8 ways to explore the night sky over Somerset
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 July 2020
Josh Dury Photo-Media
With more people staying at home in recent weeks the lower levels of light pollution make it easier to see things in the night sky. So Somerset astronomer and photographer JOSH DURY picks a few things to look out for if the weather is on your side
1. The stars and the constellations.
With the summer months approaching, major constellations are becoming visible in the night-sky. Derived from Greek mythology, they each have their own stories and connection with the heavens.
2. The Milky Way.
It is gradually becoming visible in the hours before dawn where it is possible to see what is known as the ‘Galactic Core’ - the centre of our home galaxy.
3. The International Space Station.
This will be making some passes in the night sky over the coming weeks as are SpaceX’s Starlink Satellites. If you want to try observing these passes, a good website is heavens-above.com - where it is possible to predict passes from your location.
4. The moon.
It is always visible in the night sky, where we can observe the changing phases. When looked at through a telescope, it is possible to view impact craters.
5. The planets.
Venus is shining bright in the evening sky; appearing as a bright ‘star’ after sunset. For keen observers, the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be observed in the morning sky.
6. Meteor shower
Known as the eta aquarids, meteors, or ‘shooting stars’ are visible when debris from comets collides with the Earth’s atmosphere and it is possible to observe around 100 meteors per hour.
7. Galaxies and nebulas.
These can also be easily observed - but the view is far more impressive through a telescope. Some of these objects are located thousands, if not millions, of light-years from Earth.
These are also beginning to fill the night sky. Starlink Satellites will eventually be launched to provide a global internet service.
As well as being an astronomer, Josh is also a photographer and filmmaker, raising awareness of night sky conservation.
His short films can be watched for free on his YouTube channel @JoshDuryPhotoMedia