna, cada vez más vertical en Sagitario, revelándonos a través del telescopio algunas de sus hoyas más escondidas, como la nebulosa Laguna, fantástico criadero de estrellas, cuya luz nos parece muy débil por la distancia, o bien el más brillante cúmulo de la Mariposa, más cercano a nuestro planeta azul..

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

....MARCH 2017 NIGHT SKY.. MARZO 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO ....

....As occurs every year, March is taking us into Spring. The nights are getting shorter day by day, until on the 20th, the date of the Equinox in 2017, the duration of the day is the same as the night, becoming longer in the following 6 months.

In the beginning of March the typical constellations of winter, such as Orion, the Great Dog and Gemini, are still very high in the night sky, allowing us to admire their precious treasures, like the fascinating Orion Nebula, the closest nursery of stars, the multiple system of Sigma, in the same area, or the glorious cluster M35, in the Twins. But from the East new and interesting objects are now appearing, such as the Lion and the Big Dipper -which in the last months had disappeared from our skies- messengers of the great galaxies’ season of the next months.

The planet Jupiter is finally back, appearing earlier every day towards the East horizon, balancing the protagonism of Venus, setting down early in the West. His satellites, dark bands and clear zones offer us, through a telescope a beautiful view we should not miss the opportunity to admire.

As we are already accustomed to this year, the Moon is the protagonist of the first part of the month. Nobody remains indifferent when looking at her mountains, craters, seas or highlands: in spite of the enormous distance, these details are clearly visible and really impressive.

Clear skies to everybody!

..Como todos los años, el mes de marzo nos trae la primavera: las noches se van haciendo cada día más cortas, hasta que el día 20, fecha del equinoccio de primavera en este 2017, la duración del día iguala a la de la noche, para después superarla en los 6 meses siguientes.

A principios de marzo, las constelaciones más populares del invierno, como Orión, el Can Mayor y Gémini, siguen bien altas en el cielo vespertino, permitiéndonos seguir contemplando sus más preciados tesoros, como la fascinante Nebulosa de Orión, el más próximo criadero de estrellas, el sistema múltiple de Sigma, en la misma área, o el glorioso cúmulo M35, en los Gemelos.

Pero en el Este ya van apareciendo nuevos e interesantes asterismos, tal como el León y la Osa Mayor -que durante unos meses había desaparecido de nuestro cielo- mensajeros de la gran temporada de galaxias que nos espera a partir de un mes.

También el planeta Júpiter vuelve a  aparecer en el horizonte Este, quitando el protagonismo a Venus, que se pone temprano en el Oeste. Sus satélites, sus bandas y sus zonas claras nos ofrecen a través del telescopio un espectáculo maravilloso, que no debemos perder la ocasión de admirar.

Como va siendo costumbre en este año, la Luna es la protagonista de la primera parte del mes. Nadie permanece indiferente a la visión de sus montañas y sus cráteres, sus mares y sus Tierras Altas: sus impresionantes detalles nos dejan asombrados, a pesar de la enorme distancia que nos separa.

¡Cielos despejados para todo!

....

CONVERSATION WITH ANDY, CARLY AND MARISA

I had a great email conversation with photography enthusiast Andy Bailey the other week that i had to share his questions with our resident photographer Carly Higgins and here were our  answers: 

MARISA AND ANDY

I sell a lot of full spectrum cameras to astrophotographers but I have never been able to use one here in the uk due to light pollution. 

1) would I need to use a full spectrum camera or would a unmodified one be ok?

2) where is the closest point to corralejo where I could capture the Milky Way.  Could I achieve this in a single image or would I need to stack several shots?

3) I understand that at around 28mm I could use a maximum exposure of around 30 seconds. Does that sound right?

Could you advise what settings you would use?

I have various compact, bridge and dslr camera to choose from but would like to carry something practical and as cheap as possible. 

Hi Andy

You don't have to use a full spectrum camera. Most of our photos are taken with dslr's. As a collective we own full frame Canon body's and 3/4sensor bodies. Our previous photographer and the founder are Nikon lovers. As you can see from our website: www.starsbynight.es and Instagram account: instagram.com/starsbynightfv/ you can still produce amazing photos with basic equipment. 

We are very lucky in Fuerteventura that you don't have to go too far out to see the milky way or to see stars at night. We do observations just 5mins away from the RIU hotel near the dunes which is about 10min drive from the centre of Corralejo. You won't really see the Milky way in April. From July onwards we have a good view but September/October are the best months to see it with with the naked eye. Yes, you can take a photo of this in a single image. 

As for your 28mm lens... well that depends if its a full frame, APSC or Micro4/3  camera, what fstop of your lens ( this will change the light qualities depending on what sensor size you have)? What iso? as a general rule and depending on what you are shooting - be it milky way or stars in general, or light/star trails  you would be looking at anything from minimum of 20sec-30secs for a night photo ( depending on what you are photographing). 

If you are specifically looking at taking night time photos i  would recommend bringing a dslr with the widest and brightest lens you have. If this is not what you have then a good start would be something with a lens that is f4 and/or brighter (f2.8, f2, f1.8, f1.2 - are nice to play with). Yet you can still take a good quality photo with even a standard 18-55 kit lens if its only milky way that you want to shoot. 

 

CARLY AND ANDY

"Have you ever tried using a Ricoh theta S fir astrophography"

No I have never tried 360 degree photography

"The Milky Way is the object that I wanted to try and capture. I have several apps on my phone to help track it. I guess planets and nebulas would potential need longer exposures and equatorial mount. " 

You can capture images of the planets (looking like stars) using only a DSLR and actually as some are very bright you don't need a long exposure, but If you are looking to take more deep space images yes you would need a very long exposure so an equatorial mount or tracker of some kind would be essential.

"This is the style of photo I'd like to achieve. Astroscape!  Is the following a series of images (foreground / background) or still just the one?"( see above picture for reference)

This is all one image in camera, where possible I prefer to do this and reduce processing time

"If it's easy to explain how would you achieve the above image? "

This image is just a single exposure of 15s at f/2.8 and ISO 2000 and would be very easy for even a beginner to take, its the kind of image we will learn to take on workshops. It was a beautiful clear night and the milky way was clearly visible to the naked eye. There is of course a little post processing in Photoshop

"Finally one last question, assuming there was a clear sky with no foreground subject like the windmill, how would you advise achieving the image of the Milky Way like it is in the image above (assuming I was using an APS C with kit lens)"

You would need to use your widest angle lens to get as much of the sky in as possible, if you have a kit lens I am guessing something like 18-55mm which on a crop sensor is equivalent to 27mm on full frame - not massive wide but definitely workable. You also want to use the lowest aperture possible f/2.8 or below if you have it. Using the 500 hundred rule (something else we teach on the workshop) you can workout how long an exposure (shutter speed) you can have without starting to get star trails. For 27mm I would recommend no more than 18 seconds. You will then need to adjust your ISO to get a properly exposed image balancing it against the other 2 elements of the exposure triangle Aperture and Shutter Speed. It would be really great to have you attend a workshop as I can demonstrate exactly how to capture and image like this and work with you to get exactly what you want.

To note: content has been edited slightly to remove places and dates. 

who is Andy Bailey: INFRAREADYUK & BESTGHOSTHUNTING

 

.... NOVEMBER 2016 NIGHT SKY.. El año 2016 DE NOVIEMBRE DE CIELO NOCTURNO....

.... At the beginning of November, the Milky Way is not as bright, but is still offering us a beautiful picture in the first hours of the night, towards the South-East. Planet Mars is easy to recognize after sunset due to its reddish colour, crossing the Zodiac between Sagittarius and Capricorn in the South.

On the other side of the Milky Way, Perseus, Cassiopeia and Andromeda appear higher and higher every night from the North-Eastern horizon, telling us their troubled but happy-ended history. A telescope discovers in this area beautiful and fascinating objects, such as the Andromeda galaxy, the Double Cluster of Perseus, ET the extraterrestrial or the binary star Almach.

The Moon will not miss her date with her admirers, being the best days to watch her from the 5th to the 12th, just before its Full phase of the 14th. Don't miss the opportunity to observe her craters and mountains with a good telescope and under the guide of an expert: nobody will remain indifferent when looking at this incredible view.

Clear skies to everybody! 

..

En el mes de noviembre, la Vía Láctea pierde protagonismo, aunque nos ofrece todavía un interesante espectáculo a primeras horas de la noche hacia el suroeste. El planeta Marte sigue siendo fácil de reconocer después del ocaso debido a su color rojizo, mientras va cruzando la zona zodiacal entre Sagitario y Capricornio cerca del horizonte Sur. Al lado opuesto de la Vía Láctea, Perseo, Cassiopea y Andrómeda se levantan cada vez más desde el Noreste, contándonos su atormentada historia con final feliz. El telescopio nos descubre en esta zona objetos tan bonitos y fascinantes como la galaxia de Andrómeda, el Cúmulo Doble de Perseo, ET el extraterrestre o la estrella binaria Almach.

Y la Luna tampoco faltará a la cita este mes, siendo los días mejores para admirarlas entre el 5 y el 12, antes del plenilunio del 14. No se pierdan la oportunidad de observarla y descubrir sus cráteres y sus montañas con la ayuda de un experto y de un buen telescopio: nadie se quedará indiferente antes este espectáculo.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!  

  ....

....STAR STRUCK CHATTING WITH OUR STAR GUIDE. 5 minute interview with Iñaki .. STAR STRUCK! CHARLA CON EL GUÍA STAR. Entrevista de 5 minutos con Iñaki....

.... Iñaki is the latest member of the team at StarsbyNight. Inaki's storytelling, knowledge and charisma capture the  audience as he enlightens the night with his  light shows and unusual locations to tell us all about the night sky. Come and join him in Spanish on Sunday nights, or in English on Tueday nights.

Tell me, what is the difference between an Astronomer and a Star Guide?

An astronomer is a person who is dedicated to the science and physics of his profession. Imagine! This is not me! I have a basic knowledge of Astronomy and recognise the different places in the night sky. Simply, I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people, in a friendly and fun way. My passion is my job and I love it! 

What started your interest in the night sky?

From a young age I liked to stop and observe the stars, but the first time I began to understand the constellations and how to orientate myself by the stars was whilst I was on a survival course in the wild.

Where are you from?

I was born in Benicasim, a small village on the east coast of Spain, just above Valencia.

What attracted you to Fuerteventura?

I was in Nicaragua, when a friend told me that Fuerteventura had good waves for surf and good wind for kiting. I checked online and discovered that the island is also a Starlight Reserve!! In a few days I had bought my plane ticket and I am here!

What can you see in Fuerteventura in the sky?

The great thing about Fuerteventura is the clear skies and if you move away from the urbans centres where there is little light pollution than you can enjoy the starry skies that are not easy to find anymore! 

Where else/other countries have you been teaching people about the night?

I created my own way of communicating to the people about the stars above in Andalusia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras.

Have you gone anywhere unusual?

I have visited some 30 countries till now; Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, different islands in the Indian Ocean and Central and North America….many beautiful places, always travelling with my rucksac, but unusual? My travels are quite normal for a person who is accustomed to travel, we are all on planet Earth. I would like one day to see planet Earth from Space. hahaha. 

What are constellations?

The sky is divided into 88 parts and each of these parts forms a group of stars that we call constellations. The oldest civilsations named these constealltions after an animal or person (some need more imagination than others), to make it easier for the people to remember them. They are also a great point of reference for astrnomers of all epcos, even today.  

Imagine that I ask you where is Madrid. Well, the answer will be in Europe, and in Spain more specifically.

Now, if the question is where is the Galaxy M31, also known as Andromeda. Well you must look to the part of the sky where you will find the Adromeda constealtion and M31 is specifically situated close to the star Andromeda. Like this all astrnomers know the place in the sky that they are looking for.

How many constellations are there?

There are 88 different constellations between the northern and southern hemisphere.  In the northern hemisphere, the most common visible are the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. These constealtions are visible throughout the whole year. The Ursa Major is very easy to recognize as it’s stars are very bright, compared to Ursa Minor that has less bright stars, however, it does have our main star, Polaris, the polar star that always shows the north. 

Do you need a telescope to see the night sky?

No, the only thing necessary is that we learn and enjoy the night sky with our eyes. Other tools, like telescopes and binoculars help us to observe deeper space objects that we find further away or less bright. But to start with this view is more than sufficient.

Any funny stories that you can tell us?

I remember when travelling with my equipment that I have created to share astronomical information, a briefcase with strange lights. I would always cause a stir at the airports, with security thinking I had some kind of bomb. It always ended well with a little display of how my materials work capturing the interest of everyone around.  In the Dominican Republic I even bumped in to one such “observer”.  It was my briefcase that he remembered! We  become good friends. 

Thanks Iñaki

.. 

Iñaki es el último miembro del equipo de StarsbyNight. Iñaki de la narración, el conocimiento y carisma capturar a la audiencia mientras se ilumina la noche con sus espectáculos de luz y lugares inusuales para contarnos todo sobre el cielo nocturno.  Venir y unirse a él en español domingos por la noche o en Inglés martes por la noche.  

¿Dime cuál es la diferencia entre una guía de astronomía estrella?

Un astrónomo es una persona que se dedica a la ciencia o física de forma profesional…imagino! Yo no soy nada de eso,tengo conocimientos básicos sobre astronomía y reconozco los diferentes lugares en el cielo nocturno. Simplemente disfruto compartiendo mis conocimientos con la gente común de una forma agradable y divertida así que mi pasión se ha convertido en mi trabajo, y me encanta!

¿Lo que comenzó su interés en el cielo nocturno?

Desde pequeño me ha gustado pararme a observar las estrellas pero la primera vez que comencé a entender sobre las constelaciones fue durante un curso de supervivencia en la naturaleza, ahí nos enseñaron a orientarnos por las estrellas. 

¿De donde eres?

He nacido en Benicasim, un pequeño pueblo en la costa este de España, justo por encima de Valencia.

¿Lo que atrajo a Fuertenventura?

Estaba en Nicaragua y un chico al que conocí me dijo que en Fuerteventura había buenas olas para surfear y buen viento para hacer kite, luego miré en internet y vi que era una reserva Starlight. En pocos días compré el billete de avión y aquí estoy. 

Qué se puede ver en Fuerteventura en el cielo?

Lo bueno que tiene Fuerteventura son sus cielos despejados y si te alejas un poco de los centros urbanos la poca contaminación lumínica te deja disfrutas de unos cielos estrellados que no es fácil de encontrarlos.

¿En qué otro / otros países lleva enseñando a la gente acerca de la noche?

He realizado actividades de observación de estrellas en Andalucía, República Dominicana, Nicaragua y Honduras. 

¿Ha ido a cualquier lugar inusual?

He visitado unos 30 países hasta ahora. He visitado Asia, Africa, Europa, el Caribe, diferentes islas en el océano Índico, Centro américa y norte america…muchos lugares bonitos, siempre viajando con mi mochila pero…inusual? Bastante usuales para una persona que está acostumbrada a viajar, eso sí, todos ellos dentro del planeta tierra, me encantaría un día poder ver la tierra desde el espacio, jajaja. 

 ¿Cuáles son las constelaciones?

El cielo está dividido en 88 partes y cada una de esas partes la forma una agrupación de estrellas a la que llamamos constelación. Las antiguas civilizaciones les han dado la forma de algún objeto o persona, (eso sí, con mucha imaginación) característica así es más fácil para la gente de recordarla. Y sirve a los astrónomos para saber dónde mirar en el cielo. 

Imaginen que os pregunto donde está Madrid. Pues la respuesta sería en el continente Europeo y en España más concretamente. 

Ahora si os pregunto dónde está la galaxia M 31 (también conocida como galaxia de Andrómeda). Pues debéis mirar al lado del cielo donde se encuentra la constelación de Andrómeda y más concretamente cerca de la estrella μ Andromedae. Así los astrónomos saben a que lugar del cielo deben observar para encontrar el objeto en concreto.

¿Cuántas constelaciones?

En el cielo existen 88 constelaciones diferentes entre el hemisferio norte y el hemisferio sur.  En el hemisferio norte es posible que la más común sea la de la Osa Mayor y la Osa Menor. Son constelaciones que podemos ver a lo largo de todo el año. La Osa Mayor es muy fácil de reconocer ya que todas sus estrellas son muy brillantes y las estrellas de la Osa Menor son menos brillantes pero su estrella principal es Polaris, la estrella polar, que siempre nos señalará el norte. 

¿Necesita un telescopio para ver el cielo nocturno?

Nada de eso, lo único que necesitamos para aprender y disfrutar el cielo nocturno son nuestros ojos. Otras herramientas como telescopios o prismáticos nos ayudarán a ver objetos que se encuentran más lejos o son menos brillantes. Pero para comenzar con nuestra vista es más que suficiente.

¿Alguna historia divertida que nos pueden decir?

Pues recuerdo que cuando viajaba con mi material para divulgar información sobre astronomía tenía un maletín con unas luces un poco peculiar. Y en los aeropuertos siempre me paraban pensando que era una bomba o algo raro, siempre tenía que hacerles una pequeña exposición sobre la actividad y la gente de aduana terminaban muy interesados. Incluso una vez, en República Dominicana, coincidí en un restaurante dos meses después de pasar por el aeropuerto con un hombre que me reconoció tras verme en el aeropuerto haciendo la exposición en la aduana. El hombre me dijo, ¿tu viajas con un maletín muy raro verdad? Nos hicimos buenos amigos. 

Gracias Iñaki.

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BUYING A TELESCOPE

I wrote this article in 2012 when StarsbyNight was just a passionate project that Karen (founder of SBN) would brainstorm with me on how to make her passion into a reality. We were both uber excited and it was a massive learning curve, even in buying equipment. After the years have passed we know a lot more and technology and equipment and brands  are evolving but the theory and idea behind buying your first telescope still apply. 

I just want to add , just like buying a new camera lens, that the most important characteristic of a telescope is its aperture — the diameter of its light-gathering lens or mirror, often called the objective. Look for the telescope's specifications near its focuser, at the front of the tube, or on the box. The aperture's diameter (D) will be expressed either in millimeters.  Your telescope should have at least 2.8 inches (70 mm) aperture — and preferably more.

The little bit I know about buying a telescope - 21/12/2012

Let me start by saying I am no expert. My experience in the past is selling and using photographic equipment in a professional capacity. I wanted to buy a telescope. After doing a lot of research I found its really similar to buying a camera. My colleagues are in the process of buying a high end telescope for our clients to view the night sky here in Fuerteventura, but I would like one so I can learn at home in the meantime. Sure I can use the fancy one they will buy, but I’m occasional user, I have more of an amateur interest rather than a professional one.

Questions I used to always ask my customers in photography. ‘What is the main purpose for?’ ‘In what conditions?” ‘How often would you use it? ‘Is it for you? ” ‘what previous experience do you/or other person have?”  “What do you really want to do with a it?” ‘how much money do you want to spend?”

I’ve done a lot of research. What I used to find often with cameras is people have too much money, buy the latest thing that has all the bells and whistles and never use it to its full capacity and it sits in the corner of the room gathering dust and just looking pretty. It appears its the same with telescopes. I also asked an ex colleague who worked for a company who specialized in astronomy gear and he said the same. He said. “ If someone wanted to spend under £200 I would probably recommend a good pair of binoculars that last a lifetime. Often what happens is the  kind of telescope people think they want and what they really need are two different things.”

I was told do not even consider a telescope that advertises it power on the box (300x, 500x,650x, 725x).  Avoid telescopes that are advertised by their magnification — especially implausibly high powers like 600×. For most purposes, a telescope's maximum useful magnification is 50 times its aperture in inches (or twice its aperture in millimeters).  Even the best telescopes are limited to about 50x-75x per inch (25.4mm) of aperture. The big number with a ‘x’ after it, I was told  is actually a  marketing ploy and high-powered scopes tend to have fixed eyepieces. What you want is a removable eyepiece. Also even though these type of telescopes appear attractive advertised with a high number, all this means is the high magnification the light is gathered and spread over a larger area making it fuzzy and faint.  You should look for the magnification in the eyepiece. You calculate a telescope's maximum useful magnification by multiplying the size of the lens or mirror in inches by 50.  I was also told that alower power/magnification in the telescope tends to provide a better viewing experience.

Start with binoculars. If you don’t have much money and don’t want to spend over the £200 mark you may be happier with a very good pair of binos. Even for travel its actually quite a good idea to have a back up anyways of about 10x50, 7x50 for a more general use or an 8x56 or a 9x63 for something a bit more ‘astro’ and its less heavier, but can be slightly expensive. Buy something you can use, not something you will get frustrated with . If it rattles when you shake it, try a different pair of binos. Good telescopes will be expensive regardless of the type. Cheap binoculars are much, much more useful than cheap telescopes and  good binoculars can last you forever.

What you can see with a pair of binoculars look at this link: http://www.lightandmatter.com/binosky/binosky.html

binocular basics: http://www.chuckhawks.com/binocular_basics.htm

Should I get a refractor or a reflector telescope?

Now I had to get some help to explain this from another website as I couldn’t think of the any other way to explain it but share someone else’s informationhttp://www.astronomyforbeginners.com/equipment/telescope.php:

Reflector

Reflectors have one open end and a curved mirror at the back. Light is reflected and focused by this mirror onto a secondary mirror, which reflects it up into the eyepiece. Refractors are generally cheaper per inch of aperture and are in general better for the beginner on a budget, but aren't very good for ground observing, as the image is upside-down.

Refractor

refractor1.jpg

A refractor has a lens at the front which refracts light from the stars and focuses it at the eyepiece (often by means of a 45° mirror-in which case the image is reversed left-to-right). The image is the right way up meaning that these are better suited if you want to do ground observing as well. If the optics are good, then refractors can form better images, but are usually more expensive per inch of aperture.

Reflector telescopes have one optical surface (less mirrors) and tend to be cheaper and have no chormatic abberration. The mirror in this type of telescope may need recoating after years of use but if you are a beginner like me and will not use it outside on a rough surface (and tend to use it on your balcony like me) and not have much money then these type are a quick fix to look at the sky.

Refracting telescopes the light bends from one medium to another. A refractor uses two lenses. At one end, is the larger lens is called the objective. On the other end is the lens you look through, called the ocular or eyepiece. Also an advantage of a refractor is that by default they have a totally clear aperture and are low maintenance. A disadvantage is that some telescope lens/glass pieces will give off  chormatic aberrations. The only way I can describe it with my experience is light fringing around a subject like you get where you take a photo with a cheap lens on a sunny day sometimes the object has a faint fuzz around it, also kind of like a lens flare.  Inexpensive refractors have problems with false color, but they are often more compact and therefore better for traveling. Also, refractors tend to give more pleasing views when used in the daylight. Most reflectors tend to be very large by comparison, but will have better light gathering capability.  I was also told that whether buying either telescope look out for2.4 inch (60mm) and 3.1 inch(80mm) refractors and 4.5 inch and 6 inch reflectors are popular for most amateurs. Your new scope should have at least 1 eyepiece, and often 2 or 3. An eyepiece is rated by millimeters (mm), with smaller numbers indicating higher magnification. A 25mm eyepiece is common and appropriate for most beginners.While a higher magnification eyepiece may provide more details, it may be harder to keep an object in view, unless you are using a motorized mount. They also require the scope to gather more light to provide a clearer image.

A lower power eyepiece makes it easier to find objects and keep them in view. Lower magnification eyepieces require less light, so viewing dimmer objects is easier.

Remember the view through a telescope with not be exact to what you see in astrophotography on the internet or magazines. Planets will be tinier and some not in fantastic colours .

I started getting lost looking at all the brands. It seemed for over the £200 mark, the Meade does a introductory good telescope for anything over the £350 you are looking at more advanced Meade, Newtonians, Dobinsonians and Stellarvuemodels.  Lower cost options can include Maksutov-Cassegrains and “long” achromatic refractors.  Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes (SCT) can also offer pleasing views of the planets.

I recommend trying before buying. Observe through as many telescopes as you can, and ask as many questions as you can think of. Ask about setup time, maintenance and accessories.

This is a great list of things to help you set up your basic kit: http://www.astronomy.com/Equipment/How-To.aspx

To me it really is buying an extension of my camera equipment. Learning about glass wear, apertures and brands from various websites, magazines and asking professionals has helped me. Hopefully it won't just sit in the corner of my room.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional but someone who is interested. Within our team we have a professional astronomer but I write this article out of pure interest and passion for a subject am learning about.

 

 


  

100000 STARS CHROME WORKSHOP EXPERIMENT

We love this. Fantastic idea!

Called 100,000 stars  this is a fully-immersive 3D plot of (in fact) 119,617 stars. This is an interactive visualization of the stellar neighborhood created for the Google Chrome web browser/App. It shows the real location of nearby stars. Zooming in reveals 87 individually identified stars and our solar system. The galaxy view is an artist's rendition.

According to Aaron Koblin's blog posting to announce the project, "Visualizing the exact location of every star in the galaxy is a problem of, well, galactic proportions. With over 200 billion stars, capturing every detail of the Milky Way currently defies scientists and laptops alike. However, using imagery and data from a range of sources, including NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), we were recently able to take one small step in that direction by plotting the location of the stars closest to our sun.

"The result is a new Chrome Experiment called 100,000 Stars that visualizes the stellar neighborhood. Using your mouse or trackpad, you can zoom in and out to explore our galaxy. Zooming in reveals the names of the most prominent stars close to our sun - click each name to learn more about it and see a digital rendition."

Koblin concludes, "As you explore this experiment, we hope you share our wonder for how large the galaxy really is. It's incredible to think that this mist of 100,000 measurable stars is a tiny fraction of the sextillions of stars in the broader universe." Author: Google Data Arts Team Sources: Programmed by some space enthusiasts at Google. Galaxy images provided by Wikipedia and ESO/IDA/Danish 1.5m/R.Gendler and A. Hornstrup. Star renderings derived from Wikipedia Sun images courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams. Star data provided by: HYG Database, by Astronomy Nexus Gliese/Jahreiß Catalog, by Dr. Wilhelm Gliese and Dr. Hartmut Jahreiss Bright Star Catalog (5th edition), by Dr. E. Dorrit Hoffleit and Dr. Wayne H. Warren Jr, and the Department of Astronomy at Yale University HIPPARCOS Catalog (3rd Edition) by the European Space Agency.

Click on this link and you can play with the real thing:

http://workshop.chromeexperiments.com/stars/

....SEPTEMBER 2016 NIGHT SKY.. El año 2016 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....In this September, the great protagonist of the night sky is once more the Milky Way, which shows us all its beauty from the darkest places of the island in the nights without the Moon. Its most brilliant arm, the Sagittarius's, appears day by day more vertical towards the South, before being swallowed by the horizon: a wonderful picture our cameras should not miss.

In the same area, and more precisely in the constellation of Scorpius, rich of beautiful targets for a telescope, two guest 'stars' are now present, which are actually the planets Saturn and Mars, dancing in this epoch in the claws of the big animal, due to the phenomenon called “retrogradation”.

We should not lose the last opportunities for this year to admire the “Lord of the Rings” with its satellites and the “Red Planet” in its best moment.

If you are interested in discovering the Moon's secrets, your best chances are in the first part of the month. The direct view through a telescope of its craters, its seas, its mountains and its planes is really unforgettable.

¡Clear skies to everybody!..

En este mes de septiembre, la gran protagonista del cielo nocturno sigue siendo la Vía Láctea, que se nos presenta en todo su esplendor desde las zonas más oscuras de la isla en las noches sin Luna. Su tramo más brillante, el brazo de Sagitario, se nos muestra cada vez más vertical hacia el sur, antes de hundirse tragado por el horizonte: una estampa imperdible para nuestras cámaras de fotos.

En la misma zona, más precisamente en la constelación del Escorpión, llena de interesantes objetos a descubrir con el telescopio, lucen dos 'estrellas' huéspedes muy brillantes: se trata de los planetas Marte y Saturno, que,debido al fenómeno de la retrogradación, en esta época danzan en la zona de las 'pinzas' del animal.

No debemos perdernos las últimas oportunidades de admirar al “Señor de los Anillos” y a sus satélites, así como al “Planeta Rojo” en su mejor momento. 

Para los que les apasiona descubrir los secretos de la Luna, las noches más propicias se dan en la primera mitad del mes. La visión en directo de sus cráteres, sus mares, sus montañas y sus llanuras no deja indiferente a nadie.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!

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