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How do you spot Constellations

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There are a couple of ways to start, I would suggest downloading a planetarium program called Stellarium if you have access to a computer. This progran an excellent starting point.

Start by learning the shapes of the easier constellations such as the Plough (Ursa Major), Cassiopea and Orion which will be visible over the Winter months. Once you are familiar with the most common ones then you use them to act as markers to find the rest, in no time you will be surprised how quickly you will learn.

Also buy a Planisphere chart which you can use outside, these have two moving parts which you rotate for your time and they shoy what should be visible, you do need to know where North, South, East and West are, I use a small compass.


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It is not easy at first, so do not be disheartened. If you live somewhere with a lot of light pollution, the stars that make up some of the constellations are not visible so spotting the "shapes" is difficult. Conversely when you have good skies, there are too many stars visible to make the constellations stand out.

As Brendan suggests, start with a compass and a planisphere and find the Plough - its an easy one. You can use it to find others, see here .... http://www.richardbell.net/starmap.html

If you type "arc to arcturus" into Google (including the quotes", you find some other sites that give advice on finding constellations by drawing imaginary lines in the sky.


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I think There is a balance on the LP front when your starting out. I know i still get lost for a while when I got to a darkskies site as there are just so many stars from home the LP lets me see only the brighter stars making teh constellatiosn easier to spot.

Stellarium will help you get your bearings...


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That's a great advice, I'll check that one out. Each night I always see the same set of stars, to me there resemble a question mark on their side, I've never been able to pin point which constellation it is, as most of the charts have too many stars on them for me to compare.

In naked eye around my area, there are few stars, so no accurate comparison with most charts. Will anyone know of a chart of the like that will have the stars i see via naked eye each night, that alone will help me to identify other stars when I do go out to the countryside.

The stars I speak of is on top of me as I stand facing South.the moon is always just below the stars. Hope that is of some help.


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Thank you Psychobilly, I googled it up to look for many different images to be sure, and yes, it is the Seven Sisters.

I've grown up with them watching over me and me them, co-incidence that I went to visit my aunt who lived near the Seven Sisters tube, went rambling and came across a pub called Seven Sisters. Maybe they were trying to tell me their names and I, oblivious just missed all the signs!

Thank you.


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