Sunday, July 24, 2011
There is nothing more relaxing than taking a chair out into the yard and looking up at the stars. The night time air is usually cooler and the sounds of the night are themselves a unique experience. If you can find a dark area of the yard away from streetlights and allow your eyes to dark adapt well you will see much more.
Two things can really make this more interesting. One is a planisphere. You can use this planisphere along with a red flashlight to help identify constellations. The other is a green laser pointer, which you can use to outline constellations and provide some visual boundaries for your eyes. If you use a GLP please be aware of the restrictions and dangers around aircraft, and never shine the beam from one of these in any other participant's eyes.
It costs nothing to do astronomy like this, and it is very relaxing for your eyes to simply "hang out in the dark. "