The night sky is the oldest show on Earth and although at first glance it may seem like a random assortment of stars, armed with just a little astronomy knowledge it soon becomes a wondrous glimpse into the known Universe.
Looking up at the celestial heavens we are able to make out as many as 4,500 naked eye stars from either the north or southern hemisphere, all of which come in a variety of colors from the hottest blue stars, to the cooler white, yellow, orange, and finally red type stars.
All the stars we see are located within our own spiral galaxy called the Milky Way, which contains roughly 200 billion stars. The constellations we see are simply some of these different stars imaginatively grouped into patterns often depicting gods and heroes from ancient times. As well as delighting our ancestors, constellations have also proved useful for gauging direction or telling time with the stars Polaris in Ursa Minor particularly useful in this regard.
In addition to the stars, other astronomical objects that can be enjoyed at night include the Moon, and at various times the planets of our solar system. Although Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen with the naked eye, a good quality telescope will reveal further intricate details of our planetary neighbors, such as Mars’ white polar caps or Jupiter’s four Galilean moons.
There are also a plethora of other astronomical phenomena to enjoy, including star clusters, nebulae, meteor showers, comets, and other galaxies, such as the beautiful Andromeda Galaxy. Many man-made objects can also be seen including satellites or The International Space Station (ISS), which continuously orbits the Earth at a height of 230 miles. The night sky is filled with all sorts of wonders to enjoy so if you would like to learn more about spotting some of these objects in the night sky then read on here.