Night Sky Observation

Night Sky Observation: Objectives

The idea is to encourage a greater interest and pleasure in observing the night sky. Although having a telescope can make many observations more feasible, the idea that one "must" have a telescope to do anything "serious", fails to recognise the pleasure to be had in naked eye observation.

So, the purpose of this website is to set some easy naked eye challanges that can be done by individuals or groups, and with minimal equipment.

Observation for June 2021

For the month of June, we have another Night Sky Observations for your interest. June is the month of the shortest nights, but this year provides a wonderful opportunity for viewing Venus, which will be visible all through the month for about an hour immediately after sunset. As soon as the Sun sets, Venus will become visible as a bright object, just above the horizon and a little to the left of the last position of the setting Sun. If you are very lucky, you might also be able to see Mercury.

At the start of the month, the Moon is in its 3rd quarter, and by about the 8th or 9th June will be a small crescent setting just ahead of the Sun. New Moon is on the 10th, with a partial Solar Eclipse being visible between 10 AM and noon of that day. If you decide to observe the eclipse, then remember, do not look directly at the Sun. For tips on visualising eclipses see Dr Lucie Green's YouTube video. On the evenings of the 11th and 12th June, the crescent new Moon and Venus will be visible close together in the sky.

Past & future observations

March 2021

The first Night Sky Observation activity was carried out as an experiment and involved naked eye observation of the constellation of Taurus during the month of March. Observers were given a partial star map and asked to fill in the missing stars. The observation was made more interesting by the planet Mars passing through the region of the star map.

Some of the outcomes of that experiement are reported here.

September/October 2021

As soon as the nights begin to draw in again, we will have another partial star map challenge to complete. This will be announced on this website towards the end of August.

The Website Author

Alison McMillan, Prof in Aerospace Technology, Wrexham Glyndwr University and Chair IOP Wales. or