So this was the plan. According to my Philip’s Planisphere (quick plug there) Cassiopeia should have been right overhead at 8pm. A sort of ‘W’ shaped constellation. Bingo – there it was (at the cost of a stiff neck).
After my triumph with Orion last time, I thought I should identify Beetlejuice (you see I’m getting the astronomer’s slang here). The bright orange number above the three diagonal stars of Orion’s belt. Two out of Two.
Then Jupiter again – shining with all his might.
But my triumph of the night was on the other side of Jupiter from Orion: the Pleiades, without a mention of which no romantic opera is complete, like a pearl necklace resting on a dark table – a real treat. Now I’m getting all poetic.
A good night’s work for the Beginner’s diary.I feel that my strategy is paying off – taking it one constellation at a time to create familiar reference points which I can then move on.
Here’s my essential beginner’s list:
Use Stargazing 2012 (but you’ll need 2013 in your stocking) – December has a great pic of the night sky, plus lots of useful tips. Thanks Heather and Nigel. Refer to Sir Patrick Moore’s Guide to the Night Sky for info about the individual constellations. Work out how to use the planisphere.