Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stargazing

Last night, was perfect. It wasn't all that cold outside, it was really dark out, and the skies were crystal clear. The moon was huuugggee and just beneath it, was a small point of light.


I was a little surprised when my dad got home from work and he suggested we go outside and use the telescope that I got for my birthday a few years ago. We don't use it a lot, and I was kind of in the middle of writing a super intense scene. But how could I possibly pass up looking at the moon and stars through a telescope?


So my dad, my brother (Ryan) and I all went outside. The lenses of the telescope were pretty dusty, but the sky was so clear that it hardly mattered. Through the scope, you could see the shadows of the craters on the edge of the moon, and it was amazing. We could have just stared at the moon all night, but I started to become curious about what the tiny point of light was under it.


We shifted the telescope and I got it into view. It definitely wasn't a star. It was much too close to be a star. But it was so bright that at first we thought it was Venus. This is about what it looked like: 

After a few seconds of looking at it though, I knew it couldn't be Venus. Venus doesn't have any moons. The tiny points of light around the planet are. I ended up narrowing it down to either Jupiter or Saturn because they both have a ridiculous amount of moons. And then Saturn has rings (at least, rings that we can see), so I decided that it had to be Jupiter.
When it turned out that it actually was Jupiter, I was pretty impressed with my astronomical object identification skills! As far as planets go anyway...

Then we got busy with the iPad, pointing it up at the sky and identifying the stars. (Seriously, there's this really awesome app. that allows you to point the camera at the sky and it will tell you what the object is! How cool is that?!!) We got to see Vega, the Ring Nebula, Altair (seeing that star was awesome because not only is it a very bright star in the night sky, it's also the name of one of my characters :) ), and even our lovely neighboring galaxy, M31 aka the Andromeda!

(Jupiter)
(Ring Nebula)

(Altair :D )

(Andromeda Galaxy... how inspiring is that!?)

All in all, it was a wonderful, inspirational night!

--Jess

13 comments:

fairbetty said...

Yay! I was just saying to my husband that I get really excited when people talk about astronomy. I love it!

Happy writing! You're doing great!

Isis Rushdan said...

I love stargazing, especially on a chilly night with hot cocoa. Great pics and thanks for sharing.

Mel Fowler said...

I too love star gazing. It's something that just keeps me in awe everytime I look up into the night sky. It's simply beautiful!

Jamie McHenry said...

Last night was a perfect night for watching Jupiter, and seeing so close to the moon was cool. I'm glad to hear you were able to enjoy it as well. Excellent post.

Angela Cothran said...

I was stargazing with my kids last night too :) How sweet of you to go with your dad even though you were busy...parents love that :)

Jess said...

Fairbetty~ Thanks for stopping by! I love reading/writing about astronomy :)

Mel~ It keeps me inspired, too!

Jamie~ Thanks for stopping by!

J. A. Bennett said...

I'm totally jealous of your skills too! I never would have come to that conclusion. Seems like a dream of a night :)

Shallee said...

Mm, gorgeous! You make me want to break out my own telescope again! I love looking at Jupiter because you can see the moons. Mars is cool too-- sometimes you can see the ice caps!

Thanks for sharing your night of inspiration. :)

Reiko said...

Those pictures are awesome. Equally awesome are the human brains; for instance, your ability to figure things out about the universe by process of elimination. At age 15, no less. Wow!

I'm glad your dad stimulated your mind, giving you a wonderful, inspirational night. I love how he challenges you to think for yourself. He is a wonderful dad, just like grandpa has always been to him, isn't he? :)

meradeth said...

Sounds like a lot of fun! (And I totally love that app--otherwise I am a total spaz at figuring out what I'm looking at!)

Jessica Love said...

Wow, this is really cool! I love stargazing, and I would love to have a telescope! How fun!

LynNerdKelley said...

I heard about that app. That's amazing. Sure sounds like you had a super inspirational night. Awesome!

Talli Roland said...

Wow, gorgeous photos! The moon was crazy huge here in London last night and the night before, too. Oddly enough, Mr TR and I were talking about telescopes and stars, too!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...