July 29, 2009

Constellation madness this Month at Selati

Winter is upon us and the skies are clear. cloud cover is minimal and the stars are bright. A whole set of new constelations are up due to our rotation around the sun. Scorpius and its attendant Messier objects are out in full glory. The southern cross is still up in the early evening. Bootes, Leo and Cygnus are at their best at this timme of the year. By the end of the course we have done at least 40 constellations with the group. Not all of them will have seen all of the constellations as we do quite a few on the sleep out and most of the students are asleep in the middle of the night. we wake up throughout the night and do some constellations with those that are on duty. the really interested students will book a shake for these sessions and will get the most out of the trip. Having the telescope set up with the best possible view from the camp gives the students a great oportunity to see celestial objects like globular and open clusters as they would not normaly be able to. most people do not even know of these objects when they get here. Seeing them with greater magnification enhances the experience. the down side to winter is the cold. We all end up looking like Michelin men.

Garth Edwards, Selati Instructor
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